PHX Airport

PHX: 5 Things We Love About Phoenix Sky Harbor Int’l Airport

Here is another installment of our new “5 Things We Love About…” series celebrating some of the services, amenities and features we love about airports around the world.

We’re keeping our list to just 5 cool things about each airport, but feel free to add any bonus features we overlooked in the comments section below.

Feel free, too, to nominate an airport for the series or sponsor an installment.

So far, we’ve profiled San Francisco International Airport (SFO); Orlando International Airport (MCO) and Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport (GSP).

Today: 5 Things We Love About Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX)

1. The Phoenix Airport Museum

Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) is home to one of the largest airport art museums in the U.S. – the Phoenix Airport Museum.

The collection includes nearly 900 artworks, 35 exhibition spaces in six buildings and the Phoenix Aviation Archive.

Look for the art in both terminals and at the Rental Car Center. There’s also a treat at the 44th Street PHX Sky Train Station, which is home to a restored vintage World War I aircraft, the SPAD XIII.  

2. The PHX Navigator Buddies

PHX is one of a growing list of airports where teams of therapy dogs and their handlers regularly visit the terminals to hang out with travelers and help de-stress the journey. Here they’re called the PHX Navigator Buddies.

3. The Fitness Trail at PHX

The Sky Harbor Fitness Trail at PHX is located post-security in Terminal 4 and is measured out to just a little over one mile from Gate A30 to Gate D8.

The trail is part of FitPHX, a city of Phoenix initiative intended to help get Phoenix residents into better shape. In addition to getting some exercise, travelers who walk the trail are rewarded with views of the downtown Phoenix skyline, beautiful Camelback Mountain and more.

4. Animal relief areas at PHX

PHX goes all out with the pet relief areas for pups and has seven pre and post-security cute-as-a-puppy places where dogs can take care of business. There are even animal relief areas at the PHX Sky Train stations.

PHX pet relief area

5. The souvenirs at PHX Airport

We’ve found some charming – and quirky – souvenirs in the shops at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. Here are just a few of our favorites.

5 Things We Love About Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) is part of an ongoing series here at StuckatTheAirport.com.

If you’d like to sponsor one of the installments, get in touch.

Change boxes collect cash for USO at PHX Airport

PHX USO CHANGE

Denver International Airport has collection stations to gather spare change to help local homeless people.

Now, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport has set up change receptacles in front of the security checkpoints in the terminals to collect money to provide support for traveling military service members helped by USO Arizona.

According to PHX officials, every year about 23,000 troops and their families visit the pre-security USO in Phoenix Sky Harbor’s Terminal 4, which offers a quiet place for members of the military and their families to go before their flights as well as a café, children’s play area, computer kiosks, a movie room, and gaming area.

Cool, quirky airport carpets

2_PDX_Foot-forward selfies with the PDX carpet are very popular at Portland Int'l Airport

Foot-forward selfies with the carpet are popular at PDX.

 

It’s usually a bit of an inconvenience, but not that big a deal, when an airport changes out the carpeting in the terminals.

But because the current carpet at Portland International Airport has become a social media sensation, all manner of media will be on hand Friday when construction crews begin removing the existing carpet at PDX and preparing the floor for the installation of 13 acres of new carpet—enough to cover nearly 10 football fields.

6__PDX_ A sample of the new carpet design, scheduled to begin being installed over the next year.

This is what the new PDX carpet will look like.

 

Here’s the story of the PDX carpet and a round-of of some quirky airport carpets found at other airports around the country that I put together for my “At the Airport” column on USA Today.

Installed in the late 1980s, the old PDX carpet sports a geometric pattern inspired by the airport’s intersecting north-south runways and was for years an ignored part of the airport décor.

1_Sample of the current_old carpet pattern at Portland International Airport

But then Portland began celebrating its core weirdness, social media became the big thing, and the rug became a hip symbol of home celebrated on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and with souvenirs ranging from socks, caps and water bottles to T-shirts, mugs, tote bags and bike helmets.

4_Portland Int'l Airport Carpet water bottles

Carpet-inspired art and ale followed: Nancy Wilkins’s 11-foot by 16-foot collage, made of pieces of PDX carpet and titled “Carpet Diem!” was recently installed at the airport and Oregon-based Rogue Ales & Spirits just introduced PDX Carpet IPA.

7_PDX_Carpet Diem! _ Artwork by Nancy Wilson celebrating the Portland Airport carpet.

5_PDX_new on the market_ PDX Capret IPA

PDX isn’t the only airport to forgo tile, terrazzo or other hard flooring in favor of rugs more difficult to maintain, but worth a second look.

When it was time to order 10.5 acres of new carpeting for its three terminals, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport looked for something that would hold up to high foot traffic and repeated cleaning, and be easily recycled when it came time for replacement.

In 2005, PHX got all that (at the cost of $34.66 per square yard) plus a cool, custom pattern that looks like an aircraft on a radar screen.

8_PHX_The carpet at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport has an aviation-inspired design

In the pedestrian walkway between Terminal A and the parking garage at Sacramento International Airport, travelers walk across the 150-foot-long “Flying Carpet” created by artist Seyed Alavi. Installed in 2005, the woven, woolen carpet portrays a digital, aerial image of about 50 miles of the Sacramento River and nearby farm fields and orchards.

9_SMF-Flying Carpet rug offers a digita aerial view of the Sacramento  River, farm fields and other landscape.

Part of an “Art in Public Places” project, the commission for SMF’s Flying Carpet included a duplicate version of the rug that has been in storage.

There are no socks, caps, beer or other official souvenirs (yet) bearing the carpet patterns from Phoenix Sky Harbor or Sacramento International Airports, but visitors regularly post images of the carpets on social media.

12_Nashville International Airport_ the carpet reflect a celebration of music.

With subtle musical notes and musical instruments throughout, the carpet at Nashville International Airport celebrates Music City.

Denver International Airport recently installed 42,000 square yards of new carpeting in Concourse B and 25,000 square yards of new carpeting in Concourse C, at a cost of $2.5 million and $1.7 million respectively. The pattern isn’t aviation-themed, but casually references rivers and streams (in the walking areas) and (in the seating areas) things passengers often see out the windows at DEN: rain and snow.

11_Denver International Airport _Some sections of the recently installed carpet references rivers and streams

The pattern in the 33 acres of teal and white carpeting at Orlando International Airport is quite simple but, along with plenty of light, water and live landscaping, is in keeping with the goal of creating an environment that is comfortable, people-friendly.

14_Orlando International Airport_carpeting and, water features, lots of light and live landscaping are part of the Orlando Experience

Meanwhile, back at Portland International Airport, the old carpet will be gone, but not forgotten: a limited number of 1,000 square yard sections of the old carpet will be made available to winning applicants who will likely sell or give it away small bits of the carpet to others.