Dear San Francisco Airport;
You’re getting a D+ from me. The only reason it’s not a failing grade is that the exit security line was fast & easier than anticipated. The fog lifted and then the sun came out. That was uplifting, not just for me, but for your overall mark.
- Leaving on a WestJet flight was easy. The security line that had me completely freaked out & scared when we arrived was no big deal upon my departure. (The 10pm International Security wait line looked 3+ city blocks long and people were wiggling all about with stress.) I started dreading the exit process about 5 minutes after we actually arrived. Not a joyful feeling. But actually unwarranted anxiety in my case. The security line was no more than 20 minutes, well handled and kept moving.
- A small cup of plain coffee and a bagel only cost $9 and both were edible. Thank goodness I’m not a “breakfast sandwich & latte person” that would have set me back $18 USD.
- The airport Wi-Fi was usable, easy enough to get onto and functional.
- You can buy a loaf of sourdough bread and a can of clam chowder here. I don’t know if that’s good or not, but it’s not bad. This fact makes the good list look longer, and me appear less of a b*#~h.
- On time departure. I liked that.
The Bad & Ugly:
- Sky train to car rentals. Ugh. Is it working or not? It’s detouring? Ok. No, it’s a bus now. Which bus? Why is it so far from the airport?
- Coming & going from the airport in a rental car… hell. GPS & Google maps are no help at all when roads and ramps are closed/and or detoured, or both. And you’re on and off freeways & the signage bites. Literally it felt like PAC MAN. Left, right, u-turn, recalculating, recalculating. This is no exaggeration. We had a CAPABLE big city driver, and a sober, articulate navigator AND modern technology. The struggle was real. I’ve never been so happy to arrive, turn over the keys & walk away.
- If you get more than an hour away from the airport, expect toll bridges everywhere. $7.95 to cross the Golden Gate Bridge each if you pre-pay. Make that $9.95 plus $5.95 service charge if you just let the rental car service put it on your bill.
- The airport washrooms are horrible. How is it that the International arrivals has small, hard to find washrooms? And when you do find it…. barely operational. 3 stalls, plus 1 Disability-friendly stall. At 8am…. 1 stall clogged & out of service. The other 2, were unclean. The auto-start taps, at the sinks, 1 of 3 worked. I get it, save water, but, a lineup at the sink for a splash of water is not appropriate or sanitary. Zero chance of soap, lather & rinse. Once again, hand sanitizer to the rescue. SFO can do better.
- Duty free “opens” at 8:30AM. 6 flights have already left and I can’t shop because my 9AM flight is already boarding. (I have a photo from 8:33AM. Still not open.) So, nothing for me to declare going back to Canada!! Except, if given the chance I will declare my mediocre review of SFO! Lol. Just kidding. I don’t want the extra CBA interview for my bad attitude.
- No phone jacks, or plug-ins by the seats. Very hard to find a place to recharge a phone.
- Seats are old, dirty & the stainless steel chair arms look like a Petri dish.
- I couldn’t see a bottle filling station or water fountain.
- No local or specialty souvenirs shops. Generic newsstand-type place with over-priced Chinese made San Franciso souvenirs. I spent zero dollars.
- $21.99USD for a bag of Ghirardelli chocolates. Yeah… right. No thanks.
I have been to several California airports so it’s not like I’m unfamiliar with big cities or California in general.
I love Palm Springs A+ because it’s so well organized, small, easy-breezy (it’s open air). Only thing is, there’s no Duty Free shop that I know of. Perfect “starter” airport for any new or solo travellers with apprehensions.
San Diego, A+ for its proximity to everything touristy, great signage, great food, great washrooms, easy taxi/shuttle. I love SAN & would go anytime.
LAX, B+ and only because it’s so big & changing terminals by bus was a little surprising. But everything was efficient. A well run mega airport. I didn’t rent a car any of the visits there. Only taxi/shuttle arrival/exit. It’s big, but very do-able. Lots of phone charging stations.
SNA, is the airport code for John Wayne Airport in Newport Beach/Anaheim area. A++. Beautiful. Fantastic. Easy. And 40 mins from Disneyland and lots of airport/Disney shuttles around. 15 minutes from the beach & rest and relaxation. Arrive here, and be in your bathing suit by a beach or pool in less than an hour from the plane landing.