I’ve lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for almost 17 years now, and for 15 of those years I’ve flown in and out of the area via San Francisco Airport. I had never really considered flying out of Oakland Airport, because it’s too far away from me, or San Jose Airport, because I thought it was too small to compete with SFO on flight schedules or price. SFO has always been the Big Daddy of airports around here, and it was fine with me.
Two years ago I flew out of of San Jose Airport for the first time, and I was pleasantly surprised at how clean and uncrowded the place was. I began to include SJC in my online searches for flights, and again, I was surprised at how many airlines and destinations SJC actually has. When Alfie’s company moved to an office right beside the airport and began to offer free parking to employees flying through SJC, that sealed the deal. Now, whenever the flight schedules and prices are similar, I choose SJC over SFO every time. Here’s why:
1) For anyone on the Peninsula living south of Menlo Park, SJC is closer.
2) Car rental rates out of SJC are cheaper than SFO.
3) San Jose is much less foggy and windy than San Francisco, so SJC experiences much fewer less weather-related delays.
4) SJC is smaller, so you don’t have to walk (or run, if like me, you like to cut it close) half a mile to get to your boarding gate.
5) Less people fly out of SJC, so security lines are longer and boarding areas are less crowded.
6) The facilities at SJC are newer and cleaner.
7) SJC and SFO both offer free wifi, but SJC’s wifi comes with 24-hour customer support and a free security application that encrypts otherwise open wifi network connections; SFO’s wifi network is completely unsecured.
8) SJC’s boarding area seats have individual power outlets! How cool is that? No more crowding and huddling in some far-off corner, fighting for outlets with people you don’t know, no more squatting on the floor, no more using up your laptop batteries, hoping and praying you won’t run out before you get a chance to publish that all-important post before you board your flight! SJC really has the techie-flyer’s back.
Being a much bigger airport, SFO still has the edge over SJC when it comes to international flights, so whenever we visit our parents in the UK or the Philippines, we have to fly out of San Francisco. But for local flights, we’re an SJC family all the way.
But hey, if you want to stick with SFO, it’s fine with me — I’m happy to keep SJC an undiscovered gem.
Read more about bonggamom’s journey through parenthood at Finding Bonggamom.