In airport news, San Jose opens an expanded international arrivals space; Boston Logan’s Terminal E gets an overhaul and a pair of new premium lounges; Virgin America will lose its Loft at LAX; San Francisco International can record your license plate; and Dallas/Ft. Worth is greatly expanding a much-needed passenger amenity.
After a year of construction, Mineta San Jose International Airport this week cut the ribbon on an expanded International Arrivals Building. The project added 2,700 square feet and a second baggage carousel in the secure Customs area, along with a 3,100 square foot enclosed area for people waiting to meet inbound passengers. Airport officials said the larger space was needed because the number of carriers with international service at SJC has grown from three to nine in the past two years.
That big multi-airline move at Los Angeles International coming next month will eliminate one of the airport’s favorite spaces for Virgin America customers: the airline’s popular Loft in Terminal 3. That’s because the move will take Virgin from T3 to Terminal 6, where it will co-locate with its new owner, Alaska Airlines. But the Travel Codex blog reports that persons who enjoy free access to the Virgin America Loft – i.e., first class and Gold Elite customers – will get the same privileges at the Alaska Airlines lounge in T6, and Virgin’s Elevate Silver members will get a reduced entry rate of $15.
At Boston Logan, work has been finished on an expansion of Terminal E. The project added three more gates to the facility, and gives it the capability of handling Airbus A380 jumbos. Along with the extra space, travelers will be seeing improvements in Terminal E concessions as well. A new Hudson News has opened, to be followed in June by a new duty free store. New restaurants coming this summer include a Legal Sea Bar seafood eatery and a branch of Stephanie’s, a popular dining spot on Boston’s Newbury Street. The project also brought some new space for premium international flyers, including a British Airways lounge for first and business class customers (including those of partner carriers Iberia, Japan Airlines and Cathay Pacific); and a new Lufthansa lounge for first and business class flyers and elite-level customers, including those of Star Alliance partners at BOS like SAS, TAP and Turkish Airlines.
Do you drive to San Francisco International? If so, your license plate data could be captured and stored electronically for up to four years. according to Endgadget.com, the city’s Airport Commission OK’d the data collection plan to help in monitoring revenues from commercial operations like parking and taxis, but it’s not clear why it needs anyone else’s plate numbers, or why it needs to be kept for years. The airport apparently also has permission to release relevant data to law enforcement authorities, and the whole thing is stirring up some concerns among privacy and civil liberty groups.
Passengers at Dallas/Ft. Worth International will find it easier to plug in during the coming months. The airport plans to spend $1 million on the installation of another 2,750 power outlets at the gate areas in all five terminals. Electrical plugs are currently available at 10 to 15 percent of the gate area seats, but this project should expand that to 40-50 percent.