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Feb '24 Southwest Flight Photo Trip Report + San Jose Mineta TSA Tips (SAN-SJC)

Aviator C

Greetings Community Southwest:




SoCalFlyer97 took a roundtrip flight to the Silicon Valley to take care of some business there. This was a day trip from San Diego to San Jose Mineta and back, purchased and booked during last September's WOW50 sale. During my return trip, I had some extra time to take a stroll through SJC's airside, end-to-end and have some travel tips for you if you're thinking about trying to bypass long lines to your gate via the neighboring non-Southwest terminal. But before I share this, here's the rundown:



At SAN, it looks the Southwest SAN 2024 Rally was here!






SAN's construction of the new Terminal 1 is coming along nicely. More photos to come on my next Trip Report.




Outbound Flight:
Plane: 737-700, N930WN
84% Full, On Time
Preboards: 4



Flying high above the clouds...



Passing by Monterey Bay during the initial descent. Although there's no SW terminal anywhere near this beautiful part of the Golden State, Santa Cruz Metro Route 17 bridges the downtown San Jose train station to this bay via an hourlong bus ride. I might be able check this area out one day!



What's that I see upon pulling into the gate? Plane N946WN, the Louisiana One stops over at SJC. This aircraft is a member of the 737-700 family. Where is it now?



Had some time before my appointment to get work done in the terminal. Massive crowds filled the Southwest gates and concourses; a little walk over to Gate 17 gave me a quiet spot to work.



If you've got upcoming travel in the Bay Area and want access to public transit, I would get one of these! They also have an e-version of this that works for both Apple and Google Pay!



My limo ride to my final destination, VTA Line 60. Line 60 feeds into both the VTA Rail System and the BART. Took care of my business and had some time left over to explore the area. 


Here's some shots of my main Ground Transportation provider for the day, riding along the VTA train:










It will not be a full ride, so feel free to spread out!








Back at SJC, I arrived well ahead of time for my return flight. I took the time to explore the airside and have some travel tips if you plan on accessing your gate via the non-SW terminal at SJC to bypass the crowds and long lines at the SW Terminal. SJC comprises of two terminals linked together by one long concourse corridor airside, spanning approximately an entire mile in length:




On the landside, outdoor pedestrian sidewalks and an airport shuttle link the two:




Southwest serves the southern Terminal B and the TSA checkpoint there has been known to get busy at times, even the PreCheck lane. Whenever I utilize SJC, I access my gate through the northern Terminal A as I have no checked bags and the TSA wait times are usually much shorter and less crowded, but this solution may not be for everybody. The main obstacle for many travelers may be the excessive walking required as SJC does not have moving walkways or tramways in between the terminals airside. Doing a milelong airport hike with carry-on bags may be a challenge for some. Anyway, my return flight is out of Gate 32 in the southernmost area of the airport. My carry-on is a standard school backpack. Let's go through Terminal A and do the walk!



As predicted, Terminal A's TSA Checkpoint waits for passengers!


Another tip: Sometimes when the TSA Checkpoint has slow demand, officers will keep the PreCheck Lane open but will merge the X-Ray inspection lane with Standard Screening. In those cases, the agent at the ID Check booth will give the passenger a paper PreCheck ticket to give to the officer to go through PreCheck's metal detector instead of the body scan machine.


The tip: If you have PreCheck, make sure the officer who is facilitating the receiving end of the X-Ray machine sees your PreCheck ticket as they will mark your luggage tray with a separate PreCheck identifier. That will signal to the X-Ray inspector that the tray going through the machine is PreCheck; otherwise any 311 bags or laptops left packed away under PreCheck's benefits but not properly marked will be pulled for secondary.


After clearing TSA, I end up along SJC's airside "Main Street", the milelong concourse linking all gates of the airport. I checked out Terminal A airside and started my hike toward my gate which is on the opposite end of this walkway, all the way in the Interim Terminal Facility. That's going to be about a mile walk but I need the exercise. Some points of interest that I found along the way:



A different piece of airport artwork in Terminal A near Gate 8...SJC's Rolling Ball Sculpture by George Rhoads, 1990. They have a larger version of this at the Tech Interactive science center in downtown San Jose; I'll have to check this out on a future visit.



Headed through the airside connector to the international gates starting with Gate 15.


Passing by Gate 16. The glassed hallway to the right of the seating area is the international arrivals corridor that feeds into CBP Border Inspection Station.



Welcome to Terminal B!


E-Cloud by Nik Hafermaas, Dan Goods and Aaron Koblin, 2010. Located near Gate 22.


Heading into the Interim Terminal Facility where my gate is. Gate 29 marks the beginning of this temporary extension. 


It took me about 20-25 minutes to make the milelong walk from the other end; it can be done in about 15 minutes via a powerwalk. As mentioned, there are no moving walkways at SJC; if long walking is not for you, I would stick with waiting out the TSA checkpoint wait at Terminal B through the Southwest Terminal.



Here's an inside look at the Interim Terminal area at the Gates 29/30 area which was not in use at the time of my passage. I call this area the "Costco Terminal" because of the lack of a ceiling.






Further down the hallway...







Shortcut to landside and Terminal B baggage claim for arrivals.


Long story short, this section was built to quickly address gate capacity issues related to growth at SJC while officials work to build a permanent extension. One interesting fact is the jet bridges in this section were designed and built to support the future permanent build, which means they won't be demolished when the temporary extension goes; they'll just be elevated.


This nice looking bathroom doesn't look so temporary nor "warehouse" themed:





Not sure if this will be "raised up" too as part of the permanent terminal.



Return Flight:
Plane: 737-700, N202WN
86% Full, On Time
Preboards: 2



A nice view of Mount Baldy upon arrival into SoCal and initial descent.


Hola to everybody at LGB!...


...and at SNA...


and of course, SAN!

At the time of this post, I had also completed my trip from SAN-LAS for business as I posted earlier this year.

Stay tuned for that report! By the way, I have just one remaining WOW50 flight to take and that will be very soon! After that, I'll be done bloviating about that good old promo!

Prior Trip Reports:


More Info on the SAN-SJC Flight Route:


Safe Travels!



Re: Feb '24 Southwest Flight Photo Trip Report + San Jose Mineta TSA Tips (SAN-SJC)


Thanks for sharing your experience with the Community, @SoCalFlyer97!


We were, indeed, in SAN for one of Southwest's three rallies. I had never been to San Diego before, and I'll definitely be back ... probably once all the updates are finished. 😊

Re: Feb '24 Southwest Flight Photo Trip Report + San Jose Mineta TSA Tips (SAN-SJC)

Aviator A

It's nice to have someone who REALLY likes to fly in the community.


Thanks for another fun trip report, SoCalFlyer