SFO's Harvey Milk Terminal 'state-of-the-art' upgrade near completion

San Francisco International Airport officials called reporters in to see the final phase of the $2.5 billion Harvey Milk Terminal 1, which goes public June 11.

The entire airport has been recreating itself for the last four decades and is almost finished.

The newest section is sure to be a passenger pleaser. Terminal 1's renovations, now complete a decade-long rebirth of what was SFO's oldest terminal, is now fully ready for the 21st century. Everything is state of the art; designed to move passengers and their baggage through the security and baggage check processes 30 percent faster. 

"This section actually gives us a new ticket counter space for two airlines. It gives us five more security checkpoint lanes on their own dedicated mezzanine level, and also we get two additional aircraft gates," said SFO Public Information Officer Doug Yakel.

The magic begins with high-tech baggage self-check, far faster than traditional bag check-ins with no compromise of security. More tech wizardry at the security checkpoints; automated screening that's 30% faster and also with no compromises. 


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"Rather than having to take multiple tubs to put all your belongings into, we're gonna use one large tray that has everything: your carry-on, your shoes, your belt; all goes into a single tray," said Yakel.

Hand inspections will happen if the carry-on contents trip an array of high-tech sensors. Once through security, all terminals are now interconnected so folks can wander around during long layovers, early check-ins or delays. 

"It makes it easier for travelers to connect from one airline to another if those two different airlines are in two different terminals," said Yakel.

Whether passengers are leaving or arriving, as long as they're behind the security gates, they can travel anywhere, to any terminal in the airport without having to re-clear security, a huge advantage of all the airport's many amenities, including airport-wide museums, spas, yoga, dining and shopping. 

"We've really invested a lot in things to do post-security; things to do before you get onto your flight," Yakel said. 

As SFO celebrates the new terminal, it also celebrates its 97th birthday in May.