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Anticipating T3E + Google Int’l + New Virgin Visa + More Southwest nonstops

It’s been a while since we did a big catch up on Bay Area Travel News. So here goes! Our next three posts will be dedicated to just catching up!

Entering the new Boarding Area E at SFO's Terminal 3

Entering the new Boarding Area E at SFO’s Terminal 3 opens Jan 28!

NEW T3E TERMINAL OPENING. Anticipation is building for the opening of United’s new T3E terminal at SFO on Tues, Jan 28. The BAT will post photos shortly after the media preview this Friday (24th). BAT Editor Chris McGinnis will attend the community day on Saturday (25th), so come out, crawl all over the gorgeous new terminal,  and say HEY in person! (Look for that mug to the right>>) Community Day is free, but you must register here first and get tickets. We are still trying to find out what will be United’s first arrival and/or departure on the 28th…but it has not revealed that yet…

The Google 767 will soon move home base from Moffett Field to Google Int'l (Photo: Aero Icarus)

The Google 767 pictured here will soon move home base from Moffett Field to Google Int’l (Photo: Aero Icarus)

GOOGLE INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT. A private airport terminal for Google at San Jose International Airport is set to break ground in February and be complete by late 2015. According to this CNBC story, Google’s top three execs, Sergey Brin, Larry Page and Eric Schmidt are paying for the $82 million facility with their own money—not Google’s. The airport will be able to accommodate up to 60 aircraft (including the Boeing 767 owned by Brin and Page pictured above). Until now, Google has operated its private fleet from Moffett Field under a special agreement with NASA.

BLACKFISH OSCAR SNUB. Remember our recent post about the documentary Blackfish and its controversial ties to Southwest? Well, it appears SeaWorld dodged a bullet last week when the film was NOT selected as a finalist for best documentary by the Academy.

Virgin-base-card-bigNEW VIRGIN CREDIT CARD. This month Virgin America introduced two cool-looking new Visa Signature cards with some nice bennies. The regular card ($49/year) offers a free first checked bag to you and a travel companion, a $150 discount on one companion ticket per year and 20% off all inflight food and bev purchases. It also provides three Elevate points per dollar spent on Virgin America, and one point for everything else. Spend $1000 in 90 days and you get 10K points. The Premium card ($149/year) includes all the above plus it waives all change and cancellation fees on Virgin flights booked with the card. (However you still must pay any difference in fare, a la Southwest Airlines) Plus, you get 15,000 bonus points if you spend $1000 on the card in the first 90 days. The card also offers up to 15K status points when you hit certain spending tiers each year. That unique benefit of waiving change/cancel fees sounds very nice; however, getting out of the fees is an overly convoluted process according the George Hobica over at AirFareWatchDog.

FREE TV ON SOUTHWEST. Southwest and Dish will continue to offer free inflight TV through the end of 2014. Southwest’s TV is different from other airlines in that you must watch it on your own device—it’s not embedded in the seatback. And we hear varying reports about the quality of the signal. Have you watched TV on Southwest? How’d that go for you?

NEW SOUTHWEST NONSTOPS. Southwest Airlines is adding new nonstop flights between Oakland and Baltimore Washington airport (BWI)  starting June 8. Its also adding a second daily nonstop to/from Kansas City on the same date.

PLEASE, RECRUIT YOUR FRIENDS. If you like The BAT, would you please tell your friends and colleagues about it? The ONLY way we grow is via word of mouth from happy readers. Like every online publication, we need more eyeballs and appreciate your support.  Here’s something you can copy and paste into an email TODAY!

Have you ever heard about The Bay Area Traveler—The BAT– for frequent travelers? It’s a free local travel blog that I subscribe to. It’s full of helpful news and advice for frequent travelers who live in the Bay Area…just like us.  I think it’s definitely something you could use. See “Subscribe” in the upper right margin of the blog, or just sign up right here. Thanks! [ADD: *Your signature*]

- Chris McGinnis

And just in case you missed it, here’s what else you need to know about Bay Area Travel over the last month:

Southwest: Blackfish backlash

United: T3E & UA500 & 49ers-Seahawks Game fares

What to do if pulled over by the police [Infographic]

What winter storm?

12 wishes for better Bay Area travel in 2014

*How to earn a quick 40,000 United miles*

Are you a “data traveler?”

Virgin SFO-LaGuardia + AA’s newest jet + Global Entry delays + more

New terminal at SFO: hard hat tour (photos)

16 brand new, must see NYC hotels

Update: United p.s. fleet SFO-JFK


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