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Handy Tips from an Operations Assistant

by Public Relations | Published On: May 13, 2013 | Last Updated: Oct 09, 2015

As America’s Friendliest Airport®, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport strives to make the traveling experience as seamless as possible for travelers. For those picking up or dropping off passengers, the Airport might seem confusing. Many might be unaware of the help they can receive if they have questions and ways they can avoid a possible citation.

Ralph PeralesRalph Perales, Operations Traffic Controller who has been with Sky Harbor for six years, speaks about some of the ways travelers can have an easier travel experience.

The most frequent cause for a citation or issue travelers have? It is parking or waiting at the curb. Parking at the curb is prohibited and travelers should never leave their vehicle unattended, Perales said. “Operations has the ability to issue a citation, but that is as a last resort. We want to give our customers options.”

And, these options include utilizing Airport resources. This includes cell phone waiting lots. Sky Harbor now has three – one to the east of Terminal 4, one to the west of the Terminal 2 parking structure, and the third south of the 44th Street PHX Sky Train Station. For those picking up a traveler arriving into Terminal 4, a very easy way to pick someone up without driving into the Airport, is to wait at the 44th Street Cell Phone lot as the traveler takes the PHX Sky Train to the station. It is only a five minute ride, and drivers can pick up their party at the station curb.

What should you do if you have special needs? Perales says to talk with an Operations Assistant (OA), especially if you have a circumstance that might require you to leave the car. OAs are easily identifiable with their black uniforms and yellow vests that say Aviation. “We are here to help you,” he said. OAs can issue Special Needs permits. To receive a permit, the OA must inspect the vehicle and then fill out a permit with the date, starting time, amount of time available for the permit, license plate number and the location of the vehicle. The OA then directs the vehicle to the area on the curb least busy to minimize potential impacts to traffic.

Sky Harbor’s Technology staff has recently made it easier for OAs to do their jobs. OAs now carry a Clancy two-part system which includes a ticket writer and printer. They use cell phones for WiFi so that they can print out tickets or permits on the spot. OAs are also available to answer questions you might have.

“Having WiFi capability and access to the Internet, makes it easier for us to answer customer questions on the spot by having the ability to look up information,” Perales said.

Travelers can find additional information on our Pick Up and Drop off web page.

Perales said that the highlight of his day is that he enjoys interacting with and helping the public. Remember, OAs are here to help while also ensuring that safety and security regulations, traffic control and parking enforcement are met.

Above and to the right, OA Ralph Perales outside Terminal 2.

Posted May 13, 2013