12 wishes for better Bay Area travel in 2014

Looking out at the bowed wing of ANA's 787 to Tokyo and pondering 2014 (Photo:  Chris McGinnis)

Looking out at the bowed wing of ANA’s 787 to Tokyo and pondering 2014 (Photo: Chris McGinnis)

1-That airlines come to their senses and strive to be the first to offer low-cost texting during flights instead of feeding the media frenzy over the possibility of inflight phone calls.

2-That Virgin America continues its recent string of quarterly profits so we don’t have to worry about it disappearing and leaving us without an airline that makes us smile. Nonstops from SFO to New York La Guardia would be nice, too!

3-That United is able to smoothly roll out dependable inflight wi-fi on its entire fleet, as some of its competitors have already done. It would also be nice to see United respond to competitors and bring its SFO lounges up to international standards.

4-That airlines quickly dump their uncomfortable “angled lie flat” business class seats, and bring them up to the new “true-lie-flat” standard offered by the likes of United, which now offers one of the best business class seats flying to/from SFO. (Lufthansa could take care of this quickly by deploying its new Boeing 747-8 on SFO-Frankfurt!)

5-That all hotels adopt the reasonable practice of offering basic wi-fi for free to all guests, limiting charges only to those who want to pipes fat enough to stream movies, or send/receive very large files.

6-That competition between Alaska, Delta, United and Virgin America continues to make travel up and down the West Coast cheap, frequent and full of unusual extras.

7-That new planes, new seats and new technology on the busy SFO-NYC corridor helps drive down business class fares, which now hover around $3,000-$4,000 roundtrip.

8-That upstart companies like Uber, Lyft, FlightCar, RelayRides and SilverCar continue to disrupt the staid, overpriced and over-regulated ground transportation business and make it easier and cheaper for us to get to/from airports and around town.

9-That all credit card companies dump irritating foreign transaction fees and add chips to cards to make them cheaper and easier to use overseas.

10-That airlines stop chipping away at their frequent flyer programs, making it tougher to redeem miles, and ticking off their best customers.

11-That San Jose and Oakland International Airports can add frequent and reasonably priced nonstop flights to more key destinations, which will help make them viable alternatives to increasingly crowded and delay-plagued SFO. Norwegian’s new nonstops between Scandinavia and Oakland and ANA’s nonstops between San Jose and Tokyo are a great start.

12-That all our cherished Bay Area Traveler blog readers continue to engage and interact with TravelSkills and tell at least FIVE FRIENDS to check it out and sign up! 

What would YOU like to see in 2014? Please leave your comments below! 

Happy New Year! — Chris McGinnis

And just in case you missed it, here’s what else you need to know about Bay Area Travel over the last month:

Are you a “data traveler?”

Virgin SFO-LaGuardia + AA’s newest jet + Global Entry delays + more

Best/worst days for holiday trips

New terminal at SFO: hard hat tour (photos)

16 brand new, must see NYC hotels

Update: United p.s. fleet SFO-JFK

Asia on sale + PreCheck newbies + United wi-fi + Free airport parking + Nancy Pelosi

Virgin first class sale + Hilton HHonors downgrade + Chase Sapphire w chip + United dumps ExpertFlyer

More A380s + Cathay discounts biz class + SJC courts Asia + Double Elevate pts

>Southwest FINALLY joins PreCheck

>United to allow handhelds below 10K feet

>Travel advice fit for a Queen (Latifah!)


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  • Former 1K flier

    My wish is that Jeff Smisek and his management team get replaced with management that truly values customers.

  • Peter

    I’m hoping the planned closure of the 1s in mid-May (until early Sept.) won’t create too much of a nightmare during busy summer travel. .. To JohnM, our new CSP approaches will slowly improve arrival rates during summer fog season, hopefully eventually up to 45/hr (usual rate is 54/hr when clear). … To Pam, T1 is getting a complete demo and rebuild starting next year, to be completed by about 2020. Shape will be one long pier (similar to United’s F concourse) with about 22 gates, including space for widebodies, lounges, a bigger security checkpoint and much better food options.

  • JohnM

    BIG dream.. That SFO will reconfigure their runways to allow parallel landings in all types of weather. They dust off their plans from 2000 to build runways in the Bay. This will help with the flow control when a cloud appears and cuts arrivals to 30 PH.

  • JohnM

    T1 is the next redo at SFO after pier E. Demo should start within the 2014-15 time frame.

  • JRSF

    SW already has $2 messaging only in air service. I haven’t tried (A List Preferred so it’s all free for me) but I’ve seen that on my December flights.

  • Pam

    Great ideas! I’d like SFO to revamp Terminal 1, which is used by United and other airlines for flights up and down the West Coast. At the very least, some decent restaurant choices would help. Another request – a complete redo of the Alaska Airlines Board Room in Terminal 1.