News from the Sky: The Volunteers of Phoenix Sky Harbor

Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport is known for being America’s Friendliest Airport® in large part because of the more than 360 volunteer Navigators that help direct and answer passenger questions throughout the airport.

Since the Navigator program started in 2000, a dedicated group of professionals has helped ensure visitors to Phoenix Sky Harbor get a friendly smile and helpful direction on their travels. In fact, 23 Navigators have been volunteering at the airport for more than 20 years, and 11 of those Navigators have become a part of the “Compass Club,” which recognizes Navigators who have volunteered more than 5,500 hours at the airport.

Taking it a step further, two of those “Compass Club” Navigators have even surpassed the entry level mark by volunteering more than 10,000 hours. Navigator volunteers at Phoenix Sky Harbor never know what they may encounter throughout their shift, from helping passengers find their gate or a place to eat, to directing them to baggage claim, or just providing a friendly hello, it is all part of their day.

During the first part of May, Phoenix Sky Harbor celebrated these dedicated volunteers with a week of recognition, including refreshments, celebration, and even sharing their shift with an Aviation Executive. This was all in an effort to say thank you for their time and commitment to embodying what it means to be America’s Friendliest Airport®.

Navigator volunteers come to the airport from all different career paths. In fact, Phoenix Sky Harbor is lucky enough to have Navigators who have been teachers, doctors, nurses, social workers, judges, lawyers, pilots, airline crew, dentists, veterinarians, and more. So next time you’re traveling through Phoenix Sky Harbor, don’t worry if you need a helping hand or if the size of our airport overwhelms you. Chances are there’s a friendly purple jacket just steps away willing to help you navigate our airport and see that you get to your destination safely.

You don’t have to be retired to volunteer as a Navigator at Phoenix Sky Harbor, in fact the Teen Navigator Volunteer Program introduces high school students to the role during the summer months. For six weeks starting in June, students who are at least 14 years old can volunteer alongside an experienced Navigator in weekly four-hour shifts.

Navigator Buddies, the airport’s therapy dog program, also provides passengers with the opportunity to pet and enjoy some quality time with man’s best friend. They often leave passengers with a smile and fill their days with joy by helping them de-stress while traveling. For those looking for spiritual care while traveling, Navigator Chaplains provide comfort by compassionately listening to passengers and providing spiritual guidance in response to their worries, fears, or concerns.

Just this year, 23 new Navigators have joined Phoenix Sky Harbor starting their journey into helping the millions of passengers a year that make their way through our terminals. To learn more about the Phoenix Sky Harbor Navigator and volunteer programs or to start volunteering yourself, visit