Even the Chairs Are High Tech at New Airport

SJC is ready for its close-up to show off the $1.3 billion renovation

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    NEWSLETTERS

    This weekend, thousands of people toured the new Mineta San Jose International Airport terminal and they didn't need a ticket.    The airport worked it out with TSA to allow pre-registered guests to get through security for a sneak peak.

    The $1.3 billion terminal features great art, 200-foot-long skylights and eateries distinct to the South Bay.

    The only complaint came from folks who noticed a lack of moving walkways.   You definitely need comfortable shoes if you are flying out of San Jose.  The moving walkways were planned but eventually eliminated after the economic downturn. Most everyone seemed quite impressed with the open, airy space.
         
    Airport officials say the improvements are a long term investment and hope the makeover will attract more flights, passengers and carriers.

    One of the little known facts at the new and improved terminal comes in a very ordinary looking object.

    Those banks of chairs you will be sitting on while waiting for your flight in the new Terminal B are something quite special.

    They are called the "air chair" and SJC is the first in the nation to use them.  If you want to impress your fellow passengers while waiting for a flight the technical name is Zenky Air Chair.

    The seats secretly double as a ventilation system.  You wouldn't know it while sitting on them because they are designed to hide the concourse air vents.  

    Instead of circulating air from the high high ceilings of the airport, San Jose is pumping it from the bottom up.  The chair provides fresh air directly to folks from below each seat. Who knows? You might even get a little extra energy boost from it.

    It is much more energy efficient this way because most people need ventilated air between five and eight feet.  Why circulate above that?

    The chairs also have power outlets in the armrests for your laptop, iPad, PS3, Blackberry, Droid or anything else you want to charge while waiting for your flight.

    Don't everybody crowd in, there are 1,200 of them.  That's plenty of both air and power to go around.

    The new terminal will be in full service Wednesday.

    The grand opening also means the final end of Terminal C.  The last flights out of there are scheduled Tuesday evening.  If you are taking the red eye to Atlanta or coming home through Salt Lake City June 29, you will be the last folks to take the slow walk on a tarmac to and from your airplane.   After that comes the wrecking ball.