SAN FRANCISCO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT is one of the oldest and longest-serving airports in the United States. Today recognized as a true leader of the industry and gateway to the United States, the airport began as a single dirt strip in a cow pasture. Over the years as the airport grew, it became a department of the city and county of San Francisco. The airport also became more versatile and diverse in the amenities and services it offers. From airport standards like lounges and food courts to art installations and guided tours, San Francisco International proves a destination all on its own.
In 2017 SFO accommodated 55,814,906 passengers, taking nearly 70 percent of the Bay Area’s airport market share. Domestic travel accounted for more than three-quarters of the total traffic through the airport. It serves 62 airlines, of which United Airlines is the biggest. The most popular destination served from San Francisco is Los Angeles.
If you arrive with a lot of time to spare before your flight boards, you chose a good airport for your early arrival. SFO is packed with ways to spend your time. Between self-guided tours, places for children to play and relaxation options, you will not be bored before your flight.
The airport’s Aviation Museum and Library provides one of the best ways to get a feel for San Francisco’s appearance in the past and learn about aviation days of old. Exhibitions, research services and educational facilities are housed in a faithful recreation of SFO’s 1930s-era lobby. If you would rather look inward, the Berman Reflection Room offers a quiet space intended for meditation and self-reflection. Prefer to kill some time with a book? The Christian Science Reading Room will help you pass the time in another world.
If you are looking for some active relaxation, two yoga rooms and four XpresSpa facilities located throughout the airport give weary travelers a chance to blow off some steam and unwind before the next leg of travel.
Traveling through San Francisco with young ones proves easy as well. The airport offers several play spots for kids throughout the facilities to let children play in a variety of ways. Some areas focus on helping kids learn about art and natural sciences while expending some energy before flying.
San Francisco’s position as a global leader in services and amenities is no surprise, but the airport has not rested on its laurels so as to stay involved and on the cutting edge. In September SFO hosted a free citizens workshop for employees of the airport and their family members. The workshop allowed attendees to be screened for citizenship eligibility, provided legal consultations for prospective citizens and other forms of assistance for those looking to become citizens.
In terms of new operations coming to the airport, in mid- November San Francisco International announced the unveiling of a new automated security-screening process. A collaboration between the airport, the TSA and United Airlines, it should improve overall security at the airport as well as efficiency for security screenings. The new technology includes larger bins, allowing passengers to scan larger items; bigger countertops, allowing multiple bins to be scanned at once; automated conveyer belts; and improved tracking through the line. The new lines will go a long way toward improving airport efficiency in the future.
All airplane flights begin on the ground. An airport is the starting point, but airspace issues continue to expand from the terrestrial to the aerial. Altitude is no barrier when countries claim sovereignty from the Earth to beyond the stratosphere.
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