SLC is pretty easy. Like I said I find people in SLC
to be pretty friendly, I've never had a run-in with security at SLC
, and the Microtel Inn is a great place to spot next to the perimeter fence without any cops ever coming over to question you.
But about the airport itself, TSA
's been very forgiving, I havent encountered anyone rude there. Like most airports you can't go airside without a ticket, that's normal.
Parking is easy, there's a huge parking lot that is 1/2 surrounded by the airport terminals. You can park anywhere and the entrance to the terminals is just a short walk away. There's three terminals, but they're not really separated, it's quick and easy to get from one end of the airport to the other. Also, once you're past security, you can go anywhere you like in the concourses, A gates to D gates. All the concourses are connected past the security point, so unlike LAX
, you dont have to go back through security to get to another part of the airport.
Eateries: Lots. SLC
has lots of dining options at the airport. Most of the food places in ther airport close at 10 o clock, but you can have a nice breakfast anywhere in SLC
airport, and there's numerous cafes and coffee shops as well. I've had some english muffins and croissants from this one cafe in the B concourse one time, delicious. They've got the regular fast food like burger king as well. And a starbucks. (I think). Almost all of the eateries, cafes and coffee shops have windows that look out onto the ramp, you can do a bit of spotting while sitting down to eat if you like, at almost all points in the airport.
has tons of windows, tons of angles, if the sun is in a bad spot go to another part of the terminal and it'll be perfect. Long corridors of windows that are great for spotting in and Concourse A is perfect in that takeoffs from runway 16L take off right towards you, and fly roughly overhead. Excellent for takeoff shots, though there isn't much in the way of food and drinks in concourse A (it's the smallest concourse). But the main area of the airport is a very short walk away, by the United gates, so it's no big deal.
is comfortable too, it has this very nice feeling about it. Not in the least bit gloomy. And of course thw Wasatch mountains form a very tall backdrop to everything, it makes the whole surroundings very beautiful imo. Sunrises at SLC
are amazing, because of those mountains, the valley stays cool and dark while the sky blazes with colours each morning, and then light finally creeps down the mountains. You should see some early morning shots of SWA tails at the B gates I've shot from concourse A. Incredible. And I've noticed that the skies are much more blue in the mornings at SLC
than they are in California, which seems to have more muted sky colours. (Sounds odd, but it's true, the sky is bluer in Utah than in California.)
The weather is always 10 degrees warmer in winter than the cities to the north in Idaho... a bonus. In the summer, temperatures get hot, but not sweltering. Cloudy weather happens often, but not too often, and some impressive thunderstorms have shown up from time to time, I've flown through them twice on approach to SLC
, very fun, view's amazing. Especially amazing on the ground since most storms tend to form south of town, and if the jets are approaching from that direction you can catch photos of airplanes with lighting in the background....if you're quick on the button.
Takes some practice and the right conditions.
Doesn't get humid very often, the lake does make the air a bit moist sometimes, but in the cool morning air that moisture feel just magnificent. One of my favourite places to be is at SLC
airport just before dawn. You have to feel the air to belikeve it, and the early flights taking off into an white/orange/turquiose sky, you fall in love with it.
The only drawback, really, is that the variety of airlines isn't as great as it could be. this is due to the dominance of Delta and Skywest at the airport. If you want to see other airlines, go to Concourse B where United and Southwest reside, or Concourse A, where Frontier, America West, Northwest, American, and Continental make themselves home. With DL
scaling back flights, maybe one of these others will expand their SLC
operations...I hope. you'll also see an Aeromexico MD
-80 at D gates on occasion, or at least you used to, I didn't get to check this last flight. United and America West Express CRJ's as well.
On the eastern end of the airport there are the Utah Air National Guard KC
-135s parked on the ramp, and the occasional fighter jet as well. Tons upon tons of FBO's on the eastern side of the airport also, lots of private aircraft. All private aircraft, military, and occasionally cargo flights use runway 17/35 for takeoff and landing. Most commercial traffic stick to the two large parallel runways. Fedex and UPS have a whole cargo ramp, and their jets can be seen very large and very clear from the freeways. I often see a Fedex DC-10 parked on the ramp. A lovely sight now that everyone else has gotten rid of their -10s.
is incredibly spotter friendly, if you enjoy spotting.
Anything else you'd like to know?
Also, about city size: I guess a bigger city can have some advantages like having more to do, and more variety in traffic....but, as far as I'm concerned SLC
is great, there's enough to do, and the benefit is that the town isn't so large as to let crime get out of control, and property rates skyrocket. Housing in SLC
is reasonable, and if you dont want a house there's plenty of apartment buildings nestled in the foothills of the wasatch range with nice views of the whole valley. I'll take a lower crime rate over a higher population anyday.
Also, you can see jets approaching the airport from any and every angle in SLC
. Even in the suburbs far to the south, you'll see jets flying in on approach to the airport. It's quite common to be driving in SLC
and look to your left or right and there is two jets on parallel approach flying beside you (though about a mile away). you can even see the jets all the way up at the university hospitals, way up the hillside. You can quite easily spot from anywhere in SLC
, I've found. And that, really, helps me to stay continually excited about aviation when I'm in SLC
My local airport is nothing. I'm always relieved to be in SLC
, it's a breath of fresh air.