Tag Archives: San Francisco International Airport

Why San Francisco International Airport Won ACI-NA’s Griesbach Award

Every year, I get the honor of being one of three judges at Airports Council International-North America’s (ACI-NA) 2013 Airport Concessions Awards. These awards tout the best of the best in airport  food/beverage, retail and service concessions. I’ve been a judge since 2008, and each year, the competition has done nothing but improved.

In my travels, I’ve seen how airports have stepped up their games, and that was reflected in the record number of entries this year.  And the pinnacle of those awards is the Richard A. Griesbach Award of Excellence winner. The award honors Griesbach, whose influence on the commercial development of airports extended far beyond his employment with the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, which oversees Washington National and Washington Dulles airports.

Despite so many airports worthy of the overall honor, it was clear in the judging room that San Francisco was the right pick.  I have written extensively about what makes airport concessions program successful.  That includes outlets that offer a sense of place and a good mix of national, regional and local concepts.  And it doesn’t hurt if you can get those in facilities like the International Terminal and Terminal 2, as you do at SFO.

And let’s look at some of those concepts. On the retail side, it ranges from luxury brands like Gucci and Coach, to local ones like Ghirardelli Chocolate and SF Uncorked. On the food side, SFO has Vino Volo (one of my very favorite concessions), Wakaba, Napa Farms Market and Andale. And on the services side, there the Yoga room, the Freshen Up shower facility and a world-class art collection.

So next time you’re in my original hometown airport, take some extra time to see what makes it an award winner.

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Five Favorite Airports

Sacramento International Airport’s Terminal B – WOW!! (the 2012 Griesbach winner)

 

Five Favorite Airports

Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. Photo by Benet J. Wilson

Recently, a group of my aviation geek friends were talking about my recent “excursion” on Qatar Airways. The conversation moved over to favorite airports and why. It’s impossible to narrow that down to just one, but I do have five I love, across the globe, in no particular order — and definitely not what you might expect.

  1. Singapore Changi Airport. To me, this is the Shangri-La of airports. You want lots of plants and light? Check. A butterfly garden and swimming pool? Check. A place to take a nap? Check. A free tour of Singapore for those with long layovers? Check. You get my point.
  2. Kansas City International Airport. Yes, I said Kansas City. Why? It’s not going to win any aesthetics or architecture awards, but it is a dream for travelers because each gate has its own Transportation Security Administration screening area and baggage claim.  This makes for easy in, and easy out. I’m just sad the Arthur Bryan’ts barbecue restaurant is no longer at the airport.
  3. San Francisco International Airport. Yes, my hometown airport made the cut for three reasons: the International Terminal/Terminal 2;  SFO Museum; and its food/beverage programs. Both terminals have been lauded for their design and ease of use for passengers. The airport has a world-class art program and a food program that emphasizes local and regional brands.
  4. Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. I fell in love with Schiphol because of the shopping. You can get anything from sunglasses to cheese to tulip bulbs (I’ve bought all three). You can place your bets at the casino, read books at the library, view world-class art at the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam Schiphol or check into a Yotel capsule hotel.
  5. Jacksonville International Airport. What can I say? This airport has the light, airy open feeling I love in airports. It also has some of the friendliest and most professional airport employees — including the Transportation Security Administration officers — I’ve ever seen.

 

5 Aviation Journalists You Need On Speed Dial For Plane Crashes

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An Asiana Airlines Boeing 767 parked at Incheon International Airport.  Photo by Benet J. Wilson.

After yesterday’s crash of an Asiana Airlines Boeing 777, I felt the need to do a rare Sunday post.  As an aviation journalist and communicator for 20 years, I’ve seen more than my fair share of general media coverage when it comes to airline accidents.  The crash at San Francisco International Airport showed the sad state of affairs when it comes to covering an accident.

Gone are the days when most major newspapers, television stations and cable news networks had reporters on staff with aviation expertise.  And it showed yesterday. Most of the accurate news came not from my usual news sources — CNN and NPR — but my 10,000 Twitter followers and my network of aviation geeks on private listserves and Facebook.  And the information that was out there was either wrong, or highly inaccurate.

For example, an NPR reporter said yesterday that the aircraft involved was a “Boeing 777, seats around 150 people.”  What?? Does this mean NO ONE at NPR had the 30 seconds it would have taken to go to the 777 section of the Boeing or Asiana websites or even SeatGuru.com to see the actual number on the Asiana aircraft? (it’s 246 to 300 seats).

So now here is my public service — a list of five top aviation journalists who can speak intelligently on the Asiana crash and a whole host of other aviation issues.  And bonus — I know that they are all camera-ready. So take advantage of these folks and their years of knowledge.

1.  Rob Mark, Jetwhine.com and Aviation International News:  besides being a licensed commercial pilot and the writer of the safety section of AIN, Mark has flown every current commercial aircraft from the Airbus A380 on down. He speaks regularly on aviation issues for FOX News and can do the same for you.
2 and 3. Graham Warwick and Guy Norris, Aviation Week and Space Technology: my former colleagues have been in the business for decades. Warwick, AvWeek’s managing editor for technology, has a strong background in aircraft engineering and design. Senior Editor Norris is a long-time, respected aerospace journalist who has written books on aircraft manufacturers, including Boeing.
4. Stephen Trimble, FlightGlobal: Trimble, FlightGlobal’s Americas Editor,  is one of the pre-eminent aerospace annd aviation editors in the field. Want proof? Check out what he’s done in the 24 hours since the crash.
5.  Jon Ostrower, Wall Street Journal: Before Ostrower, a Chicago-based aerospace reporter, came to the Journal, he was the air transport editor for FlightGlobal. Before that, he wrote the independent Flightblogger blog, considered the source of information on all things Boeing aircraft. He’s forgotten more than most of us know about the Seattle aircraft manufacturer.

Best Of Aviation Queen: Why Airport Art Is NOT Lame

Kids: Aunt Benet is a bit tired and way behind on other work today, so you get this best-of, which first appeared on the blog on Dec. 18, 2012. Enjoy!

“Quilted Passages” By Lillian Blades, at Hartsfield-Jackson.

I’ve always been a fan of art.  My love affair began in 6th grade, when my art teacher, Miss Sappington, introduced me to Henri Matisse, Paul Klee and Edward Degas.   I bought — and framed — my first piece of art when I was 16.  And I’ve always been a big fan of airports that display art.

So I was taken aback when I saw this article in Salon – Why Is Airport Art So Lame?  The author contends that airports have to appeal to such a large group of people who choosing art can be tricky.  Below are four airports I think are doing a great job with their art programs.

  1. San Francisco International Airport. my original hometown airport has always been the gold  standard to me when it comes to art.  This museum is so good it received accreditation from the American Association of Museums. Among the exhibits I enjoyed in 2012 were: blue jeans maker Levi Strauss advertising as art; pilot equipment of the open cockpit era;  early Lockheed aircraft; sewing in the machine age; and 75 years of the Golden Gate bridge.
  2. Miami International Airport.  If SFO is my gold standard, MIA is a close second. Back in August 2007, Aviation Week sent me down to do a preview of the South Terminal, which was in the final push to open (read my blog post here).  I spent a morning with Yolanda Sanchez, the facility’s director of Fine Arts and Cultural Affairs, who showed me a great collection (my Flickr collection is here).
  3. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.  I lived in the city for two years when I worked at Delta Air Lines. I just loved going to Concourse E, the international terminal, just to see the art.  There were art displays that represented the city’s place in the Civil Rights movement, including items from the MLK Museum. But as  a quilter myself, I loved  seeing the airport’s wonderful collection of  art quilts.
  4. Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.  I was passing through Sky Harbor back in the day and had some time to kill.  I found myself in the Terminal 4 gallery which had a wonderful display on the art of baseball.  Artists used their media to represent what baseball meant to them.   I would love to go to Terminal 2 to see the display of fiber art.

So — what are your favorite airports for art?

Why Airport Art Is NOT Lame

“Quilted Passages” By Lillian Blades, at Hartsfield-Jackson.

I’ve always been a fan of art.  My love affair began in 6th grade, when my art teacher, Miss Sappington, introduced me to Henri Matisse, Paul Klee and Edward Degas.   I bought — and framed — my first piece of art when I was 16.  And I’ve always been a big fan of airports that display art.

So I was taken aback when I saw this article in Salon – Why Is Airport Art So Lame?  The author contends that airports have to appeal to such a large group of people who choosing art can be tricky.  Below are four airports I think are doing a great job with their art programs.

  1. San Francisco International Airport. my original hometown airport has always been the gold  standard to me when it comes to art.  This museum is so good it received accreditation from the American Association of Museums. Among the exhibits I enjoyed in 2012 were: blue jeans maker Levi Strauss advertising as art; pilot equipment of the open cockpit era;  early Lockheed aircraft; sewing in the machine age; and 75 years of the Golden Gate bridge.
  2. Miami International Airport.  If SFO is my gold standard, MIA is a close second. Back in August 2007, Aviation Week sent me down to do a preview of the South Terminal, which was in the final push to open (read my blog post here).  I spent a morning with Yolanda Sanchez, the facility’s director of Fine Arts and Cultural Affairs, who showed me a great collection (my Flickr collection is here).
  3. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.  I lived in the city for two years when I worked at Delta Air Lines. I just loved going to Concourse E, the international terminal, just to see the art.  There were art displays that represented the city’s place in the Civil Rights movement, including items from the MLK Museum. But as  a quilter myself, I loved  seeing the airport’s wonderful collection of  art quilts.
  4. Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.  I was passing through Sky Harbor back in the day and had some time to kill.  I found myself in the Terminal 4 gallery which had a wonderful display on the art of baseball.  Artists used their media to represent what baseball meant to them.   I would love to go to Terminal 2 to see the display of fiber art.

So — what are your favorite airports for art?