New SFO Terminal

Discussion in 'American Airlines | AAdvantage' started by SST, Apr 9, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. SST
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    SST Silver Member

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    Went to the grand opening ceremonies today for the reopening of Terminal 2 at SFO, the elderly former international terminal which was replaced a few years ago with the large new gleaming one on either side of the entrance to the complex. Terminal 2 was terminally tired, as I suppose any 50+ year old structure should be. They did a complete rehab, and although they claim to have used 90% of the former terminal's structure, the new version is really much more usable and AA passengers are in for a nice surprise.

    AA and VX will share the terminal, and the Admiral's Club has been moved into MUCH nicer digs than the tiny oddity that inhabited T3. We couldn't get the full tour of the AC because SFO had comandeered it for some sort of VIP lounge, but what you could see from the front was really nice.

    A good discussion on sfgate with pix is here:
    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/cmcginnis/detail?entry_id=86569

    Today's event let hundreds of people at a time into the terminal to see the new stores, restos, gates, and a ton of promotions. VX was far more visible than AA, but there were promotions including OneWorld shopping bags, tshirts and golf shirts available. We ate at Lark Creek's outlet--- decent club sandwich and a good waldorf type salad. Fries with the sandwich were stale, as if prepared an hour or more ahead of time. Good service, something that was unavailable at any price in the old wing of T3.

    The celebration also included two live music venues. This is something I wish SFO had planned for. Both the AUS airport and also Changi in Singapore have live music venues and invite musicians in regularly-- it can be done at both larger and smaller airports. Unfortunately, with T2 being physically separated the same as T1, T3 and the International Terminal, instead of having some sort of walkway behind security, there is probably no way that SFO could ever have any entertainment or even late night shopping or dining open. This is too bad--- and probably no chance for a renovation to permit this in my lifetime. I had hoped T2 might provide such.

    The premium-priced massage spa was open with complimentary easychair usage. Their regular charges are a little steep, even for SF. Retail was about what you'd expect from any new terminal, except that there's great wine, food and gourmet to go stuff, which solves the problem of taking wine home from the Bay Area for those that do this---- just buy inside the security area and walk it on. Kindly place it in a bin NOT over me, please!

    It appears there's about 12 usable gates, since a couple of the 50-59 are numbered A&B pairs, which appear to be usable independently. HOWEVER, my guess is that AA has only 5 or 6, which is the same as what they had in the old terminal. Given that these are pretty busy already, we are not going to get any expansion of AA at SFO in these circumstances, really regardless of whether AA would like to or not. And I fear that Virgin's gates will prove inadequate for their expanding operations--- which might lead to pressure on AA to relinquish some of their space. We'll see. SFO-ORD starts up soon for VX, the latest destination. They're consistently adding, and I don't see how their six gates will do it.

    In all, for AA travellers the new concourse looks like a great improvement over T3, and the AC is a 100% improvement--- more space, fresher, much more usable. I guess my only criticism is the missed opportunity to link the terminals behind security, maybe underground. I look forward to trying more of the cuisine options. And whatever happened to linking AA and AS operations? Apparently this is not going to flourish, because there's absolutely no place to add AS to the terminal absent the demise of VX (which would leave AA all alone and probably spell doom for the merchants...)
     
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  2. justageek
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    My thoughts:

    The terminal looks awesome. SO much nicer than the AA pier in T3. Real restaurants with food you might want to eat. I don't care much for the high-end shops, but there were some utilitarian ones too. The gate area is not nearly as clausterphobic as T3 (though I admit it may look different when there are 150 people lined up at each gate trying to board).

    They had the door to the AC open so you could peek through, but they were only letting "VIPs" in (the list of VIPs was determined by the airport, not AA, according to the agent who was manning the entrance). The agent also mentioned that the airport had paid to build the club (I'm pretty sure I had read that elsewhere as well; I assume that's because another airline will be using it once AA moves out of T2).

    AA was showing off the "premium product" by one of their gates, manned by flight attendants. They had some wrapped-up food samples, a digiplayer, the products from the amenity kit, etc. If I can figure out how, I'll upload a photo.
     
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  3. LIH Prem
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    LIH Prem Gold Member

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    T2 is only temporary for AA. The long term plan is to consolidate one-world in T1.

    -David
     
  4. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Here are some pics from today's event:

    Check-in Lobby

    P1020333_small.jpg

    "Air-side" art

    P1020336_small.jpg

    The Admirals Club

    P1020337_small.jpg

    No access for mere mortals :(

    P1020338_small.jpg

    Farm(er)s Market (nice food!)

    P1020341_small.jpg
     
  5. DestinationDavid
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    Looks great. I've never flown through SFO on AA, but might swing a leg sometime soon.
     
  6. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    More pics...

    Wine store (mentioned above)

    P1020343_small.jpg

    The "mall" on the way to the gates

    P1020345_small.jpg

    Hmmm, not exactly what I'd want to buy at the airport, but my wife would love it:

    P1020348_small.jpg

    Lots of interesting food choices

    P1020354_small.jpg

    Seats with lots of power outlets.

    P1020360_small.jpg
     
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  7. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    And the last set (well, I have lots more, but I think these suffice):

    Virgin Galactic display:

    P1020362_small.jpg

    Fill your water bottles here (post security):

    P1020364_small.jpg

    This AA DC3 apparently was the first scheduled flight from the new T2 this afternoon:

    P1020367_small.jpg

    T2 has awesome views of the runways:

    P1020372_small.jpg

    P1020377_small.jpg
     
  8. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    It's been a while since I have flown AA, but IIRC all my flights out of SFO have been red-eyes, and their old T3 gates were pretty depressing at 10pm. This new terminal is really, really nice. But of course convenience will keep me go back to T3 and fly United, so I decided to make the quick trip to SFO this afternoon.
     
  9. DestinationDavid
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    I have a few aviation fiend friends who were there today, too. All *A flyers (UA of course in SFO). Too bad AA will be moving to T1 eventually. Hopefully that's just as good......
     
  10. Infinite1K
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    Thanks for the writeup.

    So there a total of 14 gates: Virgin America is supposed to get 7 and American 6. The remaining gate will be shared.
     
  11. Infinite1K
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    Great pics. T3 at SFO also has a water filling station in the "Marketplace" section of the terminal.
     
  12. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    Well, I don't fly much out of T1, but I think it's in desperate need of gutting and renovation, too. If they do just as good a job with it as with T2, then AA's move shouldn't be a "downgrade" -- and getting next to the OneWorld buddies in the international terminal will be a lot more convenient for connections.

    Too bad it will take a long time before they'll get around to re-doing T3. But until now, it was the nicest domestic terminal, so it kind of makes sense to put it at the end of the list.
     
  13. ArizonaGuy
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    So is it correct to believe there will still be no airside way to change terminals - at least on foot? (I know T1 & T3 have a shuttle for now while *A is split between them.)
     
  14. SST
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    SST Silver Member

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    Yes. Changing terminals other than by some bus shuttle requires going outside security, with the exception of T3 to the International Terminal. There is a walkway inside security if you come toward the gates to the right as you are about to exit from domestic. From the Int'l side, look for the Int'l RCC, then make a left. I'm not familiar with the bus at T1, or how often/reliably it runs.

    I should add that the walk behind security from Terminal 3 is ONLY good for the "G" International Terminal gates--- those with high numbers (90+, I think). As far as I know there's no way to get from the "G" International concourse to the "A" side.
     
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  15. ducster
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    ducster Gold Member

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    Thanks so much for the report and the pictures. I wanted to get there, but yesterday turned sideways on me.
     
  16. ceysav

    ceysav Active Member

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    There's a PLANT at this location! I eat at the Plant probably 2-3 times/week at work and on weekends here in SF.. Yummy smoothies (almond milk, coconut milk!), really healthy food, great veggie burgers (made w beets, lentils).. I would definitely suggest eating there if you're ever in T2
     
  17. FlyingPanda
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    Great reports, thanks!
     
  18. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    A lot of people apparently like it -- they had a long line of people waiting to buy/order food.
     
  19. justageek
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    There's no question that the restaurants are great. But I wonder how long that will last? Anyone who lived in SF when the International Terminal opened will remember that it, too, had some great restaurants when it opened, but over time they all went out of business, and all that's left is mediocre stuff. The San Francisco Chronicle even had an article about it a year or two ago.
     
  20. Travelsavant
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    Had a great time touring the new T2 on Saturday. Missed the MP group (& the special Turner Tour) because I was running late but Terminal 2 is quite special. Lots of wonderful food places, for in airport dining or getting food to go. Napa Farms had a great selection of prepacked items + you can order food to go too. Layout is well designed so that there are food/dining options near all the gates & not a long walk to any of them. Had great lunch at Lark Creek Grill. Shops had some unique & upscale items & gifts; definitely a change from usual airport offerings. Several play areas for kids, gate areas with very comfortable seating + loads of outlets & laptop areas. Womens' RR had hand-blowers that were the fastest & best I've ever used. Appreciated all the efforts for "greening" of the terminal, especially the exterior light & Water Bottle Refilling Station. Pictures are posted at http://picsbyreen.shutterfly.com & password is "prettyplease"
     
  21. JY1024
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    Thanks for the pictures and report! :)

    I'll be passing through T2 the second day after they're open, so I'm looking forward to wandering around the terminal and new club a bit after I land. :D
     

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