The San Francisco International Airport has grown and contracted over the years, reflecting the fortunes of the Bay Area. It was greatly expanded during the tech boom, but in recent years has struggled to keep up with new innovations in plane size as it now lacks the clout to fight environmental protestors. The airport is right on the ocean, which makes for a stunning visual at take-off and landing, but extending runways requires environmental groups to sign off on construction and thus this kind of project is on hold.
The ocean front location makes the airport very environmentally concerned. Its four runways are separated by only 750 feet each, meaning that adverse weather easily shuts down the system. Travelers stuck at the airport for a few extra hours, however, will find that there is plenty to see in the terminals. The AirTrain connects all four, so it is easy to switch between them to get access to all the amenities.
The San Francisco International Airport is home to the Louis A. Turpen Aviation Museum and the San Francisco Aviation Authority Library, both of which have won award. Permanent art installations are also scattered through out the terminals. Those who don't want to see the art may wish to visit the medical clinic, do some shopping, or browse the web via the terminal wi-fi.
The airport is accessible through the Bay Art Rapid Transit (BART) system, which drops passengers off in Parking Garage G. Travelers will want the Pittsburg/Bay Point - SFO line to get to the airport and will want to allow time for transfers. Buses only run from the SAMTrans/San Mateo side to the airport officially, although Air China has some local buses offering service from downtown. Most locals either drive or take a taxi to the airport; most local hotels offer complimentary shuttle service to travelers as well.
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