SFO airport

Airports deploying ‘mask nannies’

Right now face coverings and masks are required in every airport and on most airlines due to continued concerns about the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

There are signs, stickers, and announcements everywhere a traveler turns, but still, not everyone is covering up.

Some people don’t want to mask up and it is reassuring to know that some airlines won’t let those folks fly.

Other travelers may have forgotten their masks or are neglecting to put them on in areas of the airport.

So, to help passengers get with the program, “ambassadors” who are serving as mask nannies are being sent out into airport terminals to help.

Yes, it’s come to that.

At San Francisco International Airport (SFO) “TravelWell Ambassadors” are roving the terminals to make sure passengers wear face coverings and maintain proper physical distancing.

At Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), the mask nannies are called “Travel Safety Ambassadors. They’re on duty in Terminal 1 and in the Tom Bradey International Terminal (TBIT).

Don’t have a mask? No problem. The mask nannies have a supply of them. So there should be no excuses.

We expect other airports are or will be deploying mask nannies as well.

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.

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.

Cool, coin-op machines on view at San Francisco Int’l Airport

“Futura” -1950s; Gypsy Fortune Teller – 1932. Courtesy SFO Museum

The newest exhibition offered by the SFO Museum at San Francisco International Airport is about coin-operated machines, which smartly combine mechanical novelty and automated convenience. 

Lukat “The Lucky Cat” (1952) dispensed gum and a prize ticket.

“At the drop of a coin, they vended goods, provided entertainment, and offered potential jackpot payouts and free merchandise,” the exhibit notes tell us, while incorporating “decorative graphics and innovative mechanisms that captured the attention of people worldwide.”

‘Whiffs of Fragrance” 1916- dispenses a bit of perfume. Courtesy SFO Museum

Take a look as some of the cool coin-operated machines from the Joe Welch American Antique Museum in San Bruno, California on view for free (no coins necessary) in the pre-security International Terminal Main Hall Departures Lobby at San Francisco International Airport.

“The Automatic Age: Coin Operated Machines is on view from December 16, 2017 through August 5, 2018

Marking the 50th anniversary of Summer of Love

San Francisco is marking the 50th anniversary of the ‘Summer of Love’ with a kaleidoscope of events celebrating the summer of 1967, when an estimated 100,000 young people made their way to the city’s Haight-Ashbury district to be part of a fresh, hip scene.

Back then, “San Francisco was fertile ground for an emerging counterculture movement that blossomed into a season that changed the world, giving rise to art, technologies, revolutionary politics, the international hippie lifestyle, and fostering emerging rock musicians,” said Anthea Hartig, CEO and executive director the California Historical Society, “All of which continue to resonate today.”

Wearing tie-dyed clothing and a flower in your hair isn’t required when attending a Summer of Love happening, but it would certainly be groovy to do so.

Especially today, Saturday, May 13, during Flowers in your Hair Day,” honoring the pop song “San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)” that became a “flower-power anthem” for the summer and for the hippie movement.

Today local radio stations will play the song at noon and flowers will be distributed at various spots throughout the city, including at San Francisco International Airport, where United Airlines’ specially-numbered flight 1967 will arrive from Los Angeles at Gate 67.

Travelers will be able to take selfies with Madame Tussaud wax figures of  Jerry Garcia, and Jimi Hendrix – and in a cut-out of a hippie bus,’ the Gay Men’s Chorus will sing the song of the day.

(More ‘Flowers in Your Hair Day’ events here.)

Many other “Summer of Love” anniversary events are planned or already underway. Here’s a sampling:

On Sunday, May 7, the annual How Weird Street Faire in downtown San Francisco will celebrate the Summer of Love with music, costumes, dancing, fun exhibits, circus stage shows, live and exhibited artwork, and more.

The Monterey International Pop Festival will take place at the Monterey County Fairgrounds on June 16-18, 2017. The event is scheduled on the exact same dates as the now legendary three-day festival that took place in 1967, when Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, The Who, Ravi Shankar and Otis Redding made early career appearances.

Through August 20, 2017, the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park is hosting “The Summer of Love Experience: Art, Fashion, and Rock & Roll,” exhibition, featuring more than 400 posters, fashion creations, photographs, political artwork and other cultural artifacts of the time, as well as music and commissioned light shows.

80 photographs by iconic photographer Jim Marshall chronicling the hippie movement and American music icons, such as the Grateful Dead and Jimi Hendrix, from 1965-1970 are on display in the San Francisco Arts Commission Galleries at City Hall through June 23, 2017. (Admission: free).

Ohio to San Francisco, 1967. Photo_Herb Greene. In ‘On the Road to the Summer of Love’ t the California Historical Society beginning May 12, 2017.

And through September 10, 2017 the California Historical Society is hosting “On the Road to the Summer of Love,” featuring a wide array of photographs and cultural ephemera as well as a variety of associated events and lectures.

Tours and more

A long list of other Summer of Love-themed music festivals, lectures, exhibitions and events can be found here, including ideas for a wide-range of offbeat, year-round walking, bus and (even) Segway tours, such as the Haight Ashbury Flower Power Walking Tour and the Magic Bus Experience, billed as a “mind-bending combination of professional theater, film, music and sightseeing” transporting tour going back in time to the summer of 1967.

Can’t make it to San Francisco? Consider Cleveland.

In Cleveland, Ohio, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s newest exhibit, “Rolling Stone: 50,” celebrates the 50th anniversary of Rolling Stone Magazine, which was first published in San Francisco in November 1967, just a few months after the Summer of Love.

On view through Winter 2017 and occupying the top three floors of the museum, the exhibit draws on Rolling Stone’s explores the impact the magazine had on politics, popular culture and on the careers of individual artists.