Yesterday San Francisco International Airport hosted a Community Day to introduce the region to the newly remodeled Boarding Area E inside Terminal 3. This new boarding area for United Airlines takes tech to a higher level and has tons of family-friendly features to keep passengers occupied and relaxed during their travels.
From the moment we entered the area I noticed the light, airy feel that immediately created a relaxed vibe. Unless you're running to the gate you'll probably be more chill here than in any other airport area I've ever been in. If you need to relax even more there's a small yoga room just down the ramp for quiet contemplation.
Of course I was most interested in what would make this area convenient and comfortable for families traveling with small children. SFO already does a great job with the changing tables and more, but I found a few additional enhancements. First, several of the stalls in the restrooms are large enough to take a stroller in with you-not just the handicapped ones.
There's a nursery next to the entrance of the Women's Restroom (as we noted in our write up of Terminal 2, the modern and comfy home of Virgin Airlines, you just have to call to get the code and let yourself in), but inside the bathroom itself there is a dressing room for anyone that needs to change before or after a flight and doesn't want to risk dropping anything in a toilet. Brilliant. There's also a nice set of comfy chairs near the dressing room that are perfect for nursing or rocking a little someone to sleep, and they are far enough from the restrooms to avoid the gross factor of breastfeeding in or near a stall.
The rest of the terminal is equally comfortable. There are several new-to-the-airport dining choices, and I noticed Klein's Deli even has a few kids menu options (grilled cheese or PB&J) if you're into that. There isn't a children's play area, but there is an amazing Spirogyrate art installation that is mesmerizing-I saw tons of kids playing on it at Community Day and just as many adults were drawn in as well. The art is an integral part of this area.
Lastly for parents, there are plenty of places to park yourself and a stroller besides just gate seats. If your flight is delayed and you want to stretch out there are tons of tables with benches and chairs, lots of high backed lounging seats, and I heard there are 375 electrical outlets in the area, so the dreaded hunt for a place to charge your devices is done!
Although we haven't flown United in a while, this new gate area is more than enough to interest me in using them for an upcoming trip. The area officially opens for business on Tuesday, so if you're flying United from SFO keep your fingers crossed that you're leaving out of Boarding Area E and enjoy the trip!