As a newly-appointed San Jose Airport Commissioner, I would have loved to
attend the ribbon-cutting at 9AM on Saturday, June 26, 2010.
But prior to my appointment, I had already committed to be the announcer
for Reid-Hillview Airport Day at San Jose's other airport.
(And that was also a big deal as my air show announcing debut.)
It was an "oops" that our two airports in San Jose both forgot to check
each other's schedules and put their big events of the year on the same day.
Making the best I could of the schedule conflict, I attended the Terminal B
open house as a member of the public the next day on Sunday, June 27.
This was a unique tour as far as I can tell.
The airport arranged with TSA to have guests who pre-registered online
checked against the no-fly list.
Then a tour pass substituted for a boarding pass to get through Terminal B's
TSA security checkpoint.
(This also served as training for the new TSA agents hired for the
Terminal B checkpoint.)
Once through security, this was more than just access to the new Terminal B.
We were in the operating airline terminal.
It was access to see the entire "airside" (beyond the security checkpoint)
of the airport for Terminals A and B.
With the recent revamp/update of the gates at Terminal A,
it was also intended to be on display.
I noticed some other guests did like I did and
explored to the far end of Terminal A at Gate 1.
But undoubtedly most must have stayed in Terminal B. It's a long walk.
There were a lot of things to see...
the new well-lit Terminal B itself
the artwork like the "Space Observer", "eCloud" and many others
revamped/updated gates in Terminal A - all the updated gates in A and
new gates in B can be electronically switched
to a different airline instantly as needed
the variety of airside restaurants and shops
Though I'm now an Airport Commissioner, that's an advisory position so
I'm not obligated to tow a party line.
As an aviation geek I would undoubtedly have walked the whole terminal anyway.
Now I actually have an obligation to familiarize myself with the facility.
My impression is that it's a fantastic new terminal we can be proud of.
One of the more common criticisms is people say they
wish there was a moving walkway or people mover.
But we know how the economic downturn forced that and other plans to be
It's still going to do more than just replace Terminal C.
It's going to dramatically improve San Jose's reputation with passengers.
Some who used airlines located in the old Terminal C thought of SJC as
an old airport with no jet bridges. As of Wednesday, there will be no more
of that misconception - all gates will have jet bridges.
And hopefully the modern new terminal will help us
attract new transoceanic service to SJC again.
I have to wonder if they've stumbled on something significant with
this arrangement of having guests pre-screened through the TSA checkpoint.
If they could get TSA to agree to this here, why not again?
Perhaps could this idea be used to restore the ability for friends and family
to cross the security checkpoint (only if pre-screened)
to once again meet incoming passengers at the gate like
we used to be able to do before 2001?
Certainly the demand to do so never went away.
And the airside businesses would enjoy having more people to sell to.
It's an idea that I think is worth further discussion...