Here's what to know before traveling through SFO. 

By Mike Pomranz
August 06, 2019
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Any semi-frequent flyer knows that they’ll inevitably be offered water during their flight, but for less patient people with greater hydration needs, boarding the plane with your own water bottle is a must. So word of warning: If you’re travelling out of San Francisco International Airport, you may want to come prepared with a water bottle of your own. Starting August 20, SFO will ban vendors from selling water in single-use plastic bottles.

Flyers will still have plenty of options for grabbing some water. SFO says they’ve “installed nearly 100 hydration stations and drinking fountains in all terminals to expand access and encourage passengers to refill their reusable/refillable bottles with delicious filtered Hetch Hetchy water.” (“Hetch Hetchy” is the nearby reservoir, for those not in the Bay Area know.) Additionally, for those who absolutely refuse (or, sure, forget) to bring their own bottle, the airport will also still allow for the sale of water in “recyclable single and multi-use aluminum and glass and BPI-certified compostable” packaging. Finally, the ban only applies to “still, mineral, purified, carbonated or sparkling, and electrolyte-enhanced water;” other beverages will be allowed to be sold in plastic.

“We’re the first airport that we’re aware of to implement this change,” SFO spokesman Doug Yakel told the San Francisco Chronicle. “We’re on the leading edge for the industry, and we want to push the boundaries of sustainability initiatives.” Speaking of which, the plastic water bottle ban is part of a larger initiative from SFO to become “the world’s first zero waste Airport by 2021.”

But for travelers, the practical outcome of the change is that they’ll want to think ahead. And frankly, of all the places to do it, the airport makes perfect sense. You’re already packing and – from passports to bathing suits – have a long list of things you don’t want to forget. Adding a reusable water bottle to the list should easily become second nature.

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