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Record crowds likely to pass through Sky Harbor after Super Bowl, Phoenix Open

PHOENIX — With all of the major sporting events in metro Phoenix in the rear-view mirror, Sky Harbor is expecting to see record numbers of travelers heading home on Monday.

It’s estimated that more than 80,000 people will pass through the terminals of Sky Harbor, doubling the airport’s daily average, said Lori Dankers, a spokeswoman for the Transportation Security Administration.

“We are expecting record crowds and people need to be aware of that when they come to the airport,” Dankers said.

Bad weather in the Midwest and Northeast had caused at least 19 delays and cancellations by around 9:30 a.m., according to the website FlightAware.

Dankers said the TSA has brought in additional agents from around the country as well as additional K-9 units used for bomb detection.

“It helps the screening process be quicker and it also adds an extra layer of security,” Dankers said.

Venancio Luz is a K-9 handler who is regularly stationed at Sky Harbor. He and his K-9, Berry, will be working so they will not be interacting with travelers at security.

“Don’t pet the K-9 while they’re working,” he said. “When you try to pet the K-9 while its sniffing, she’ll get distracted a little bit (so) it’d be better if you didn’t.”

TSA spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein added that passengers who attended Sunday’s Super Bowl should not pack game programs into their checked bags — the metallic insignias on the cover will set off the alarms.

“Put them in your carry-on baggage,” she said. Otherwise, somebody at checked baggage “then has to pull your suitcase out of the queue, open it up and make sure that it’s nothing that could cause harm.”

Sky Harbor Airport said flights to places such as Boston and New York have the possibility of being delayed or cancelled due to winter storms so passengers should check their flight status ahead of time.