I took the kids out to Phoenix for a week at “Camp Pop and Grandma” recently, and that gave me an opportunity to check out the newly-opened gates in Phoenix’s Terminal 4. The area is unsurprisingly nice, but I wasn’t expecting to see the design change that they implemented for this eighth and final concourse in the 30+ year old terminal.
When Terminal 4 opened in 1990, it had two concourse on the south side for Southwest and three on the north for America West and international carriers, the latter of which had to use the high B gates where customs and immigration services were available. Here’s a map showing the evolution since that time.
In 1998, the High A gates were opened to allow America West to expand, and more gates were added to the international High B concourse. That completed the terminal on the north side with 14 gates on each concourse. (Additional regional parking spots were reconfigured in later years.)
There used to be a maintenance hangar and other facilities where the D gates are today, but in 2005, the Low D gates were opened for Southwest. Unlike the C concourses which had 10 gates each, D had only 8. By 2005, the airport realized that gates needed more space, so D was actually 50 feet wider than the others. The final concourse, the High D gates, opened this summer.
Up until this concourse was built, all connectors between concourses were narrow glass-sided hallways with two moving walkways to speed people along in each direction. The only connector behind security between the north and south sides was a bridge on the far east going between the high Cs and high Bs.
Now, a new connector has been built to get passengers from near the low As down to the low Ds (in green on the map above). This connector is also now used to shuffle arriving passengers to baggage claim, freeing up more space in the A and D TSA checkpoints.
This connector actually dumps travelers out just to the west of the low D concourse. A quick jog to the left, and there you are.
Right where the connector comes out is a Pete’s Coffee.
This has a great view of the ramp.
From here, you can keep walking west into the newest concourse connector. This shows a shift in the way the airport has thought about developing its concourse connectors. Instead of utilitarian walkways, Phoenix is now adding real estate to put concessions and lounges. Gone are the moving walkways, replaced by fancy looking floors.
Halfway through the connector, travelers are let out into a large area where they can grab food and hang out.
I should say, travelers WILL be able to do that, but none of the concessions there are open yet. Toward the right in the photo above will be concessions for all to use. To the left is a massive new Chase Sapphire Lounge. I find it amusing to think of a fancy lounge in the Southwest gate area, but this is also easily accessible from American gates.
The concourse itself looks somewhat similar to the low D gates with plenty of room. One difference… the gates themselves include a cool design for the boarding door area.
With the opening of these gates, Terminal 4 is now complete, and it is massive with nearly 100 gates across the 8 concourses. If you have to connect from the high D gates to anything else, get ready to do some walking since the moving walkways are gone there. And if you aren’t in the high D gates, you may find it worthwhile to go check it out anyway, at least the lounges and concessions, once those all open up.