Give your suggestions for the new Salt Lake City airport renovation

The Salt Lake City airport is going to be renovating the entire structure, or as they like to put it “redevelopment”.

Current Salt Lake City airport

Current Salt Lake City airport

The entire project will be in phases starting in 2014 and being completed in 2023 including a new rental car service facility, a new parking garage, a terminal roadway system, and a new terminal replacing the old terminal 1 and 2.

New Salt Lake City terminal

New Salt Lake City terminal

In 2013, the airport commissioned a public outreach study for what the public wanted. This was their feedback:

Reflect natural surroundings
-Bring the outdoors in
-Wood, red rock, granite
-Stone, glass, copper
Windows and natural light
-Views of the mountains
-Tall walls and huge windows
Color and light of Utah
-Warm colors
-Sage green,rust,sky blues
-Electric outlets
-USB ports
-Free Wi-fi
-Rental cars accessible
-Close in parking
-Light rail access
-Efficient check in
More space and comfort
–Larger restroom stalls
–Large meet and greet areas
–Larger screening areas
-Wide moving walkways
–More concession options
–Variety of seating options
–Quiet seating areas

I asked Gary Leff of the View from the Wing blog last year for his suggestions on the renovation. His suggestions were:

*As quick as possible from front of the terminal to gate. IAD is awful. DFW is pretty good. Basically gates right behind checkin/security. You can do that even with a big airport when you have lots of land…
*Design with plenty of space for security, lots of space for checkpoints, plenty of space for baggage screening behind checkin so that customers don’t have to check bags and then schlepp them over to TSA. Don’t turn TSA into a major choke point like at MIA.
*A must is the ability to connect airside between all gates. Ok, except for international arrivals.. Singapore does that best (probably followed by BKK and maybe then ICN) but US government rules won’t allow anything like it.
*Don’t require too much walking. HKG arrivals are the worst. I’ve had some terribly long walks with ORD international arrivals. MIA can be ludicrous with international arrivals.
*Food: Import Beauvedin wine bar from MIA (yes, SLC does need a wine bar…), Dickey’s barbecue from DFW, Tortas Fronteras from ORD.
*Don’t do shared shuttles. Don’t do a rental car center. I know they won’t listen to me on this, but I’ll say it anyway. Let me add that anything landside that requires a train is a very bad idea.
*Walkable parking.
*Hotel connected to terminal like DFW, DTW (and not as convenient but ORD). Even YYZ’s Sheraton works, an I guess so does the Pittsburgh Hyatt.
*I say all of these things without reference to the SLC market. Perhaps the airport won’t support a wine bar. 😉 Perhaps they just aren’t going to support a ton of airport overnights, there’s not that much international traffic there although I suspect there’s plenty of long drives to/from. So if nothing else I have one final suggestion – regardless of market conditions — that any airport would benefit from: Go visit JFK. Then do everything the opposite.

So I have to ask, dear readers, what should the Salt Lake City renovation include based on your travels?


  1. SLC has Vino volo (wine bar) at the upper entrance to E gates. Copy SFO’s T2 (AA, Virgin): gates circle a big atrium w/ various food options w/ great site lines to multiple gates. DL is 70%+ of market, but most flight ops are Skywest (UT HQ BTW), so mainline to regional should be seamless, especially with the larger regional planes. the plan above looks like lotsa walking to gates, like DTW without the train.

  2. Being a local, SLC is in desperate need of a new airport. Anything would be an improvement over what we have now.

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