Bay Area Hubs Prepare For Super Bowl Rush
No one yet knows who will be playing in Super Bowl 50 on Feb. 7. Judging by the last 49 Bowls, however, a huge crowd is virtually guaranteed, not only for the game itself (held at Santa Clara, California’s Levi's Stadium), but also for all the events that surround the Super Bowl.
Hosting the annual game is a boon for the chosen city’s hotels, restaurants and tourism industry. It is still two-and-a-half weeks until kickoff, but the Bay Area is getting ready. Fans should have an easier time getting to the game this year compared to years past. Levi's Stadium is home of the San Francisco 49ers, but travelers heading to the Bowl won’t be limited to San Francisco International Airport. Santa Clara is also within a manageable distance of San Jose’s Mineta International. Oakland Int’l is a third viable Bay Area option.
Three airports, but it’s still going to be crowded
Even though the traffic will be more spread out, the three hubs have been planning on big crowds in the days leading up to the game and, especially, on the Monday after the winning team hoists the trophy.
The two yet-to-be-determined teams will fly into Mineta along with a number of other charters carrying celebrities, players' families and NFL honchos. The San Jose hub, which seems to be very aware that it is in SFO’s shadow, is taking advantage of its celebrity traffic by dubbing itself the “gateway to the Big Game.” When all is said and done on Monday Feb. 8, as many as 150 private and charter aircraft could have landed and taken off from San Jose’s hub.
Parking for private jets
Oakland is also expecting private aircraft and charter planes because it has the most parking space of the three airports.
Travelers who come to the Bay Area for the game will notice a lot of Super Bowl related advertising and signage, especially at SFO and Mineta. Taxi companies and other ground transport operations, meanwhile, are planning for the increased traffic and will have "all hands on deck" to take advantage of the increased number of fares.
A campaign to deal with the “morning after” crowds
People who are trying to fly into or out of the Bay Area during the week on non-Super Bowl related travel should be aware that things may be a little slower than usual. The Monday after the game will be the one day that regular travelers may want to avoid. Arrivals will be spaced out over Super Bowl Week, but everyone will be leaving at the same time.
SFO has a campaign that is designed to help things run smoothly on that Monday. The airport's 5-4-3-2-1 campaign gives travelers a time frame to keep them on schedule. SFO is telling Super Bowl attendees to check out of their hotel five hours before departure, return their rental car four hours before takeoff and check in at the airport three hours early. They should then go through security two hours before boarding and arrive at their gate an hour early.
Hopefully, this kind of micro managing will keep things running smoothly. The other Bay Area hubs have mentioned the possibility of announcing something similar with the goal of keeping gridlock at bay on Monday.
People whose Bay Area travels happen to coincide with the Super Bowl can expect crowds and delays at the three regional hubs, especially the day after the big game. It looks like the airports are taking steps to make sure that things run smoothly, even if the waits end up being longer than usual.
More by Josh Lew
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