Sacramento International Airport and the Great Wall of Denver


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By CityFella.

Sorry Mayor Kevin Johnson, the most significant building in the Sacramento region is Terminal B at the Sacramento International Airport.   It is the first impression for millions visiting Sacramento for the first time. It a breath taking building filled with award winning art.

A few days ago ,USA Today named Sacramento as having the 1oth best airport art in the country

The Top 10

1. Denver International Airport  2. Albuquerque International Sunport 3. Philadelphia International Airport 4. Pittsburgh International 5. San Francisco International 6. Mineta San Jose International 7.Albany International Airport 8. Austin-Bergstrom International 9. Chicago O’Hare International 10.Sacramento International Airport.

Sacramento International Airport is ranked 4th in North America for customer service by Airports Council International (ASI), the international trade association for commercial airports. The awards were determined by the cumulative results of Airport Service Quality (ASQ) surveys collected in 2014. ASQ Awards recognize the best airports based on passenger surveys, and are the only global survey measuring passengers’ satisfaction while still at the gate.

With over 8 million passengers annually. A replacement was well overdue and the new terminal is likely to meet the needs of the metro area for years to come.   The original terminal goes back to the late 60’s when the metro population was 600,000.

The new terminal cost a little over a Billion (with a large “B”)  to build.   The downside to the large “B” is higher fees.  Northern California’s low cost airport is now one of the more expensive.

I often travel to Chicago and to cities on the Atlantic Coast.  Because of the limited availability I traveled out of the Bay Area Airports.  Then a few years ago Jet Blue began offering non stop to New York’s Kennedy Airport.  I was overjoyed, I could fly from Sacramento avoiding the nearly two hour drive to Oakland followed by the hunt for  low cost off airport parking.

Yes there are other options from Sacramento. I once took Southwest to New York . Greyhound was faster,five legs. The good news was I didn’t have to change planes. The bad news,  I didn’t have to change planes.  If your traveling east from Sacramento, there aren’t many direct flights beyond the great wall of Denver and your likely to be funneled through Phoenix, Dallas or Denver.

When Frontier left Sacramento, it left me with fewer options. In the last few years most of my east coast travel was via Oakland and San Francisco.  Oakland is now the discount airport with Allegiant, Spirit, and Norwegian Air.

There is good news.  In addition to New York  you can now travel non stop from Sacramento to Charlotte,DC, Philadelphia*, Hawaii and  Boston from Sac International.   The bad news is few Sacramentians are aware of it.    Its the secret the airport and airlines are keeping to themselves.

Once again, I was happy when Jet Blue announced non stop service between Boston and Sac.   Last October, it was four legs and a long day on US Air.   I shared this information to friends on Facebook and other social media.  The response was disbelief.   Most if not all were unaware of Jet Blue’s flights to New York.  Nearly all the people I spoke to drove to the Bay if  they were flying east.

At a recent large meeting in Placer County few were aware of the non stops out of Sacramento.   Now this was not a scientific survey, but it occurred to me,  I have never seen any print or advertising from Sacramento International or from any of the airlines advertising non-stop service.

For years, you would see billboards on the east side of the Bay Bridge advertising the non stop destinations from Oakland.   The current ad,  “Easy as SMF” maybe missing the mark.  The airport would like to attract travelers more travelers  from the East Bay and Stockton.  However, in addition to the new terminal, perhaps a new approach is needed.  “Easy as SMF with non stops to……….”

Meanwhile in Oakland, the airport is currently offering five days of free parking on flights to Hawaii and Europe (until 4/14/15)  There are many new International destinations from the airport.  I’m planning a flight to Stockholm in a few months on Norwegian.

As Sacramento was courting Virgin America with yet another flight to Los Angeles.   Reno (a much smaller airport) will offer non-stops to London this winter.

Terminal B is a masterpiece, it elevates the entire region.  It was a billion dollars well spent. In less than two years, a much needed Hotel will open between Terminal A and B.  Parking begins at $10 per day and in the near future, light rail will bring passengers to the airport.

 

 

 

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