San Francisco International Airport / SFO

San Francisco International Airport / SFO (Photo credit: Jack Yaco)

SFO To Install 'Smart Glass' In New Terminal One

Jenna Lane
April 25, 2018 - 3:08 pm

SAN FRANCISICO (KCBS Radio) - San Francisco International Airport is joining others across the country in installing high-tech windows that are supposed to make passengers more comfortable. As KCBS Radio's Jenna Lane reports, comfortable passengers tend to spend more money on airport concessions.

Maybe your flight is delayed or maybe you got through security faster than expected and you've got a while to wait. This is when the concessions in airports make money. When smart glass was installed at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, alcohol sales shot up by 80% percent. Apparently because customers were more comfortable lingering when the glare and heat were reduced.

SFO is spending $3 million on smart glass and the new Terminal One. Spokesman Doug Yakel says it was primarily an environmental and energy savings decision.

In terminals with tons of windows, airports spend less on lighting but also want to help keep the facility cool, says Yakel. "So having smart glass helps us to do that because it strikes that fine balance between letting in the right amount of light but not too much that the building starts getting too hot."

He says the renovation of Terminal 2, a few years ago proved that comfortable passengers do in fact spend more.

The new Terminal One is set to open in phases starting next summer.