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Bay Area Airports Decked Out and Ready for Super Bowl Influx

Passengers will find super-sized NFL graphics at Mineta San Jose International Airport. (Photo: Mineta San Jose International Airport)

San Francisco airports have taken unusual steps to prepare for the crush of visitors coming to town for the big game.

Authorities at Bay Area airports are determined to be ready for high passenger volumes, heavy private jet traffic and a few nefarious elements that are expected to accompany Super Bowl 50. Airports near Levi’s Stadium have spent countless hours preparing for potential pitfalls on Super Bowl weekend, but officials say they have some fun stuff in store as well.

In preparation for the big game, San Francisco airports have dusted off a piece of advice that has become a Super Bowl weekend staple. Passengers traveling through area airports for the big game are being asked to observe a 5-4-3-2-1 rule when heading out to catch a flight. Flyers are urged to check out of hotel rooms five hours before departure, return rental cars four hours ahead of flights, check in at the airport three hours in advance, pass through security at least two hours before their EDT and be at the gate one hour before the flight leaves.

Airport and airline officials say they will be doing their part to make things run smoothly as well. In addition to beefing up staff levels and working with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to prepare for the influx of Super Bowl flyers, San Francisco International Airport (SFO), Oakland International Airport (OAK) and San Jose International Airport (SJC) are setting aside space for hundreds of corporate jets expected to head to the Bay Area in advance of Super Bowl 50 on February 7.

“For the departure activity, we’re working with the TSA and airlines to open ticket counters and security checkpoints much earlier than usual and many airlines are actually planning to remain open 24 hours from Sunday into Monday to keep customers moving,” SFO spokesman Doug Yakel told USA Today.

SFO officials will also be on alert the unfortunate illicit trade that accompanies large events like the Super Bowl. The airport conducted training sessions to help airport and airline personnel identify the telltale signs of human sex trafficking. According to the airport, the training was specifically “timed to address the potential for trafficking activity related to Super Bowl 50.

Not all of the preparations are focused on potential Super Bowl headaches. The Super Bowl 50 Host Committee has planned an a celebration at SFO to welcome fans. The “Nations Game” exhibit at the Bay Area’s largest airport imports some of the best memorabilia and historic artifacts from the National Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, including the helmet-shaped 49ers cart that became an icon at Candlestick Park.

[Lead Photo: Mineta San Jose International Airport]

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