New SFO terminal brings romance back to air travel

It was 1954 when San Francisco International Airport (SFO) welcomed it’s first flights. At the time, air travel was a luxurious experience and would-be classic airliners ruled the sky. This weekend, SFO reopens Terminal 2, thought to be the most modern and sustainable terminal in the United States, ushering in a new era of travel by air.

“An airport terminal designed to bring back the romance of travel,” airport director John Martin told KGO-TV.

The new $383 million SFO terminal will be home to American and Virgin America airlines. Airport supporters hope to recapture the golden age of air travel with local restaurant stars, artwork, a classic American Airlines DC-3 and even the ability to fill an empty water bottle and take it on board.

“We immediately felt we walked into a five-star hotel lobby that was just declared LEED gold standard in its environmental design,” said San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee.

On the flip side, the new terminal welcomes the future of aviation with open arms too. Sir Richard Branson was on hand this week with Virgin Galactica’s White Knight 2 which will take passengers into space, a venture California legislators hope to see reality soon.

“This is a big part of economic growth and economic development in the region and it is a big part of keeping down the costs for passengers to fly,” said California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom.

That’s great news for San Francisco, not so great news for nearby San Jose where their airport has struggled, trailing behind San Francisco then Oakland, losing lucrative routes to Paris and Taiwan. The economic slump that started in 2008 pretty much drove a stake through the beleaguered airport’s heart causing a loss of a third of its scheduled flights and a quarter of it’s passengers. This probably won’t help them either.

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