No matter which teams end up playing in Super Bowl 50 on February 7 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, CA, airports in the Bay Area are ready for all those sports fans to arrive – and depart.
Here’s what some of the area airports have in store:
Officials at San Francisco International Airport are gearing up for a steady stream of arriving traffic in the days leading up to the Super Bowl and for a big crush of travelers on the Monday following the game.
“For the departure activity, we’re working with the TSA and airlines to open ticket counters and security checkpoints much earlier than usual,” said airport spokesman Doug Yakel, “and many airlines are actually planning to remain open 24 hours from Sunday into Monday to keep customers moving.”
The “5-4-3-2-1” campaign, should help move things along on departure day. The campaign encourages travelers to check out of their hotels 5 hours before their scheduled departure flight, to return their rental cars 4 hours before their flights and to check in at their airline ticket counters 3 hours before their flights. SFO is urging Super Bowl fans to get through the security checkpoints at least 2 hours before their flights and be waiting at their departure gates a least an hour before the scheduled departure time.
Other airports in the area are promoting the 5-4-3-2-1 campaign as well.
That means, of course, that a lot of passengers may be spending more time than usual at the airport and SFO is ready for that with an exhibit of artifacts from the NFL Hall of Fame (in Terminal 3) and a planned program of live music in all the terminals.
SFO has also set aside 150 parking spaces for private and corporate aircraft activity.
Oakland International Airport already has a pop-up shop selling Super Bowl memorabilia inside the terminal and is bracing for full flights during the week of the Super Bowl but, right now, has no additional commercial game-related flights scheduled for that week.
“What we are anticipating is an increase in corporate flights and are expecting to have the most private jet activity in the region, given that we have the most physical space for aircraft parking,” said OAK spokesperson Keonnis Taylor.
Mineta San Jose International Airport, “the gateway to The Big Game,” has spent months been planning for a significant increase in Super Bowl 50-related travelers and aircraft, including the arrival of the two Super Bowl team planes, currently scheduled on Sunday, January 31, and up to 10 commercial-sized aircraft transporting NFL family and friends, which are likely to land on February 4, said SJC spokeswoman Rosemary Barnes.
Some airlines will likely add commercial flights to accommodate increased demand, once the two teams playing have been decided, but SJC is also planning to accommodate what may be up to 150 private aircraft.
Passengers will find super-sized NFL graphics inside and outside of the terminals and in the Rental Car center, an increased presence by the San Jose Police Department and extended TSA checkpoint hours and personnel on Game Night through Tuesday after the game.
A helpful Game Week Travel page on the SJC website offers everything from tips on ground transportation options to a reminder from the TSA to pack Super Bowl 50 souvenir program in carry-ons only, “due to the program’s hologram feature.”
(My story about Bay Area airports gearing up for Super Bowl 50 first appeared on USA TODAY )