Mineta San Jose International Airport: Transforming how Silicon Valley travels

Guest Author by Guest Author | Nov 1, 2017

Written by Rosemary Barnes, Public Information Manager, Mineta San Jose International Airport

Mineta San Jose International Airport’s (SJC) vision “to transform how Silicon Valley travels” is the daily focus for the 5,000+ employee team who lives this vision every day by connecting with, serving and inspiring our many customers. With this attention to passengers, it’s no wonder SJC was America’s fastest-growing major US airport in 2016 based on percentage increase in passenger seat capacity.

To understand how SJC is now approaching serving 12 million travelers annually, and accommodating double-digit growth in the past 12 months, it’s important to understand the airport team’s commitment to ongoing engagement and exceptional service delivery to our unique travelers. The SJC passenger profile includes an upscale, tech-savvy professional. This is logical given that the airport is located within an 18-mile radius of more than 6,600 technology companies, including the headquarters of Fortune 500 companies such as Adobe, Apple, Cisco, eBay, Facebook, Google, Hewlett-Packard and Intel.

Build it and they will come

SJC’s terminal facilities offer a welcoming and efficient travel experience, and sense of place for passengers. The beautiful, state-of-the-art Terminals A and B allow travelers to transition to a relaxing and efficient segment of their journey whether they’re departing from or arriving to SJC. These facilities have been a primary reason why airlines and travelers alike continue to choose Silicon Valley’s airport since a US$1.3 billion modernization was completed in 2010.

Since that time, SJC has added or announced eight new international airlines or nonstop international flights to cities where Silicon Valley’s diverse community wants to go. These include ANA to Tokyo-Narita, Hainan to Beijing, British Airways to London-Heathrow, Air Canada to Vancouver, Lufthansa to Frankfurt and Air China to Shanghai. More flights to Guadalajara and Cabo San Lucas on Aeromexico and Southwest (its first-ever international service from SJC), respectively, join Alaska and Volaris also serving these cities from SJC.

Expansion of nonstop service within the US has also flourished at SJC. Frontier Airlines will inaugurate service to seven cities beginning in fall 2017. Domestic carriers–American, Delta, Hawaiian, JetBlue and United—have joined Southwest and Alaska in adding more frequency to existing and new in-demand destinations, such as Baltimore-Washington, Charlotte, Dallas-Love Field, Eugene (Oregon), the Hawaiian Islands, Newark, New Orleans, Orlando and St. Louis.

With 16 international and domestic airlines offering 200+ peak daily departures to 50 nonstop destinations, business and leisure travelers have more reasons to choose SJC for their travel plans so they can leave Silicon Valley from Silicon Valley, and arrive home without a drive home.

Common-use services to serve our travelers’ unique needs

Innovation has been key for SJC in accommodating a growing number of airlines and travelers in two terminals and meeting the expectations of passengers who are early adopters of technology. Here are some ways SJC is enhancing efficiency and reducing costs for airlines and our mutual customers:

  • Airline ticketing and gate facilities powered by a secure network of airport-operated common-use equipment is an important factor as flight schedules can change on any given day due to weather, aircraft maintenance or other flight-related factors.
  • The Club at SJC isthe award-winning lounge open to all travelers. For a US$40 a day pass, guests are transported to an oasis of peace and quiet, where they can count on exceptional service that’s warm and friendly, and an array of complimentary food and drinks appealing to hungry and weary travelers. Some SJC airlines offer complimentary access to The Club to their high-mileage customers.
  • SJC’s four international gates are designed to also accommodate domestic flights. These so-called “swing gates” offer an enclosed corridor so arriving international travelers are seamlessly guided to US Customs processing. The flexible gates’ configuration also allows arriving domestic travelers to deplane directly into the terminals.
  • A duty free store located next to SJC’s international gates offers travelers the choice of premium-brand wines, spirits and tobacco products, chocolates and high-end merchandise. All travelers are welcome to shop in the store. International passengers showing a boarding pass and passport enjoy tax- and duty-free shopping while domestic passengers can purchase all merchandise, except alcohol and tobacco products, with all duty and taxes payable.

Despite these innovative ways to service a growing number of flights and passengers within SJC’s relatively narrow footprint and 28 gates, the airport and airlines collaborated on building two additional gates in Terminal B. Gates 29 and 30 will open in fall 2017, reducing passengers’ footsteps between security screening and deplaning, and offering more gate scheduling flexibility.

Tech and art: A winning formula for serving Silicon Valley  

SJC’s facilities continue to inspire awe in passengers. A combination of tech innovations and inspiring public art elicit a “wow factor” from all who travel through SJC.

Tech-savvy travelers are short on time and need to remain productive while on the road. They’re also very eager to utilize technology offered at SJC to get to their flight, whether it be self-service ticketing, check-in and bag drop or electronic boarding pass readers.

Subscribers to trusted traveler programs such as TSA Pre-Check and CLEAR for expedited security screening continue to grow at SJC.

Power Suites, where travelers can work quietly and productively, gate seating with electric outlets, and free and fast Wi Fi with no sign-in required are located throughout the terminals, allowing passengers to remain connected prior to boarding.   

For arriving international travelers, the Mobile Passport Control app allows eligible passengers to fill out the US Customs declaration information online and send to Customs before processing. Also available in International Arrivals are kiosks for Automated Passport Control and Global Entry, a subscription-based service. International travelers and those who greet them are now enjoying a recent expansion and renovation of the International Arrivals Building, an important investment given the significant increase in flights beyond US borders.

Adding to the impactful travel experience at SJC are customer service robots and public art installations, including Hands and Space Observer, which offer a sense of place for our region.

The SJC team and facilities reflect the Silicon Valley culture that “anything is possible” given hi-tech, much of which has been researched and designed in the Airport’s “backyard.” SJC maintains its focus on continuous improvement through innovation, the solution to achieving the team’s shared vision of transforming how Silicon Valley travels.

Learn more about SJC at www.FlySJC.com, and follow and engage with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.



ACI Insights includes content provided by third parties including airports, members of ACI, World Business Partners, and others. The views expressed and/or presented by these third parties are their own and may not represent or reflect with the views of ACI, its management,  Board, or members.

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