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Virgin America Airline's New Terminal 2 (T 2) and Lounge at SFO San Francisco International Airport

Updated on October 3, 2011
A Virgin America plane flies over San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge.
A Virgin America plane flies over San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge. | Source

T2 at SFO: the Best Aiport Terminal in America

In April 2011, San Francisco International Airport will be home to T2, the best airport terminal in the country.

It's true that competition isn't exactly fierce in the "awesome airport terminal" category, but thanks to Virgin America, at least someone is taking seriously the degradation and frustration and bad lighting that are hallmarks of air travel today. Virgin has had a say in designing the terminal's renovation, so plans call for comfort, cool and a "recompsure zone" so travelers can pull themselves back together after suffering the cruel indignities of TSA security procedures.

This terminal, lovingly dubbed T2 and costing $383 million to renovate, will almost (almost) make you want to fly somewhere — provided you are heading out of San Francisco on either American Airlines or Virgin Airlines, which call the 14 new gates in T2 home. It's got everything that makes San Francisco so popular: great local food, fine wines, abundant natural light, technological connectivity so you can charge your gadgets and remain online, good design.

Gensler Architects designed the SFO terminal and Turner Construction is building it. T2 has been empty over a decade, since SFO's old International Terminal housed in Terminal 2 was replaced back in 2000 by a shiny new thing.

San Francisco International Airport has created a brand new iPhone and smart phone app called the FlySFO app. Download the Fly SFO app to your phone to maximize your time at the best new airport terminal in America!

Eat, Wait, Fly

New security measures have people arriving at airports hours and hours before their flights. Once you get on the plane, forget about a free lunch.

Happily, Terminal 2 at SFO has plenty of ways to keep travelers engaged until their flights board, and lots of yummy portable options for them to buy and take on board with them.

The whole terminal is 640,000 square feet, and will have 14 gates for Virgin America and American Airlines. The rest of that space will be filled with comfy chairs, electrical outlets, and lots and lots of food and retail — even a 10,000 square foot cocktail lounge form Cat Cora.

So who will be in there? Here's a partial list of food service providers in Terminal 2:

  • Napa Farms Gourmet Market (including a rotisserie from Chef Tyler Florence)
  • Vino Volo Wine Bar
  • The Plant Cafe Organic
  • Lark Creek Grill
  • Pinkberry frozen yogurt
  • Andalé, Mexican food
  • Wakaba, Japanese cuisine
  • Peet's Coffee & Tea
  • Cat Cora Cocktail Lounge
  • Burger Joint
  • Starbucks Coffee
  • Starbucks

Kill Time at the Airport by Shopping

When you are stuck at the airport, you truly are stuck.

SFO's Terminal 2 and Virgin America waiting area has plenty of shops so you can get things done and even have fun while you wait.

  • Kiehl's skin products and makeup
  • Mango, Spanish fast fashion clothier
  • Compass Books
  • Charles Chocolates
  • Xpress Spa
  • Mosaic Fine Art and Craft Gallery
  • Pacific Coast Outfitters, travel accessories
  • Natalie's Candy Jar
  • I-Tech X-perience, electronic games
  • Sunset News newsstand
  • Greetings from San Francisco, gift store
  • SFO News Express

SFO Terminal 2 Is a Green Airport

Terminal 2 at SFO expects to get LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. That's the second highest level of greenness possible, and T2 would be the first LEED Gold airplane terminal in the country.

The terminal will also have a "Recomposure Zone" where travelers can recover and put themselves back together after the security screening and overzealous TSA agents.


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