Inside San Francisco International Airport (SFO)
Today we continue our series on airport parking locations with San Francisco International Airport. This airport recently did well in the Skytraxx World Airport Awards, which surveyed around 12 million passengers about 388 airports. San Francisco Airport placed third on the list of North America’s best airports, behind Vancouver International and Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International. And its Terminal 2 was rated 4th in the world on the Best Airport Terminals list. However, an even bigger achievement was topping the list for Best Airport Service Staff in North America. Overall, it’s the second best American airport and is now in the top 40 of world airports.
San Francisco Airport History
Located 13 miles south of downtown San Francisco, SFO is the second busiest airport in California. Serving as the base for Virgin America, it is also a major hub for United Airlines. The airport first opened in May 1927 on land leased from Ogden L Mills. At that time it was called Mills Field Municipal Airport. In 1931 it became San Francisco Municipal Airport, gaining international status in 1955. The award-winning Terminal 2 is an extended version of the original Central Passenger Terminal, opened in 1954 and extended in 1984. (Find out more about the history of SFO.)
SFO has four terminals – 3 domestic and 1 international – and over 100 boarding gates. Its busiest international routes are to Hong Kong, London, Tokyo, Seoul, Frankfurt and Taipei. Domestic traffic is heaviest to Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Las Vegas and Denver. The airport handled more than 41 million passengers in 2011. Passengers tend to experience delays in bad weather, because of the location of the runways. Schemes to extend the runways have met opposition from those concerned about the environmental effects on the Bay Area. Meanwhile construction of a new tower is due to start later this year, as it is estimated that the existing tower could not survive a major earthquake.
SFO Passenger Amenities
SFO International Airport has a number of passenger facilities and amenities. These include luggage storage, showers, medical facilities, restaurants, bars and cafes, shopping, nurseries, Wi-Fi, charging stations, workstations, a yoga room and much more. An interactive airport map is available here. The airport is well served for ground transportation with the BART, Caltrain and SamTrans systems. Off-airport parking services are available from CL Parking, Ace Parking (Quikpark) and Park N Fly.
Things to Do Near SFO Airport
If you’re looking for something to while away the time at the airport, the SFO Museum offers exhibitions throughout the facility. If you have an extended layover, then take the BART into the city. If it’s early, Dottie’s True Blue Cafe is a great place for breakfast. The SFO airport shops are considered to be pretty good, but if you want even more variety, Union Square is within easy reach of the airport. Fisherman’s Wharf is a great place for a stroll and you can also enjoy the antique penny arcade machines at the Musee Mechanique. Check out the Victorian mansions on the “world’s crookedest street”, Lombard Street, take a ride on a cable car or tour the Golden Gate Bridge. If you have more time in the city, then these suggestions from Time Out may help.
What are your favorite things to do in San Francisco?
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