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It's happening. A Google airline terminal is happening.
Two months ago we hinted that Google was looking to drop some dough on some tarmac to call their very own. And, according to Airport World, that plan for a Google Terminal at San Jose International is moving full speed ahead after the San José City Council gave the green light for Signature Flight Support to sign a 50-year lease for land at the airport.
It's on that 29-acre piece of land that Signature (a fixed-base operator, or FBO) plans to put $82 million into the construction of 270,000 square feet of LEED Gold facilities (inclusive of the 17,000 square foot terminal) exclusively for "private jets belonging to Google chiefs and other Silicon Valley businesses." So, in other words, not your average travelers or even the highest tier frequent flyers will be welcome.
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We’re all about the latest and greatest when it comes to airports. From new restaurants, lounges, and even yoga rooms, if it’s taking place in the airport we want to know about it. That’s why we were a little saddened to learn about one airport terminal in California that we probably won’t be able to check out anytime soon. That’s because we don’t have loads of cash, and we don’t have a corner office over at Google.
Apparently there’s such an influx of private business jets in and out of San Jose International Airport that Google is on the cusp of building their own terminal.
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Usually airport lounge access requires some kind of elite frequent flyer status, annual membership, or a fancy pants first class ticket. However, once in a while we see a lounge that’s open to one and all, as long as you’re willing to pay for the privilege. That appears to be the case with the latest airport oasis over at Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport, as they just opened the doors on what they're calling The Club at SJC.
Things opened up to passengers and travelers for the first time last week, as the airport hopes to offer up an opportunity to escape the hustle and bustle of the terminal. The Club at SJC is located up on the third floor of Terminal A, and it sits across from Gate 15 ready for you to come and visit. Its location is great for those heading out of town on those 787 flights over to Tokyo—whenever those return to the skies.
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There’s a lot of tempting treats as you make your way through the airport during a layover, and sometimes it’s hard to resist the onslaught of slices from Sbarro and frappuccinos from Starbucks. However, walking is always a good way to combat those pesky extra calories, and many airports have gone the extra mile—ha—to help you. Here’s a few airports where walking through the concourses and terminals will help you burn off a few extra calories:
· Move It At MSP:
Up at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport it’s always a good time to take a stroll through the airport to get the blood pumping—even when it’s bitterly cold outside. Airport officials have partnered with the American Heart Association to encourage travelers to “Start!” moving. There’s a clearly marked 1.4-mile loop that will take you through most of Terminal 1-Lindbergh, so if you’ve got an hour to burn it’s one good option especially since it drops you off right where you started. Do it a couple times and your half way to earning yourself a Snickers!
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Not too long ago we had the chance to check out all the new stuff at the Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport. We specifically investigated the ins and outs of the brand new Terminal B—thanks to getting to the airport way too early. Overall we thought the airport was pretty darn awesome, and a great alternative to flying out of SFO.
The best part of all is that it didn’t smell at all, although apparently the stank was coming from the remodeled Terminal A.
There are no moving walkways or other shortcuts to navigate the long expanses of Terminal B, which we didn’t really mind, but it seems like some just hate hoofing it along with bags in tow without a little help from modern technology. Everything is clean, sparkly, and brandy new—something we’d kind of expect for the airport of Silicon Valley and beyond.
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Airline delays are always a bummer, and there are certain aiports that seem more prone to issues than others. We're talking about airports with problems bigger than weather delays. Cockroaches and leaky ceilings? Check.
Here are our picks for airports with problems greater than just flight delays:
Here are our picks for airports with problems greater than just flight delays:
· Roaches and Filth at DEN:
We’ve got a strange fascination with airline meals, and if a flight attendant tosses one onto our tray table we feel obligated to dig in; however, we might want to stay clear of the options at Denver International Airport. An FDA report told LSG Sky Chefs that they operated gross kitchens, complete with details about dead roaches, bacteria, and possible homes for rodents. Now that things have been revealed, we’ll assume the areas have been somewhat cleaned up, but Just in case we might stick to prepackaged Snickers and Doritos—so healthy.
It looks like San Jose and the Silicon Valley will soon be stealing business away from SFO just up the road on the 101. The totally redone Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport opens to the traveling public this week, and the new place is definitely ready to show off its technology pedigree to both visitors and locals.
The place has a futuristic design that screams cutting-edge, but the real goodies are buried within the new Terminal B and the remodeled Terminal A. There are 200-foot-long skylights along the main concourse of Terminal B, and if you want to sit down and take in the view you’ll have plenty of juice thanks to electrical outlets easily accessible from each and every seat right in the armrests. The place cost around $1.3 billion so it’s pretty clear that they spared no expense.
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Silicon Valley commuters were positively inconsolable earlier this summer when American Airlines put an end to their "nerd bird" flights, the route between San Jose and Austin. Happy times will soon be here again, though, because Alaska Airlines has committed to picking up the slack:
Alaska Airlines today will inaugurate nonstop service between San Jose, Calif., and Austin, Texas, officially resurrecting the popular "nerd bird" route. The flight will originate in Portland, Ore., and the airline will add another daily flight between the three cities starting March 14, 2010. "This route is a natural extension of our network and provides a vital link between these high-tech hubs," said Steve Jarvis, Alaska Airlines' vice president of marketing, sales and customer experience.
We doubt that the renovations to the San Jose International Airport are what finally helped Microsoft and Yahoo come together in search engine marriage, but it can’t hurt that the face of Silicon Valley is getting a little nip and tuck. Those in hardhats have been busy renovating older parts of the airports and building some totally new facilities. All this in hopes of bringing the airport squarely into the 21st century.
The first six gates in the new Terminal B Concourse opened last month and Southwest was quick to claim them as their own. There’s still plenty of work to be done here, and the whole thing won’t be completed until 2010, but at least travelers will get a sneak peak into what’s to come.
Mad thanks to a reader for reminding us that San Jose International Airport has free WiFi. We actually rolled through the airport last month and snapped this shot of the free WiFi advertisement. But in the holiday madness we forgot to add SJC to our Airport WiFi Map. But don't worry, now it's on there.
The airport actually began offering the free service back in May. Here's the official info on where at SJC to go online:
Free wireless Internet in San José now is available in all public areas of both Terminal A and Terminal C, with the exception of the Terminal A baggage claim area. As the airport completes its comprehensive construction program to replace and renovate its terminals, free Wi Fi also will be included in the new Terminal B and North Concourse when placed in service.
Ahh...about that construction. Work has been ongoing here for a long time. The airport is actually building a new terminal, worth around $1.8 billion which will serve Southwest. The construction was expected to be done next year (this was a plan that was introduced way back in 1997) but it looks like 2010 is the new opening date.
· Free Wi-Fi Now Available At Mineta San José International Airport [SJC.org]
· Airport WiFi Map [Jaunted]