Category Archives: Americas

Shopping desert at San Francisco International

San Francisco is a destination I frequently fly to for my job. When I took off there last time, there was no delay and in fact, when you take off from San Francisco International (IATA: SFO) in 98% of the times your flight is on time according to The Northern Californian airport was also recently rated best US airport. Despite all that, there will still be the odd occasion when your flight actually is delayed (my colleagues who flew back with BA the next day were in fact delayed for about 2 hours), plus, with international flights it is recommended to get to the airport 2 hours prior to departure which often means you have plenty of time to kill before the boarding announcement.

So, what’s there to do at San Francisco International? Well, according to the airports own statistics, the terminal is the largest international terminal by square footage in North America. There are two different boarding areas, A and G with most non-US carrier flights departing from area A. Whilst the size of the terminal is definitely adding to your relaxation, you would also expect plenty of shopping opportunities (even more so with the current weak dollar). No such luck – there are hardly any! For example, if you hoped to buy that last minute Apple iPod for your friend at home, you will be disappointed as none can be found at SFO. So, better get your shopping done before you get to the airport. But what can you then do at the airport? Here are my top 5:

  1. Sit at the North side of the terminal and watch the air traffic
  2. Search the few stores for that one Vitamin Water flavour you haven’t tasted yet
  3. Count the number of public announcements that were generated with a computer voice
  4. Connect online and download your latest emails (connect through T-Online for US$6/hour or use your companies connection software)
  5. DeleteUpload those crazy photos you took last Saturday night at that party in the Castro

Happy travelling!


Airport Facts and Ratings

Airport Name San Francisco International (International Terminal, A Gates)
Design Plane Award Plane Award Plane Award Plane Award Point
Shopping Plane Award Point
Toilets Plane Award Plane Award Plane Award Point
Overall Plane Award Plane Award Plane Award Point
Chanel No 5 Eau de Parfum, 100ml at the Duty Free Shop
$66.00 (£33.20)
Bottle of Veuve Cliquot at the Duty Free Shop $99.00 (£49.80 – or click to see other currencies)

Kodak moment at Rochester airport?

Rochester, home of the Kodak corporation is a 200,000 people city in Monroe county, New York state, south of Lake Ontario. And despite the towns small size it actually has an international airport called “Greater Rochester International Airport” (IATA: ROC). Just don’t expect to fly there directly from anywhere far away, it’s not that international (in fact, I think the only international flight is across the lake to Toronto). But at least it features frequent flights to and from JFK. The only problem is that if JFK is disrupted for some reason, you’re stuck at Kodak’s home airport.

And that’s exactly what happened last time I went there for business: I was hoping to get back to JFK quickly in order to catch my flight back to London Heathrow. But unfortunately a major storm over New York caused my JetBlue flight to be delayed by several hours (and making me miss all possible flights back to London that day, but that’s another story…).

So, what was there to do at thrilling Rochester airport? Here’s my top 5:

  1. Feast on JetBlue’s generous food and drink offerings (mind the cookies, but indulge on the blue crisps)
  2. Make use of the free Wifi (while getting annoyed with yourself for leaving the charger in the checked bag)
  3. Search for the one coffee shop which actually does have soy milk coffee (the one between the two concourses has!)
  4. Calm down the lovely lady next to you who has tickets for the premiere of the Sex and the City movie at the Radio City Music Hall tonight
  5. Bond with fellow stranded travellers and complain in loud voices about the lack of information (and the distasteful cookies, see 1.)

What? You think that stained glass thing (see picture above) should have made it into the top 5? Common, stay focused! 😉


(Picture from Flickr)

Airport Installs 3D Body Scanners to Catch Criminals

3D Body Scanner at Kelowna airportThis could be exciting – Kelowna airport in Canada installs the first 3D Body Scanners. Watch your flight time carefully next time your fly home from this British Colombia airport as starring at your 3D image could become addictive…

“The paddles rotate around the body. The radio frequency penetrates the clothing … bounces off the skin and gives … a 3-D holographic image of the body,” said Ian McNaugton, the National Sales Manager for L3 Communications, which makes the machines.

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