Phoenix Sky Harbor International airport is one of the major hubs in the southwest of the US . Much of its growth has been attributed to low-cost carriers such as Southwest and American West airlines (now merged into US Airways).
Astonishingly, British Airways operates the only direct flights to Phoenix from the whole of Europe. With such a monopoly BA could get away with charging pretty much whatever they wanted, but we have actually found that their fares are very competitive.
Considering that making connecting flights through US airports can be a trying experience, especially as you have to drag your bags through customs at the first airport you arrive in, and that the BA in-flight experience is superior to any of its American rivals, we would strongly recommend paying a little bit extra for the for the BA flights.
Alternative arrival airports
Phoenix Skyharbor airport is the main hub serving the state of Arizona, but if (and only if) you're looking to fly in to the American West and then start a driving tour, then Los Angeles, San Francisco or Las Vegas are all worthy of consideration.
Although there are no flights to Los Angeles or San Francisco from any UK regional airports, both airports have much stronger competition on direct flights from London, as several airlines operate each route, compared to just the one airline which operates direct flights to Phoenix from London.
You might also want to consider flights to Denver, but considering that this is also a British Airways monopoly, and that many people use flights to Denver to access Colorado's exclusive ski resorts (Aspen, Vail et al), you are not likely to find any great deals compared to flights to Phoenix.
Cheap flights to Phoenix with budget airlines (from within the USA)
Phoenix Skyharbor airport is one of the key hubs for budget giant Southwest Airlines (the US equivalent of Ryanair) and the merged US Airways/America West. Although US Airways do also operate long-haul flights, they have not shown any interest so far in challenging British Airways' monopoly on the direct London to Phoenix route.
If you are travelling within the USA, you will have no problem reaching Phoenix using budget carriers, but making do-it-yourself connections from the UK is a lot more cumbersome, as you have to carefully pick the right combination of flights to ensure you don't miss any connections.
In reality, you are unlikely to make any major saving by combining these fares with a long-haul scheduled flight to another US hub, especially as no airline will provide any kind of protection against delays which lead to you missing onward flights which you have booked yourself.
Subject to a huge renovation project in recent years, Phoenix has been reworked into a sort of scale-model L.A., all strip malls and connecting highways.
This is an extremely spaced-out destination, tempting even the most environmentally conscious into their nearest Avis Rent-a-Car, but the odd pedestrian delight still surfaces between the traffic tailbacks and smog.
Take the not-named-for-nothing Heritage Square: an old Victorian marketplace in which almost every house has its own story.It's in that very square, in fact, that you'll discover the Phoenix Museum of History, the centrepiece of downtown Phoenix's urban regeneration project, which details the city's development and displays a diverse selection of regional bric-a-brac.
Also of note on the cultural front is the Gammage Auditorium, Frank Lloyd Wright's final completed project before his death, which now hosts major theatrical productions and touring musicals. Wright's architectural signature is also evident at Taliesin West, a nearby 600-acre estate.
As borne out by the Hall of Flame, home to the National Firefighting Hall of Heroes, the one constant in this constantly evolving city is the blazing heat, fires or no fires. Temperatures in Phoenix average out in the high 80s/early 90s, so pack accordingly, and ensure all accommodation comes equipped with adequate air conditioning: more likely than not, you'll need it.