SFO Groundtime

I arrived at SFO at 6 AM on a Sunday morning, plenty of time for my 8:42 flight to Phoenix Sky Harbor. Or so I thought.

I leisurely had breakfast having made it through security in about ten minutes, not bad for a Sunday morning. Plenty of time to catch my flight.

After breaking the fast, I passed by the departure board and my flight was rescheduled for 11:30 AM because of a “ Crew Connection”. I later found out that our crew was delayed in Reno, Nevada due to inclement weather.

Now I had three extra hours to spend (for a flight lasting an hour and a half!) at San Francisco International Airport!

I definitely got some steps in wandering in the terminal-mall that is SFO. I parked in a comfy swivel chair and people watched, which is first class at SFO. I attempted to add a story to those passing by, very much under the influence of Barbara Kingsolver. (My travel read was her first novel The Bean Trees, which is set in Tucson, Arizona.)

What to do? Sketch of course! Airplanes parked on the tarmac are very obliging sketch subjects. They sit still.

As I was sketching the tails of a line of United planes, an arriving flight pulled in front of my subjects. Good thing I had inked most of my sketch. Planes do move after all. Just not the ways a sketcher may want them to.

I got in two sketches at SFO until I finally boarded my United flight to PHX.


Airport Sketching (SFO and ORD)

There is always a lot of downtime at an airport. I am the type of traveller that always arrives early, hence the downtime.

Sometimes I read or listen to music but I always try to do an airport sketch.

On my recent trip to the Windy City, I sketched the airplane that would be taking me there. In this case it was United Airlines largest plane in their fleet: the Boeing 777-222A. This plane has a capacity of 28 first class passengers and 336 economy. It’s cruising speed is 639 mph and we made the journey from SFO to ORD in about three and half hours.

I was told that you don’t mess around with Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. O’Hare is the fourth busiest airport in the world with 54 million passengers passing through in 2021. It had the moniker of the “busiest square mile in the world”.

So I headed out of Chicago for the 45 minute journey to O’Hare with plenty of time to spare. Even though it was a weekday morning, the security checkpoint lines took almost half and hour to navigate. There is a reason you don’t mess with O’Hare. It’s better to be early then to miss your flight.

A bar with a view. This is the view, sans foreground glass, for my O’Hare spread (featured sketch).

I found a window seat at a pizza restaurant (deep dish of course), opened my sketchbook and started to sketch the gate and airplane before me.