San Francisco International Airport

Art we’re missing at SFO Airport

We are missing the adventures that start at airports. And we’re missing all the great art and history exhibits that airports around the country offer.

For example, if we could go to San Francisco International Airport (SFO) right now we would take our time exploring some of the ongoing and new exhibitions offered by the SFO Museum.

Extra ‘O’ – African Barbershop and Hairdressing Signs (Terminal 2 Departures through November 1, 2020) features colorful hand-painted barbershop signs. The exhibit also displays items relating to hair in traditional African culture, including headrests, hair combs, and helmet masks.

And a just-opened exhibition features photographs from the early days of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park.

This year marks the 150th anniversary of Golden Gate Park and SFO is hosting an exhibition of historical photographs by photographer R.J. Waters, who documented life in the park between 1896 and 1902.

The exhibition is on view through November 19, 2020, near Gate F5 in Terminal 3 and is part of the citywide celebration of the 150th anniversary of Golden Gate Park.

All photos courtesy of SFO Museum.

5 Things We Love About: San Francisco International Airport (SFO)

5 Things We Love About San Francisco International Airport (SFO)

Today Stuck at the Airport kicks off a new feature of short airport profiles celebrating some of the services, amenities and features we love about airports around the world.  

We could go on and on (as we often do) about some our favorites, of course.

But to keep things moving along, we are keeping the list for this series to just five things we love about each airport.

Our goal is to add at least one “Five things we love about…” feature each week. But, honestly, we’re just hanging around waiting for the time we can once again step foot into some of these airports, so during the next few weeks we’ll likely be posting a few of these features each week.

If you want to add a note about a feature or amenity you love about an airport that we don’t mention, we encourage you to add it in the comments section below.

Keep in mind: some amenities may be temporarily unavailable due to COVID-19 concerns.

And if you want to sponsor one of the “5 Things We Love About…” entries, get in touch.

5 Things We Love About: San Francisco International Airport (SFO)

Courtesy SFO Airport

1. Museums at SFO Airport

Back in 1999, the SFO Museum was the first airport museum to be accredited by the Americal Alliance of Museums (AAM).

Today, the SFO Museum presents charming and educational exhibitions in more than twenty galleries through the airport terminals.

Courtesy SFO Museum

But that’s not all. SFO is also home to the San Francisco Airport Commission Aviation Museum and Louis A. Turpen Aviation Museum, which is home to a permanent collection dedicated to the history of commercial aviation.

2. SFO’s “Kids Spot” play areas

Kids will definitely enjoy many of the museum exhibitions at SFO Airport, but they’ll also enjoy the interactive Kids Spot areas around the airport, located in Terminals 1, 2 and 3.

3. The SkyTerrace outdoor observation deck

Outdoor observation decks at airports are rare amenities these days. SFO has two.

The Outdoor Terrace in International Terminal 5 is located post-security (near Gate G14) and wooden chairs, tables, chaise lounges, drought-tolerant landscaping, bronze sculptures and 180-degree views of the airfield.

 The SkyTerrace is an outdoor observation deck located pre-security in Terminal 2 that also offers great views of the airfield.

4. The Wag Brigade therapy animals

Like many airports, San Francisco International has a team of certified therapy animals that mingles with travelers to provide diversion and reduce stress.

SFO’s team is called the Wag Brigade and includes a charming assortment of dogs and a pig named Lilou.

5. Yoga Rooms

SFO created the first airport yoga room back in 2012. Now there are yoga rooms in Terminal 2 and Terminal 3. And a handful of other airports, include Chicago’s O’Hare and Midway Airports and Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, have yoga rooms as well.

This “Things We Love About Airports” segment is made possible by Reel Women Productions, creator of books, radio documentaries, news and feature articles, and the StuckatTheAirport.com blog.

If you’d like to sponsor an upcoming “Things we love about airports” installment, get in touch.

Stuck at the Airport: Music, masks and lots of lights

Very few people are flying right now, but airlines and airports are still in the news.

Masks – on the plane and in the airports

The list of airlines requiring crew members and passengers to wear masks, and the number of airports requiring anyone passing through to cover their mouth and nose keeps growing.

United Airlines, Frontier Airlines, Delta Air Lines, American Airlines, JetBlue and Lufthansa are among the airlines already doing it. More will do the same.

Many of these airlines are also requiring that passengers wear masks during check-in, boarding and deplaning. And because an increasing number of airports are and soon will be requiring anyone in their terminals to wear masks, it’s a fair bet that wearing masks in airports is already the ‘new normal.’

Virtual music festival hosted by 23 airports

On May 6, starting at 5 p.m. CST, 23 airports across North America will be hosting the JetStream Music Festival, an online celebration of local music.

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, located in the “Live Music Capital of the World” will be the official host airport, but the 23 participating airports will each stream the festival on their respective Facebook Live pages and each will feature a local musician from their city. Viewers will be able to tip the performers during each set.

Participating airports include:

  • Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) – host 
  • Albuquerque International Airport (ABQ)
  • Asheville Regional Airport (AVL)
  • Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG)
  • Dallas Love Field Airport (DAL)
  • Evansville Regional Airport (EVV)
  • Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport (FLL)
  • Fresno Yosemite International Airport (FAT)
  • Jacksonville International Airport (JAX)
  • John Glenn Columbus International Airport (CMH)
  • John Wayne Airport (SNA)
  • Lehigh Valley International Airport (ABE)
  • Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY)
  • Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport (MKE)
  • Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport (MSP)
  • Philadelphia International Airport (PHL)
  • Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT)
  • Portland International Airport (PDX)
  • San Diego International Airport (SAN)
  • Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport (SAV)
  • Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA)
  • Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ)
  • Yeager Airport (CRW)

Airports lighting up

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), Dulles International Airport, San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and many other airports are lighting up their terminals in different colors to show their support for health care workers, first responders, front line workers, hospitality workers and airport and airline employees who are helping people get where they need to go.

Here’s SFO’s color-code and its upcoming lighting schedule.

  • First responders: red, white and blue (most Thursdays)
  • Front-line workers: gold (most Tuesdays)
  • Health care workers: blue (most Wednesdays)
  • Hospitality workers: purple (most Mondays)

Face masks required at more airports in the US & Canada

In trying to keep people safe during the current COVID-19 pandemic, an increasing number of government entities around the country now require people to wear non-medical masks or face coverings when out in public.

In many cities, those rules now apply to airports.

Two examples: San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS).

Starting this week, Canada’s Minister of Transport is requiring all air passengers traveling to, through or from Canada to have a non-medical mask or face covering to cover their mouth and nose.

“Aviation passengers on all flights departing or arriving at Canadian airports will also be required to demonstrate they have the necessary non-medical mask or face covering during the boarding process otherwise they will not be allowed to continue on their journey,” Transport Canada said in a statement.

Vancouver International Airport (YVR) jumped right on this rule – and had some fun with it (maybe too much fun?) in a Twitter thread.

Travel Tidbits from an airport near you

SFO Airport consolidates international flights to a single concourse

So many international flights have been temporarily canceled that some airports are closing down parts of concourses and terminals.

Courtesy SFO Airport

One example: San Francisco International Airport (SFO).

Because the schedule for international flights from SFO will be reduced by 52% by April 1, the airport will temporarily close one part of the International Terminal.

On April 1, and through at least through the end of May, SFO will close Boarding Area A (Gates A1 to A15) in the International Terminal and consolidate all international flight departures to Boarding Area G, which houses Gates G1-G14.

The SFO Medical Clinic (in the Int’l Terminal Main Hall, by the A Gates); the Grand Hyatt at SFO and the Int’l Parking Garage A will still be open, but this will allow SFO to close a security checkpoint and consolidate Custom & Border Protection staff.

Consolidation is going on at other airports as well. So if you are traveling, be sure to check the airport and airline websites.

TSA’s COVID-19 Count Keeps Increasing

Over the weekend, TSA updated its map and its list showing which states and which airports have TSA screening officers who have tested positive for COVID-19.

On Saturday, March 28, TSA reported that over the past two weeks 55 TSA screening officers have tested positive for COVID-19.

TSA says 19 others who had “relatively limited interaction with the traveling public” tested positive as well.

We hope those officers recover quickly, of course. But if you’ve traveled through an airport in one of the blue states on the map during the past few weeks, be sure to check this list to see which airports are affected.

The list includes the last date the officers worked, the checkpoints they were stationed at and their shift hours.

If you think you may have passed through the checkpoints where these officers were stationed, please be sure to check with your doctor about what steps to take next.