SFO to introduce priority security line for public transit riders

On Thursday, the BART Board of Directors approved a measure with the goal of creating a priority security line for public transit riders at SFO. In their meeting, the directors voted to approve something called trip verification technology (TVT), which would work as follows:

With TVT, SFO-hired staff would use devices at a designated entry point to scan Clipper cards or QR codes on BART apps to verify a customer used public transportation to get to the airport. If the trip on BART or other public transportation is verified, the customer would proceed to a priority line to go through TSA screening.

I’m really excited about this for a few reasons, but mostly because I’m a huge fan of public transit in general and because of the environmental impacts of getting more cars off the road.

Although I almost always take BART to and from the airport, this new system likely won’t affect me since I already use CLEAR which gets me through security in a matter of minutes, regardless of crowds. That said, I do hope this encourages more passangers to take BART, which is really a quick and easy way to get to the airport from SFO (especially if you’re flying out of the International Terminal or Terminal 3, where you can walk to security without even needing to take the AirTrain to get to security).

Will this make you more likely to take BART to the airport? Let me know in the comments!

SFO is shutting down its main runway for 20 days with significant delays expected

SFO will be shutting down its main runaway for 20 days beginning on September 7th, prompting United to send out a text offering free ticket changes to San Francisco travelers.

According to the text from United, “Delays of 30 to 45 minutes on average are expected for all flights after 9 a.m., with some flights delayed by up to 2 hours.”

I had no idea about this planned construction but I lucked out (*knocks on wood*), having booked a trip leaving SFO on September 6th. However, now I will definitely expect a delay on my flight home on September 11th.

If you have a choice, try to book through Oakland or San Jose while construction is ongoing. Otherwise, be prepared for an average of a 30-45 minute delay (though, of course, you’ll have to be at the airport waiting just in case you’re on one of the few flights that takes off on time!).

SFO bans the sale of plastic water bottles

Effective August 20th, San Francisco International Airport will become the first American airport to ban the sale of plastic water bottles. The decision to prohibit the sale of plastic water bottles is related to a San Francisco ordinance banning the sale of plastic water bottles on city-owner property and is part of a broader plan to eliminate carbon emissions, most landfill waste, and increase energy use efficiency.

As a frequent traveler who doesn’t always fly with a refillable water bottle (shame on me!), I’m slightly bummed by this but know it is the right move. I’m happy that it will push me and other travelers to bring our own water bottles.

I wouldn’t be surprised and hope to see other airports implement similar bans in the near future, with my guess that Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles, Denver and all Hawaii airports being the most likely to follow-through with a similar prohibition.

What do you think of the plastic water ban? Let me now in the comments!

Is it worth upgrading to business class on United’s direct flight between San Francisco and Tahiti?


As a member, you now get better savings when you book direct.

United recently started direct service between San Francisco, California and Tahiti, French Polynesia (airport code: PPT).

Earlier this month, I took advantage of the flight, and was able to snag an incredible deal for both flight and 4 nights in an over-water bungalow.

I was able to fly economy over and business back, so wanted to share my experiences in case you’re considering taking the same flight, and don’t know whether the upgrade to business class is worth it. (Unfortunately, I lost some of the pictures I took, so you’ll have to rely on my account below!).

The verdict: It depends.

As a lawyer, “it depends” or “maybe” is perhaps my favorite response to any question. But it’s especially true here.

Economy service, particularly is you are in Economy Plus, is decent. The flight is roughly 8 hours each way, which can be difficult for a business class flight — practically speaking, it meant that after dinner service, there was about 3.5 hours to sleep before breakfast service started. While United offers you the opportunity to skip breakfast (you can tell them before you fall asleep), I’ve found that even with an eye mask and ear plus, I can’t sleep through the smell of cooked food.

On the flight over, you’ll leave SFO in the early afternoon and arrive in PPT at around 8pm, which means that you’ll be sleeping soon after you land, anyway. I did this leg in economy, and am glad I did.

On the way back, you’ll leave at night and land in SFO early in the morning, which means you may benefit more from a bed (particularly if you want to go into work the next morning).

I was a little nervous about the 2-2-2 business setup on the business flight, but the new Polaris seats were really comfortable, and I love the Saks Fifth Avenue products. While I haven’t confirmed this, I think the new SFO to PPT route is pretty coveted and that the flight attendants working it were assigned to the routes based on seniority, so you can expect some pretty great service on the flight.

If your only (reasonable) option for flying to Tahiti is on economy, don’t let that deter you. But if you have the means or found a great deal in business, it’s definitely a nice way to treat yo’ self.

United announces new non-stop flights from San Francisco to New Delhi, Melbourne, and Toronto

This morning, United announced new service from San Francisco International Airport (SFO). The new flights are:

  • San Francisco to New Delhi, India (flight times are difficult though, with arrival in New Delhi at 12:45am and the return leaving New Delhi at 4am).
  • San Francisco to Melbourne, Australia
  • San Francisco to Toronto, Canada

United also announced additional flights and/or year-round service for their Seoul, Auckland, Tahiti, and Amsterdam routes.

United hypes this big announcement and I was hoping for direct flights to Guam, South America, and Africa, as Toronto is already well-serviced by Air Canada, there are currently direct flights between LAX and Melbourne, and there’s already non-stop service from SFO to Mumbai.

That said, will likely try out at least one of these new routes! Will you?

San Francisco Trip Deal: $308 direct, round-trip from SFO to Barcelona on Level by Iberia

Level, which is a long-haul, low-cost offshoot of Iberia, is putting direct flights from San Francisco to Barcelona, Spain on sale. Flights start at $308 direct, round-trip. There is currently availability between November 2018 and March 2019.

Sample travel dates include:

  • January 19-23
  • January 26-30
  • February 9-16
  • March 9-13
  • And more

To support Josh Trips, search for travel on Google Flights and book using this link:

BOOK THIS FLIGHT

United offering limited nonstop service between SFO and Barcelona

As a San Francisco-based travel blogger, I’m always on the lookout for new nonstop flights leaving from the Bay Area.

So it was an awesome surprise when this morning, I saw that United will be offering special nonstop service between SFO and Barcelona (airport code: BCN) in February 2019. United will be offering the following flights:

  • February 23 – San Francisco 1:45 p.m. Barcelona 10:25 a.m.+1
  • February 24 – Barcelona 12:50 p.m. San Francisco 4:20 p.m.
  • February 27 – San Francisco 1:45 p.m. Barcelona 10:25 a.m. +1
  • February 28 – Barcelona 12:45 p.m. San Francisco 4:15 p.m.

These flights are being offered as a result of Barcelona hosting the 2019 Mobile World Congress, and will help the Silicon Valley crowd get to/from the event.

Tickets aren’t cheap (I just did a search and it was $2,589 on United) and there is no saver award availability, meaning you’d be paying at least 70,000 miles. If you are cost-sensitive, Level by Iberia offers the best deals to Barcelona from San Francisco (with round-trip, direct flights as low as $308), but this is still a pretty cool offer from United.

H/T: Live and Let’s Fly