First look inside United’s new terminal at SFO

New T3E facing toward the main terminal building. This is what you'll see when deplaning (Chris McGinnis)

New T3E facing toward the main terminal building. This is what you’ll see when deplaning (Chris McGinnis)

United and SFO invited The Bay Area Traveler out to the new T3E Boarding Area on Friday for a look-see at the shiny new terminal.

Most of what you read here last month when I wrote about my hardhat tour of T3E still stands, but I’ve added a few more interesting nuggets of interest to Bay Area Travelers, BATs!

Take a look at the slideshow.

Some snippets:

>The first flight out of T3E on Tuesday, Jan 28 will be United flight 286, departing SFO at 7.05 am to New York Kennedy Airport.

>”You’ll find luxury perks in T3E that you’d normally see in a four or five star hotel like lounge seating and a living room feel,” said airport director John Martin

Workspace and power outlets everywhere! (Chris McGinnis)

Workspace and power outlets everywhere! (Chris McGinnis)

>There are more than 375 power outlets in T3E.

>The women’s bathroom at T3E has a whopping 26 toilets and its own lounge area bathed in natural light from floor to ceiling windows that are (regrettably) frosted. (But you can peer out around the outer edges!)

>The gates in T3E are numbers 60-69.

>A “temporary” United Club is current under construction in the mezzanine area of Terminal 3.

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>The far end of T3E is closer to SFO runways than any other part of the airport. You can definitely feel the thunder of those jumbos out there!

>”Our new facilities are made for those who want to power up…or power down.” United CEO Jeff Smisek commenting on the abundance of power plugs and the terminal’s yoga room. (T2 also has a yoga room.)

Best seat in the house lies between Gate 65 and 66. Love that view! Feel the rumble of 747's! (Chris McGinnis)

Best seat in the house lies between Gate 65 and 66. Love that view! Feel the rumble of 747′s! (Chris McGinnis)

>The best seat in the house is out by Gate 66. You can sit at a table and look out and watch 747′s roar by as they take off for Asia. Best time: around 2pm.

Take a look at the slideshow.

>”We designed the space so arriving passengers would immediately feel like they are in San Francisco as soon as they get off the plane.” Architect Art Gensler (Gensler’s firm also designed SFO’s T2 which has a similar impact on arriving passengers.)

>For now, you cannot enter T3E from the curb. Passengers departing from T3E will enter at current security checkpoints, the proceed down a long corridor to T3E. However, arriving passengers may exit T3E at the curb (upstairs) or take escalators down to baggage claim exits.

- 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:

United’s state of the union

New Year. New credit card?

American & US Airways at T2 + Sonoma airport expands + UberX + Delta/Virgin + EVA expands

United transcon bonus + United 787 domestic + Fewer 747s + Delta vs Alaska

The BEST credit cards for Bay Area Travelers

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

Southwest: Blackfish backlash

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

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

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Why don’t you join the 25,000+ people who get insider info, news and tips from The Bay Area Traveler every month? Sign up here to receive posts via email. Don’t miss out!

 

 

New terminal at SFO: hard hat tour (photos)

Mock up of the new Boarding Area E which opens Jan 28. Click for larger view (Photo: Gensler)

Mock up of the new Boarding Area E which opens Jan 28. Click for larger view (Photo: Gensler)

Last week The BAT snagged an exclusive hard hat tour of the new Boarding Area E at United’s Terminal 3 at San Francisco International Airport.

As you can tell from my slideshow photos, there’s still quite a lot to do before the new $138 million, 65,000 sq ft space opens in late January.

Here’s what you need to know:

The expansion of the corridor connecting E to F is where a new United Club will be located

The expansion of the corridor connecting E to F (pink) is where a new United Club will be located

>First, for a little background: United’s Terminal 3 consists of boarding areas E and F. Boarding Area F is currently in use. Boarding Area E housed American Airline’s operations until it moved into Terminal 2 in 2011. After closing, Boarding Area E was stripped to the studs and then rebuilt slightly larger (one gate added, for a total of 10).

>The new Boarding Area E will open on Tuesday, January 28th say airport officials and the design-build team of Hensel Phelps and Gensler.

>If you are a fan of SFO’s popular new Terminal 2 (housing Virgin America and American), you’ll likely enjoy the new Boarding Area E.

>Like T2, the space will be bathed in natural light, plenty of art, local concessions and modern, functional furnishings. Unlike T2, the color palette will be warm, with plenty of earth tones like tan, gold, brown, yellow and olive green. Other familiar sights will be water bottle filling stations and a yoga room.

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>Bathrooms are large, and like much of the terminal, sheathed in local Heath subway tiles, which are handmade in Marin County. Bathrooms have windows out to the ramp, and also include dressing rooms where passengers can change clothes.

>Three of SFO’s most valuable works of art (by Wayne Thiebaud, Robert Bechtle and Robert Torlakson) will be displayed prominently along the main corridor of the boarding area.

SEE HARDHAT TOUR SLIDESHOW

>Similar to T2, the new space will be saturated in public wi-fi nodes ensuring fast, free connections, plus there will be plenty of tabletop workspace and electrical outlets galore.

Looking out the big picture window toward runways at SFO (Chris McGinnis)

Looking out the big picture window toward runways at SFO (Chris McGinnis)

>Unlike the windows in Terminal 2 which are covered in tiny spots (called “frit”) to block heat and glare from the sun, most windows in this space only have it near the top… which makes for much better runway views. Airplane and airport nerds will geek out over the huge 25-foot-wide picture window at the north end of the concourse, which will offer some of the best views of taxiing aircraft anywhere at the SFO.

>Some familiar brands will be back as concessions: Mission Bar & Grill, Klein’s Deli, Dogpatch Café. There’s a special space set aside for small businesses (without the means to sign long term leases) to show their wares. For the first year, these “pop up” spaces will be occupied by a Berkeley art dealer and a purveyor of wine country olive oil.

>Terminal 3 East, the concourse used to access Boarding Area E (between the street and the terminal) is also going through a total revamp. However, this phase of the project will not be totally complete until summer 2015, which means passengers departing and arriving in the new board area will be walking through a construction zone for the next year or so. An airport spokesman told The BAT: “During the concourse renovation, passengers will be able to easily connect between Boarding Areas E and F through a temporary passageway, featuring contemporary finishes and varied seating options to enhance the passenger journey.”

SEE HARDHAT TOUR SLIDESHOW

>When Boarding Area E opens on January 28th, departing passengers will continue to use the current ticketing counters and security entry points. From there, they’ll have to take quite a long walk (500-900 feet depending on which checkpoint you use) to the entry of Boarding Area E. Eventually (no exact dates yet), passengers will be able to enter Terminal 3 from a new eight-lane security checkpoint near boarding Area E.

>United’s flights that currently operate out of Terminal 1 will move to Terminal 3 between February and May. (Currently, passengers checking in at Terminal 3, but with flights departing United Terminal 1, must take shuttle buses under the airport to get to their flights.) Boarding area E will be used for United’s mainline flights—United Express flights will use Boarding Area F.

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Site of the new United Club adjacent to Boarding Area E (Chris McGinnis)

Site of the new United Club adjacent to Boarding Area E (Chris McGinnis)

>A new United Club will open (estimated summer 2015) in the newly expanded concourse area that connects Boarding Area E with the rest of Terminal 3. (See diagram above.) However, construction has not begun, so it’s going to be a while. In the meantime, United Club members will be able to use a temporary United Club located on the mezzanine level between the current main security checkpoint and Boarding Area E. (This vacant space was a previous Red Carpet Club if anyone can remember back that far…United says that renovation of the space should begin soon, and should open by May 2014.)

>Around October 2014, United’s Premier security checkpoint will move from the far western end of the terminal to the center of it… adjacent to the current main security checkpoint, which means shorter walks to flights departing Boarding Area E.

SEE HARDHAT TOUR SLIDESHOW

-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:

16 brand new, must see NYC hotels

Update: United p.s. fleet SFO-JFK

Asia on sale + PreCheck newbies + United wi-fi + Free airport parking + Nancy Pelosi

Virgin first class sale + Hilton HHonors downgrade + Chase Sapphire w chip + United dumps ExpertFlyer

More A380s + Cathay discounts biz class + SJC courts Asia + Double Elevate pts

>Southwest FINALLY joins PreCheck

>United to allow handhelds below 10K feet

>Travel advice fit for a Queen (Latifah!)

>New landing procedure at SFO should help w delays! Hallelujah!

>Big, bad United MileagePlus surprise 

>Virgin’s new Safety Dance

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