The San Francisco International Airport (SFO) today opened Harvey Milk Terminal 1, the first airport terminal in the world named after a member of the LGBTQ+ community. The HKD18.72 billion (USD2.4 billion) facility sets a new standard for an extraordinary travel experience. Harvey Milk was the first openly gay elected public official in California. He served on San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors for 11 months before he and Mayor George Moscone were assassinated in 1978.

Airport Director Ivar C. Satero stated: “Harvey Milk Terminal 1 sets a new benchmark for the airport experience, and serves as a tribute to the life and legacy of a pioneering civil rights leader. For millions of people around the world, SFO is the first impression of the San  Francisco Bay Area, and Harvey Milk Terminal 1 showcases what makes our region great: a spirit of innovation, a focus on the environment, and most importantly, a commitment to   diversity, equality, and inclusion. I hope travelers around the world are inspired by the story of Harvey Milk in the terminal at SFO that bears his name.”

Nine days before he died, Milk recorded an  audio will  to be ‘played only in the event of his death by assassination’:

“My election gave somebody else – one more person – hope. After all, that’s what it’s about. It’s not about personal gain. It’s not about ego. It’s not about power. It’s about  giving those young people out there…hope. You gotta give them hope.” – Harvey Milk

The focal point of the new terminal is the exhibit,  Harvey Milk: Messenger of Hope , honoring the civil rights leader and his impact on LGBTQ+ rights. Spanning nearly 120 metres (400 feet), it includes 100 dramatically blown-up images of Milk – many crowdsourced from the public – as well as art, mementos and ephemera.

Harvey Milk Terminal 1 is designed to better connect passengers with the environment beyond their gate. World-class amenities include:

  • Floor-to-ceiling windows that darken and lighten according to sunlight; circular openings in the ceiling – called oculi – that let light in
  • Gate areas fashioned as lounge rooms, with 2,134 places to sit down on 34 types of seating including leather, plastic, metal and fabric chairs, sofas and banquettes
  • The first ever airport multi-use all gender toilette and an animal relief room
  • Site-specific art including 14 new public art works to engage travellers during wait times
  • Self-energizing elevators, moving walkways and Go Slow escalators that reduce the use of grid electricity
  • An energy efficient baggage carrier system (Individual Carrier System or ICS), the first of its kind in the United States

San Francisco International Airport is banning the sale of single-use plastic water bottles. The unprecedented move at one of the major airports in the US will take effect Aug. 20. The new rule will apply to airport restaurants, cafes and vending machines. Travellers who need plain water will have to buy refillable aluminum or glass bottles if they don’t bring their own.

As a department of San Francisco’s municipal government, the airport is following an ordinance approved in 2014 banning the sale of plastic water bottles on city-owned property. The shift away from plastics is also part of a broader plan to slash net carbon emissions and energy use to zero and eliminate most landfill waste by 2021, said airport spokesman Doug Yakel. But, considering the approximately 4 million plastic water bottles sold per year at the airport, it may be more difficult for vendors to adhere to the water bottle ban. Whether vendors out of compliance will be penalized is unclear, but Yakel said the airport hopes that “won’t be necessary.” SFO vendors already are required to provide only compostable single-use foodware, including to-go containers, condiment packets, straws and utensils.

Shops at the airports have adjusted easily to these requirements because of the increased availability of suppliers producing such products, said Michael Levine, CEO of the company that oversees Napa Farms Market, a store selling grab-and-go fare in Terminal 2 and International Terminal G.

More information can be found here.




About the Author

Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist based in Toronto with a focus on tourism, lifestyle, entertainment and community issues. He has written several travel articles and has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He’s willing to take on any assignments of interest, attend parties with free booze, listen to rants, and travel the world in search of the great unknown. He’s eager to discover the new, remember the past, and look into the future.