Saturday, April 9, 2011

SFO's New Terminal Two: A Real Wow

San Francisco Airport's new Terminal Two has hand crocheted netting hanging from the rafters: evocative of San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf.

My neighbor is an executive at San Francisco International Airport, and asked me if I would like to go to the opening of the new terminal, Terminal Two.  Its a 383 million dollar improvement to the airport.

Who would turn town a chance like that?  Not I.
So off we headed on a sunny California day, with the clouds rolling over the Coast Range from the nearby Pacific.  The preview, from 9:00 a.m. until noon, was for employees and their friends and families.  After noon, the general public was invited.  So we made it a morning.

I took my neighbor Donna's picture in front of a black and white blow-up of the terminal as I remember it from my childhood.

Donna in front of a picture of the old SFO terminal.  You could park in front and walk to the terminal way back then.

Donna took my picture in front of a display for Virgin Airlines.  There were Virgin Airlines displays everywhere, and Richard Branson himself attended the VIP party on Thursday,  joined by a bevy of blondes--or so I hear.  But he wasn't there today so he missed the chance of meeting us.

That's Robin in front of one of the many Virgin Airlines exhibits at the new SFO Terminal Two--or T2 as they are calling it.

There were lots of interesting things to see: the new terminal has rows of desks that travelers can use to plug in lap tops and PDAs.

The bathrooms now have room in the stalls for your luggage, and include a very high tech new hand drying machine.  You could heat your carry on lunch here too.  Or not.
We got a chance to see a retired flight attendant, dressed in an old American Airlines uniform, from a time when flight attendants were all model thin and dressed with military panache.
Peggy Fairchild flew in the seventies and eighties for American and did not wear this uniform.  But she agreed to model it for the opening of San Francisco's new Terminal Two.  Doesn't she look great?  That's a summer uniform of soft wool gabardine.

Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-California) said she departed Washington D.C. at  5:00 a.m. in order to speak at the event.  She didn't exercise particularly good judgment when she used this opportunity to to criticize the new House Speaker, John Boehner (R-Ohio).  It's the opening of an airport, for heaven's sake--no wonder America doesn't like its Congress very well.  Speier used to work for Congressman Leo Ryan, and was in Jonestown, Guyana with Ryan when he was killed there.  She was also shot and injured in the bizarre event.  I remember it because I was working at KRON-TV and covered angles of it in San Francisco that year--but its ancient history to most people today.

  Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-San Francisco) at the podium for the opening of SFO's Terminal Two.  It wasn't a political event and she should not have made it one.

The new terminal is gorgeous and practical and will soon see millions of passengers through its gates.  It is also self-supporting, says its director, and that is a good thing. My neighbor is in charge of safety--so you can bet it will also be a safe place as well.

We may be living in times of so-called austerity, but this opening was a reminder of just how rich we are in America.  A new airport terminal for a third of a billion dollars. A lot of money to you and me, but small change to this country--and the world's--enormous travel industry.

My neighbor says she saw a woman up on a ladder crocheting this net in Terminal Two's rafters  last week. So much for the tale that nobody does hand work anymore.

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Anonymous said...

Let's hope this really was built without using any tax money, although I suppose, in this case the definition of the word "tax" may be the issue. The "fees" both passengers and airlines pay probably went into the pot. Things must be looking up in the economy for all those airlines to need a new big terminal. I think it is a good sign.

Anonymous said...

I was there too, and Jackie Speier was so boring and went on talking so long I think she blunted any damage she may have hoped to do the new Republican Speaker of the House.

Robin Chapman said...

I think it is a good economic sign. Plus I want to try melting the cheese on my sandwich with one of those automatic hand dryers.

peretzklein said...

I do love those old stewardess uniforms.

Robin Chapman said...

Reminds one of one's days in scouting.