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New Observation Deck At SFO Offers Fliers New Views, Breath Of Fresh Air

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) -- Beginning Wednesday morning, San Francisco International Airport will give passengers a chance to view the airport like never before. For many, it will be a breath of fresh air.

After 9/11, airports became highly secure locations. Once you've made it past screening, you're kind of stuck, cooped up there until your flight leaves. That's why SFO is so excited about what's at the end of International Terminal G: the brand new "G Terrace."

It's a 3,000 square foot outdoor retreat for international passengers awaiting their departing flights. With room for 89, the open-air observation platform has benches, loungers and a fascinating view of airport operations as it looks down over the tarmac.

SFO "G Terrace" Deck (CBS)
The new "G Terrace" features a garden and sculptures to help travelers relax as they wait for their flights.

"It's going to be a wonderful place to just get away from some of the hectic elements of travel," said SFO project manager Raphael Garcia.

"There's a bit of magic to air travel and I think we've lost that over the years," said airport spokesperson Doug Yakel. "And I hope this space can kind of help passengers recapture that magic."

The new deck includes three 600-pound sculptures and even weather-proof electrical sockets, which Garcia says will recharge devices while the succulent garden recharges the soul.

"This is the first post-security outdoor terrace for the airport," he said, "and we had a lot of design elements that we had to consider specifically for managing its location."

Keep in mind, "its location" is still a high security airport. So the deck is surrounded by 10-foot-high glass panels, which look clear to human eyes but have faint vertical stripes that birds can see so they won't fly into them.

And so it won't attract birds—which can spell disaster at an airport—the garden contains plants they simply don't like. But for travelers, what's not to like about a chance to breathe fresh air and take in one last bit of that California sunshine?

"What do you come to California for? It's for being outside!" said Garcia.

The new observation deck will open every day at 7 a.m. and close at 11:30 p.m. And now that "G Terrace" is finished, the airport will begin construction on another one at Domestic Terminal 2, near the new control tower.

It will be located before the security checkpoints, so even those without a ticket can visit it. That project is scheduled to be completed in October.

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