observation deck

SFO Airport has a new outdoor observation deck

Airport observation decks are a treat – and a rarity – these days.

So it’s a big deal when an airport opens a brand new one.

Better yet, an outdoor observation deck that anyone – even someone without a ticket – can visit.

But that’s what San Francisco International Airport (SFO) has done.

On February 14 – Valentine’s Day – SFO opened a new $6.3 million outdoor observation deck called the SkyTerrace.

Located pre-security in Terminal 2, the 1,460-square-foot SkyTerrace is open to the general public and, as a bonus, offers 180-degree views of the busiest section of SFO, where all four runways intersect.

Visitors will find wooden chairs and benches at the SkyTerrace, drought-tolerant landscaping, bird-safe glass panels to provide wind protection and great views.

Food and beverages are permitted on the SkyTerrace, and later this year a café will open nearby. So this sounds like a great place to hang out with friends or family before a flight.

SFO’s new SkyTerrace will be open seven days a week from 7:00 am – 10:00 pm. And while no ticket is required to access this new observation deck, visitors must still undergo a security check as they enter the space.

As a nice bonus, the SFO Museum has installed an exhibit at the SkyTerrace titled The 1954 San Francisco International Airport Terminal, which explores the history and architecture of the building that was on the spot now occupied by the SkyTerrace.

Courtesy SFO Museum

Designed in the International Style, the seven-story building was dedicated on August 27, 1954 and had panoramic views of the airfield and San Francisco Bay from multiple spectators’ terraces.  The exhibition features objects and imagery from the first decade the building operated.

SFO’s other observation deck

And don’t forget that SFO airport has another snazzy observation deck.

That one also offers 180-degree views of the airfield and is post-security at the end of the International Terminal, Boarding Area G. It also has wooden chairs, tables, and chaise lounges, ten-foot bird-safe glass panels, drought-tolerant landscaping and three bronze sculptures. Hours: 7:00 am to 11:30 pm every day.

Outdoor movies – at the airport.

The amenities at Singapore’s Changi Airport, Hong Kong International Airport and the Incheon International Airport in Seoul include movie theaters.

IMAX at Hong Kong Airport - mock up

Hong Kong Int’l Airport has an IMAX theater

But those are indoor movie theaters.

In what we hope will be a regular feature, last weekend Germany’s Düsseldorf International (which recently adopted a parking robot) offered visitors a chance to see an outdoor movie at the airport.

DUS MOVIE

The one-night cinema had seats for over 700 people and was set up on the airport’s outdoor observation deck.

On Saturday night the German comedy “Nicht mein Tag” was shown. On Sunday, it was James Bond in “Skyfall”.

Moviegoers had perfect outdoor moving-watching weather and, as a bonus, could see airplanes landing and taking off just behind the screen.

And, to make sure everyone could hear the soundtrack, wireless headphones were passed out.

DUS MOVIE 3

DUS MOVIE 2

(Movie photos courtesy of Dusseldorf Airport)

BWI observation deck re-opens

BWI OBSERVATION DECK

The Observation Deck – one of the best amenities at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport has re-opened to the public.

And it’s fresh and spiffy and updated.

First opened in 1995 and closed since 2012 to make way for some terminal enhancements, the renewed Observation Deck has new exhibits and a new food outlet called Sky Azure.

New exhibits include a 28-foottall sounding rocket from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), a half-sized model of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory’s Solar Probe Plus spacecraft and some new interpretive information about the large sections of a Boeing 737-200 aircraft that were originally on site.

There’s also a new photo mural near the aircraft cockpit that displays a pilot’s view when landing on Runway 33L at BWI Marshall, charging stations, a display case filled with aircraft models, new children’s play equipment and new binocular viewers so you can get a better view of airport operations.

Sound like someplace you’d like to hang out? The BWI Marshall Observation Gallery is located pre-security, on the upper level of BWI between Concourse B and Concourse C.

BWI OBSERVATION DECKBINICOULARS