Navigators Offer Insights for Travelers
Summer is a busy time of the year at Sky Harbor, especially the month of July. Many passengers are avid travelers with lots of experience. For others, coming to the Airport might be something completely new. This is where the friendly and helpful volunteer Navigators (dressed in purple with “Ask Me” buttons) come in. These volunteers assist travelers with anything from the most basic questions to solving some fairly complex problems.
One Navigator, Chuck Ferry (see photo above right), has been with the program for the past four and a half years. He got involved after traveling to the East Coast with his son. In route, they had a long layover in Boston Logan Airport and watched people. It was there that Chuck realized that airports were a lot of fun especially if you didn’t have to travel. He then returned to Phoenix and has been a Navigator volunteer ever since. And, he now shares his insights with travelers.
Chuck says that the most common questions people ask him are where the restrooms are and how to get to the Rental Car Center. However, the type of questions asked often depends on where the Navigators are stationed.
“We also get a lot of people who fly Southwest and US Airways who are unsure of where their gates are because there are multiple security checkpoints to go through,” Chuck said. “In this situation, it is really important for them to look at the monitors to see what gate the flight departs from so that they ensure that they go through the right checkpoint.”
Many people also lose items at the Airport or on the airplane and come to the Navigators to ask for assistance. Chuck says he assists by taking these individuals to a staffed Information Counter where they can see if anything was turned in or get the correct phone number to call – whether that is the Lost and Found of a specific airline or the Airport’s Lost and Found.
Additionally, travelers often ask Chuck and other Navigators where they should meet a friend or relative picking them up at the Airport.
“If you have a cell phone, that is the easiest way,” Chuck said. “Those picking up the traveler can use the cell-phone waiting lot until they receive a call from the traveler letting them know that he or she is ready for pick-up and where they will be waiting.” It is important to note that Terminals 3 and 4 have both north and south curbs.
Chuck also stressed the importance of travelers using Parking Pocket Pals when they park at the Airport. He said that people are often in such a rush that they forget where they park, and when they return, they can’t locate their car. There isn’t anything as stressful as this after returning from a trip and just wanting to get home. By using a Parking Pocket Pal, drivers can write down where they parked. Parking Pocket Pals can be found beside the elevators in each terminal and parking garage. And, if travelers need assistance with their vehicle whether they can’t find their car or have a flat tire, they can use a blue assistance call box located in the parking area or elevator lobby.
But the one tip that Chuck can’t stress enough is the importance of coming to the Airport early and doing as much as you can before you come. “The more you can do before you arrive here, the better off you are,” he said. For instance, Chuck said that if you are flying an airline that charges for checked bags, you should pay for the bags in advance online.
Other helpful tips include:
- Be prepared when you come to the Airport. Know what airline, which terminal and where you are planning to park or be dropped off.
- Confirm your flight status before coming to the Airport.
- Review www.tsa.gov so you know what items you are permitted to carry onboard the plane.
- Also remember that the TSA requires that the name on your plane ticket match exactly the full name that appears on your driver’s license or other government-issued ID.
- Bring your own snacks for the plane and purchase water and beverages after security.
And, Chuck says that above all, if travelers have questions while they are here, they should find a Navigator. “We are here to help,” he said.
So why does Chuck like being a Navigator so much? “I love the interplay with the people,” he said. “I love this job and the people and look forward to my day here. When helping people, you get a good feeling, and it is instant gratification.” Chuck, who volunteers one day a week, has even has picked up an application for a friend because he finds being a Navigator so meaningful.
Want to help travelers out at the Airport yourself? Why not become a volunteer Navigator? PHX Sky Harbor is currently looking for interested individuals to serve as Navigators at America’s Friendliest Airport®. Additional information can be found in the Customer Service section of our website.
First posted: 6/28/2010