Monterey Airport offers new post-TSA outdoor waiting area

MONTEREY — Monterey Regional Airport is offering travelers waiting to depart a chance to relax outside, take in a last look at the bay, and enjoy the sea breeze, now that it has opened its post-security courtyard adjacent to Gate 1 of the facility.

Mike La Pier, airport executive director, said that the area is open to everyone who has gone through the Transportation Security Administration checkpoint on their way to fly out of the Monterey Regional Airport.

The outdoor space is equipped with seats and tables, while providing views of the jets, runway and Monterey Bay in the distance. The courtyard is an extension of the interior waiting areas and affords those who prefer to wait in the open a place to soak in the Monterey Peninsula climate before jetting away. There is also a place for traveler’s four-legged furry companions to take care of business too.

The building was designed to use the area as a gate but it was never used and never enclosed.

“We looked at that space as an opportunity to do two things,” said La Pier.

The first was to rehabilitate an underutilized area to expand seating for awaiting-departure travelers as the airport has become busier, and second and more importantly, to help with the Monterey experience by capitalizing on the favorable climate, he said.

“It’s unique to go through security and then be able to sit and wait outside,” said La Pier. “It’s a cool addition to the experience of the Monterey Airport.”

The courtyard is on the far left side of the facility outside Gate 1, accessible only through one doorway as it is a secure area. It currently has about 35 seats creating a lounge feeling where people can take food and drink they brought with them from home or the snack bar in the secure area inside. It is a self-serve, self-maintained patio with receptacles for people’s trash and overseen by the facility’s custodial staff to make sure it stays tidy.

La Pier said that the airport is working with the operator of the snack bar to provide wait service in the future. Though the snack bar does offer liquor, it cannot be taken past a certain point, and is not allowed out in the open courtyard yet.

“We’re seeing a number of people out there and they’re enjoying the experience, but we’ve had no feedback either way,” said La Pier, who added that the outdoor wait area has only been open less than a week.

The secured outdoor patio has a pet area in a far corner with artificial turf, pickup bag station, and a place to dispose of pet waste.

As more people discover the accommodation and begin using it, airport staff encourage travelers to be mindful of the status of their flight to ensure on-time boarding and departure.

La Pier said the same public address system that is used inside is connected to the courtyard area so people can hear when there is a call for boarding and all other pre-boarding announcements.

There are five gates at the Monterey Regional Airport and the outdoor secure waiting area outside Gate 1 is a walk from the opposite end where Gate 5 is situated so in addition to the public address system keeping awaiting travelers abreast of their flights, the Monterey Regional Airport will be posting a QR code, or quick response code, a type of two-dimensional bar code used to provide easy access to online information through the digital camera on a smartphone or tablet.

The QR code will come in handy by connecting the user to the airport’s flight information system for the timely monitoring of a flight’s progress and status for those who can’t quite make out what is being said over a public address system.

The Monterey Regional Airport’s new outdoor post-security-check waiting area is bringing another option to those who would rather wait in the open air instead of an enclosed space, said La Pier.

Contributed by local news sources

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