If you live, work or are just visiting the San Francisco Bay Area make sure you take full advantage of the three airports because it's a great time to travel.
Today's airline economy is humming along
Yes, you read that right. For reaffirmation, The Mercury News pointed out that there is "resurgence at Bay Area airports".
Remember when the airlines were losing money out of the ying yang not very long ago?
Things have changed and have changed for the better especially for the consumer - YOU.
There is a lot of competition happening among airlines big and small. Take for example all of the budget airlines which have always offered a no frills low price (until you start adding extras like bigger seats, additional luggage, etc...), now today you have bigger airlines like United offering "basic economy" seats to compete with these smaller budget airlines.
Yeah you won't get to pick your seat, you won't be able to sit with family or friends, you won't be able to switch seats after you board and your limited to one personal item like a purse or backpack. That's doesn't like a cool position to be in, but hey if you are just going to take a weekend trip to Los Angeles it might work out for you.
Pay attention to all of the deals that all airlines offer because in today's airline climate you will find many more choices to fit your schedule and budget.
Why you should take advantage of the San Francisco Bay Area's 3 airports
Flying international in the past, 95% of the time you would need to fly in and out of San Francisco International Airport. You could fly international to Mexico from Mineta San Jose International Airport, but they were limited to mainly domestic flights. Same went with Oakland International Airport most of the flights back then were limited and just domestic.
Today, due to the Bay Area's booming economy and still the world's biggest technology incubator there has also been a big boom in our three airports.
Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC)
SJC has probably grown the most of the three Bay Area airports. The recent 1.3 billion dollar expansion that now connects Terminal A and Terminal B has vastly modernized this once old-school airport.
You can now catch flights to London and China. This is especially beneficial if you live in the South Bay. There's also a very nice lounge, which as won multiple awards for being the best in the business - The Club at SJC.
Do you remember the days when you boarded and unboarded on the tarmac? It was like coming back home from a military deployment overseas.
The expansion also made walking through the terminals a seamless experience. Another $50 million dollar expansion is set to open in July 2019, where more gates will be added to Terminal B. This will allow even more airlines and flights to fly in and out of San Jose.
Oakland International Airport (OAK)
OAK is the smallest of the three airports, but it's also been expanding to accommodate the migrant housing in the East Bay, where housing was once deemed affordable compared to San Francisco, the Peninsula and the South Bay.
Last year it completed a $45 million dollar project that doubled the size of it's International Arrivals. This is great news for anyone who enjoys traveling overseas and who lives in the East Bay. The more international flights offered, the cheaper the flights can be and more flights that can potentially fit your traveling schedule.
OAK also serves as a hub for much smaller, "budget" airlines such as Allegiant and Spirit airlines. These budget airlines, when used strategically can save you a lot of money. For example, I've flown on Allegiant from OAK to Bellingham, Washington. The round-trip flight was less than $150. My dad lives on nearby Whidbey Island, Washington and after visiting him, I took my wife to Vancouver B.C. for a weekend. The distance from Vancouver B.C. to the Bellingham Airport was about 1 1/2 hours. This is better than driving 3+ hours to the Seattle-Tacoma airport where you'll experience lot's of traffic and possibly a bigger airfare.
Another big benefit of flying out of OAK is the off-site, long-term parking. You can find some very affordable rates. I really like using Fly n Save. I recently parked my car there for 5 days and paid less than $45, that's $9 per day. That's a hard rate to beat, plus you get free shuttle service to OAK.
San Francisco International Airport (SFO)
SFO is still a very nice airport. With recent talks about expanding this airport, you can only smile as a traveler. Some of the highlights include a stream-lined pre-security concourse, new boarding area with new concessions, integrated technology and a new mezzanine. Construction is supposed to be completed by 2022. I can't wait!
At SFO, you have tons of domestic and international flight options. Remember the more options the cheaper you'll travel.
The lounges here range from just okay (i.e. the United Club lounges) to fancy (i.e. American Express Centurion Lounge).
Traveling in and out of SFO isn't too bad. The international flights usually fly out mid-day or late at night, which helps driving there and not facing the usual gridlock traffic. Ride share companies like Uber and Lyft have designated pick up and drop off areas, which makes it very easy to find your driver. There's also a BART station at SFO, which provides another transportation option.
The bottom line
If you live, work or are just visiting the San Francisco Bay Area, you are lucky to have three airports in close proximity to each other. When you plan your next trip, take the time to evaluate your options. You can save a lot of time and money if you research your options!
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