The Last Walks on the Tarmac

It's the end of an era in San Jose this week

By Lori Preuitt
|  Monday, Jun 28, 2010  |  Updated 4:59 PM PDT
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A Lousy Time to Build a Great Airport?

Getty Images

NEW YORK - APRIL 29: A passsenger waits in a lounge overlooking a tarmac at LaGuardia Airport on April 29, 2010 in New York, New York. Beginning today a new Department of Transportation rule will fine airlines for keeping passengers on grounded planes for more than three hours and they will be required to give passengers food and water after two hours on the tarmac. Airlines who do not comply with the new rule face civil penalties of up to $27,500 per passenger, which would be paid to the government, not to passengers. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

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Passengers using Delta, Alaska or US Airways today or tomorrow will be the last people ever to walk on the tarmac at Mineta San Jose International Airport.

After Tuesday, old Terminal C will be closed forever as it awaits the wrecking ball.

The tarmac has been seen as a walk of shame for some who hoped to impress clients or job candidates upon their arrival at the airport in the heart of Silicon Valley. Instead of a high-tech Mecca, they would find an old staircase and a tarmac.   Not the glitz they were going for.

True San Jose-ans see it another way.  The walk on the tarmac is very "San Jose" to them.  It shows people who live here are grounded and not flashy.

Either way, the walk on Terra Firma will be history come Wednesday.

If you are taking the red-eye to Atlanta Tuesday, you will be in the last group of people to walk on to a plane.  If you are flying home from Salt Lake City landing at 10:41 p.m. you also hold a ticket that will bring an end of an era.

SJC’s Terminal C was built in 1965.  It will soon be a parking lot. 

Come Wednesday morning passengers on Delta and Alaska will move on over to the brand new Terminal B.  US Airways moves to Terminal A.

Lori Preuitt is one of those San Jose-ans who will miss the tarmac. It felt like a walk back in time, when getting on a plane was a really big deal.

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