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Emotional reunions at Sky Harbor Airport as Valley families prep for holiday weekend

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Posted at 5:13 PM, Nov 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-24 19:13:03-05

PHOENIX — Emotional reunions could be seen at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport all day Wednesday, as thousands fly in and out for Thanksgiving.

Lynn Hayes and her husband, Peter, were among those waiting for their loved ones. The Hayes said they hadn’t seen their family in months.

“Hi, oh so happy to see you!” she said to their granddaughter Maeve.

Little 3-year-old Maeve is the couple's only granddaughter. When ABC15 asked Maeve how she felt when she saw her grandparents, this is what she said: “Happy, like my mom and my dad.”

Lynn’s son and daughter-in-law said they were just glad to finally be in town after flying in from Montana.

“Maeve’s lucky to have two great grandparents so it’s nice to finally get to go visit them,” said Teddy Hayes, Lynn’s son.

“It’s nice to get some sunshine and spend some time with the family that we’ve been missing so much,” added Kalli Hayes, Lynn’s daughter-in-law.

The Lawyer family was also waiting for their loved one's arrival on Wednesday. ABC15 saw them standing with “Welcome Home” signs and a finish-line banner, hoping Elder Chris Lawyer would love seeing that. Chris had been away from home for the last two years, doing missionary work in St. George, Utah.

“I’m glad to be here. It goes beyond words. I just can’t even describe how much is in my heart right now,” Chris told ABC15 in tears.

Shortly after Chris arrived, he embraced his parents and two sisters.

“He lived his dream and I think that’s one of the most amazing things a mother could ever ask for," added his mom, Victoria Lawyer.

Due to Thanksgiving, folks with Sky Harbor say it’s going to continue to be packed the next couple of days.

“On an average day, we have about 120,000 people come through our airport. Today we’re expecting thousands more,” Heather Shelbrack, a spokesperson with Sky Harbor.

Aldo Vazquez with AAA Arizona says millions will also be on the road.

“Nationwide about 53 million people are going to be traveling around the country for the Thanksgiving holiday. Here in Arizona, about one million people are going to be moving around in the state,” Vazquez told ABC15.

This is why Vazquez says, it’s best to plan ahead to avoid holiday traffic.

He also recommends you drive home Sunday morning, to shave off some time on your way home.

“Get here early so you can enjoy meeting up with your families again, and you know, take the stress out of it,” said Lynn Hayes when thinking about her experience getting to the airport.

Now Lynn and her family are looking forward to spending quality family time, celebrating Lynn's birthday and Thanksgiving.

To avoid traffic, folks at Sky Harbor recommend you use the 44th Street and Washington Phoenix Sky Train Station -- where your party can get to the terminals free of charge.