When I biked through San Jose International Airport (SJC) last Friday morning, the economy parking lot was about 50% full. This morning, the economy lot is 90% full.
As an alternative, VTA reminds holiday travelers that you can take the free Airport Flyer bus from Santa Clara Caltrain and the Metro Center light rail station. Keep in mind that you can park for only three days at the most at VTA park and ride lots. The Airport Flyer buses are equipped with bike racks.
Note also that the Airport Flyer runs every 15 minutes to 30 minutes during the day, which translates into a potentially long wait and a little anxiety for you if you time things a little too closely. Use Google Transit to help optimize your travel time.
Perhaps this is a silly suggestion for holiday travel, but if you’re traveling light, biking to SJC is fairly easy, especially if you can make your way to the Guadalupe River Trail. It’s only four miles by bike from downtown San Jose to Terminal B.
The first twelve seconds of the below video shows the approach to Terminal B on the Guadalupe River Trail from the north (i.e. from the direction of Alviso or Milpitas). After that, SJ Rides demonstrates a ride to the “Hands” parking garage in front of Terminal B from about Coleman Avenue.
To access the terminals, you turn off of the trail at Airport Parkway. Go left (as shown in the video) for Terminal B. For Terminal A, it’s probably easiest to cross from the employee parking to the sidewalk and turn right.
These directions work for walking, too. I frequently see people — both airport employees and business travelers with rolling luggage — walk to and from the terminals from the path.
Terminal B serves Southwest and Alaska Airlines. International flights and all of the other airlines come through Terminal A. They’re not shown in this video but the Terminal A bike racks are left of the vehicle entry area to the Terminal A Parking Garage (now called Hourly Lot 2) and in the area next to the exit doors at the south end of Terminal A baggage claim.
I’m told people have left bikes there overnight without them getting jacked, but you probably don’t want to park your “good” bike there. Keep in mind that since I’ve posted this video, our local tweakers and thieves now know where to find a nice supply of bikes to steal.