In airport news, a Bay Area car-sharing service has added a presence at San Francisco International; six airlines relocated operations at New York LaGuardia; Oakland cuts the ribbon on an expanded international arrivals area; Chicago may add express trains from downtown to O’Hare; and Air Canada opens a new lounge at Toronto.
East Bay travelers have a new option for trips between San Francisco International and Oakland/Berkeley. GIG Car Share, a one-way rental service sponsored by AAA of Northern California, Nevada and Utah, has added a parking zone at the SFO Park ‘N Fly lot at 160 Produce Ave., South San Francisco, with shuttle service to and from the terminals. Those who download the app from GIG can pick up a car at the lot for trips to the East Bay, leaving the vehicle anywhere in the GIG “Home Zone,” or from Oakland/Berkeley to SFO. There’s no sign-up fee. GIG rates for a Toyota Prius C trip are $2.50 a mile or $15 an hour, including gas, insurance and parking. Click on the above GIG link for all the details. GIG already had parking at Oakland International’s Park ‘N Fly.
This past weekend was moving time for several airlines at New York LaGuardia, who relocated some or all of their operations to accommodate the ongoing massive reconstruction of the airport. By all accounts, the moves went smoothly, with new signs installed and employees on hand to direct passengers. Delta consolidated its operations in Terminals C and D, with Delta Shuttle flights to Chicago and Washington relocated from Terminal A (the Marine Air Terminal) to Terminal C. American Airlines and its Shuttle moved from Terminal C to Terminal B (the Main Terminal), while Alaska and JetBlue moved from Terminal B to Terminal A. Spirit and Frontier, formerly in Terminal B, now use Terminal C for departures and Terminal D for arrivals.
Oakland International Airport this week will celebrate a ribbon-cutting for its International Arrivals Building following the end of work on a major expansion that doubled its capacity by adding 13,000 square feet of additional space. The final phase included replacing the old baggage carousel with a pair of new ones, completing renovation work, and renovating U.S. Customs and Border Protection facilities. The first phase of the project, completed last summer, gave OAK eight more Automated Passport Control kiosks, for a total of 16; four more passenger processing booths, for a total of 14; and a pair of Global Entry kiosks. The airport has added a number of international flights in the past year and a half, now offering 32 weekly departures to Europe (mostly from Norwegian).
Ever take the Blue Line trains to or from Chicago O’Hare? They have a lot of stops between the airport and downtown. But now Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Chicago Infrastructure Trust has started taking proposals from companies that want to work with the city in creating express train service between the airport and downtown, cutting the trip time from 40 minutes to 20. The project is looking at three possible routes using existing rail lines, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. The city wants the trains to run at least every 15 minutes at a fare that’s well below the cost of a taxi or Uber. City officials suggested that one possible partner might be Elon Musk’s futuristic, high-speed Hyperloop.
The latest luxurious airport lounge facility for premium international travelers is the newly opened Air Canada Signature Suite at Toronto Pearson. The 6,400-square-foot facility, near Air Canada’s Terminal 1 international departure gates, is open to full-fare international business class customers (not including upgrades or reward travel). With space for 160 passengers, the suite has a sit-down restaurant with free a la carte dining, a full bar with snacks, a sitting area, and a concierge service.