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Editor's note: It’s that time again — time to check in with our top stories. From college towns to good reasons to play hooky, here are five articles that captured our collective attention over the past seven days.

1. San Antonio neighbor booms as 4th fastest-growing U.S. college town, report says. San Marcos' population in 2000 was 36,120; in 2023 the population has nearly doubled to 70,372.

2. Curtains open on San Antonio music school's charming new community space. Sage Music recently finished construction on a beautiful building in Midtown, inserting modern practice spaces and a concert stage.

3. San Antonio International Airport relaxes into rating as the 5th least stressful U.S. airport. Factors that helped determine SAT's rank include the percentage of delayed flights and cancelled flights as of 2022.

4. San Antonio golf course scores title from Texas Monthly as one of the state's best. What sets this course apart, according to editor in chief Dan Goodgame, is its rich history and the challenges it provides for avid golfers.

5. Comedian Adam Sandler chooses San Antonio as only Texas stop on new tour. He played Austin, Houston, and Dallas last February as part of his "Adam Sandler Live" stand-up tour, but they're not getting his new tour.

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San Antonio International Airport relaxes into rating as the 5th least stressful U.S. airport

ol' reliable

With the holiday season just around the corner, flight traffic is about to get even busier nationwide. Lucky for San Antonio, locals can sleep tight the night before their flights, knowing they live in a city with one of the most reliable airports in the U.S.

San Antonio International Airport (SAT) ranked No. 5 in the 2023 MarketWatch study examining the 45 best and worst airports for stress-free travel. Factors that helped determine SAT's rank include the percentage of delayed flights and cancelled flights as of 2022, the average cost of airfare in 2023, and the average security wait times.

The most recent Bureau of Transportation data from 2022 says a vast majority of flights out of San Antonio left on time, with only 17 percent of flights getting delayed. In the analysis of flight cancellations, a mere 2.4 percent of SAT flights got cancelled as of last year.

The airport with the highest percentage of delayed flights is Chicago Midway International Airport (No. 26), with a staggering 36 percent of flights delayed as of 2022. La Guardia Airport (No. 43) in New York had the highest percentage of cancelled flights at 5.4 percent.

In order to avoid the possible headaches from delayed or cancelled flights, Miss Tourist blog founder Yulia Saf recommends passengers purchase travel insurance.

"[Travel insurance] offers a security blanket against unpredictable flight dynamics and unexpected expenses," Saf said in the report. "As a frequent flier, it has not just saved me financially, but the peace of mind it provides is priceless."

Besides having a flight get delayed or cancelled, waiting to get through TSA lines is another stress-inducing part of airport travel. However, SAT is renowned for having short wait times, and MarketWatch says the average security wait time is about 12 minutes.

That's much better than the 45 minutes a traveler would spend at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (No. 19), which had the highest average security wait times out of all airports analyzed in the report.

As for airfare pricing, the average flight in San Antonio costs about $390, which includes both one-way and round-trip domestic flights. The airport with the lowest flight costs is Orlando Sanford International Airport (No. 9 overall) with flights averaging about $148, while travelers at Washington Dulles International Airport (No. 28) pay an average of $495 for their flights.

The top 5 most reliable airports, according to MarketWatch, are:

  • No. 1 – Daniel K. Inouye International Airport
  • No. 2 – San Jose International Airport
  • No. 3 – Fresno Yosemite International Airport
  • No. 4 – Sacramento International Airport
  • No. 5 – San Antonio International Airport

Even as SAT shatters records for the busiest flight traffic this year, that doesn't seem to be putting a strain on the airport's overall performance. Most recently, SAT broke another passenger traffic record for the Labor Day weekend. About 160,000 travelers flew in and out of SAT throughout the holiday period, which is a 10 percent increase from 2022 and a 13 percent more than 2019.

In a release celebrating the airport's rank in the study, San Antonio Airport System (SAAS) Director of Airports Jesus Saenz said more travelers are flying through SAT thanks to its dedication to providing stress-free experiences.

"We’re setting record after record this year,” said Saenz. “Travelers are excited to visit the Alamo City and our community values SAT to travel elsewhere. They know we will get them there and it will be smooth.”

The full report can be found on marketwatch.com.

Photo by Arno Senoner on Unsplash

San Antonio International Airport breaks record for busiest day ever


The San Antonio International Airport (SAT) has shattered its record for the busiest day ever recorded. On July 31, 41,560 travelers flew in and out of the airport, according to the Transport Safety Administration (TSA).

The last record was set on March 9, 2019, when TSA reported approximately 37,998 passengers flying in or out. San Antonio Airport Systems (SAAS) Director of Airports Jesus Saenz said in a release that SAT is experiencing the "best and busiest" summer season ever, with several new records being broken thanks to the high number of travelers.

"We’re so elated to see so many people in our community taking trips, and we’re welcoming people who are visiting San Antonio from all over the world," said Saenz. "Our Airport Ambassadors, who love to give back by volunteering to help people find their way, absolutely love this time of year because we are bustling."

Saenz also praised the high traffic volume as a sign of continuing growth. SAT just broke the record for the busiest June ever reported, with 949,830 inbound and outbound passengers flying at the airport.

Other records that have been set by SAT in 2023 include the busiest May ever reported, and the busiest Fourth of July weekend. Yet things are still moving efficiently.

"We are seeing double-digit growth in capacity (seats) to Mexico and numerous cities across the U.S. compared to July 2019 – which was a record-breaking year for us," said SAAS Chief Air Service Development Officer Brian Pratte. "This is encouraging news for our economy and shows the impact of our targeted efforts at SAT – to expand air service options for our customers both locally and globally."

Throughout June and July 2023, SAT saw a daily average of 34,000 passengers flying in and out, which is a 4,000-traveler increase year-over-year from the same time period in 2022.


San Antonio International Airport crowned Airport of the Year for diversity

flying high

Great news is flying through Alamo City. The San Antonio International Airport (SAT) was just named Airport of the Year by the Airport Minority Advisory Council (AMAC). This high honor highlights the airport's contributions to improving diversity and inclusion among its employees.

SAT was recognized during the 38th Annual AMAC Airport Business Diversity Conference's Catalyst Awards, where airports are spotlighted based on their efforts that further the Council's goals. A few of the prominent AMAC objectives include uplifting "minorities and women" within the aviation and aerospace sectors through "employment and contracting opportunities," according to a release.

Jesus Saenz, Director of Airports for the San Antonio Airport System (SAAS), said SAT's endeavors to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion are "an integral part of the workforce culture" within SAAS.

"AMAC’s mission is in line with our mission to deliver the San Antonio experience through transformation and talent by focusing on our people – both those we hire and the 10 million travelers we serve each year at SAT," Saenz said. "We are so proud of every team member at both SAT and Stinson Municipal Airport."

The San Antonio Airport System (SAAS) instated their Aviation Equity Initiative in 2020, leading to widespread community engagement, and greater involvement with school-age children. The initiative has allowed for more airport tours for historically disadvantaged and marginalized students, while advocating for more youth avian education.

SAAS also put greater focus on inclusionary hiring efforts in 2021, leading to more than half of the 114 employees that were hired or promoted that year being minorities.

SAT's Business Opportunity and Diversity Development (BODD) team was also recognized for their efforts.

More information about the AMAC Airport Business Diversity Conference can be found at amac-org.com.

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San Antonio Airport flies past the rest with second shortest security wait times in the U.S.


What is the worst aspect about airports, and why is it the wait times in the TSA lines? Nothing is worse than arriving to the airport within a reasonable timeframe prior to your flight, only to spend most of it waiting behind 30 other people to remove your shoes and belt, walk through a metal detector, and have your carry-on analyzed by agents who are probably thinking about traveling themselves.

Luckily for San Antonio travelers, wait times at the San Antonio International Airport (SAT) add up to just under 18 minutes, making it the airport with the second shortest security wait times, according to a new study by luggage storage locator Bounce. The report analyzed the average flight processing times for security checks and passport control for several major airports around the country, not including baggage retrieval or navigation times.

On average, travelers at SAT only spend a little more than six minutes in line for security, and international travelers spend an additional 11.5 minutes at passport control. Bounce's study attributes the short wait times due to SAT not being a central hub for any specific airline.

"The airport primarily serves domestic flights, which could contribute to shorter wait times at passport control and security," the report said.

San Antonio jumped six places from 2022, where it previously ranked No. 8, after improving wait times by five minutes.

The airport that outranked SAT to take the top spot in the report is the Baltimore/Washington International Airport in Maryland, whose average wait times come out to less than 15 minutes. No other Texas airports appeared in the top 10.

The top 10 U.S. airports with the shortest wait times are:

  • No. 1 – Baltimore/Washington International Airport
  • No. 2 – San Antonio International Airport
  • No. 3 – San Jose International Airport
  • No. 4 – Newark Liberty International Airport
  • No. 5 – Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport
  • No. 6 – Sacramento International Airport
  • No. 7 – Raleigh-Durham International Airport
  • No. 8 – Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport
  • No. 9 – Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport
  • No. 10 – Denver International Airport
In the analysis of the American airports with the longest wait times, the John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York earned the top spot with an average wait time of over 48 minutes. Rounding out the top five are the San Francisco International Airport (No. 2), Miami International Airport (No. 3), Fort-Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (No. 4), and the Orlando International Airport (No. 5).

The full report can be found on usebounce.com.

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San Antonio soars among best places for a long layover, plus more top stories

Hot Headlines

Editor’s note: It’s that time again — time to check in with our top stories. Here are five articles that captured our collective attention over the past seven days.

1. San Antonio soars onto new list of best places for a long layover. Four Texas cities landed in the top 20, with Houston ranked best at No. 4, followed by Dallas (No. 7), San Antonio (No. 17), and Austin (No. 20).

2. Thriving San Antonio neighbor declared America's 4th biggest boomtown for 2022. New Braunfels was the top Texas boomtown in a recent study.

3. Luxury bus operator revs up service between San Antonio and this major Texas city. Vonlane's hitting the road between Dallas and San Antonio, with fares starting at $139.

4. San Antonio actress stars in SXSW opening film, Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves. The appropriately motley crew includes San Antonian Michelle Rodriguez.

5. This is how long San Antonio home buyers need to work to save for a down payment. A new ranking compares the 50 largest U.S. cities on how long it takes the average household to save for a home, with San Antonio coming in at No. 38.

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Online home searching platform Compass buys top San Antonio-based brokerage

real estate news

National residential real estate agency Compass has acquired Realty Austin and Realty San Antonio, in a move that will expand its position as the leading national firm and its growth in Texas by more than 600 agents.

Although the sale price was not disclosed in Compass' announcement, the local brokerages completed $5.24 billion sales just in 2022 alone.

Compass added that the Austin and San Antonio leadership will have direct oversight of daily operations as part of the terms of the acquisition. Realty Austin and Realty San Antonio co-founder Yvette Flores maintains that she and her leadership team will strive for a "seamless transition" into the national firm that respects the home-grown culture they have created.

Realty Austin was founded in 2004 by Flores and Jonathan Boatwright, and has grown through the years to become one of the most innovative brokerages in Central Texas and beyond. The company expanded its operations to San Antonio in 2021.

Realty Austin and Realty San Antonio CEO Gabe Richter said in the release that Compass' leading-edge technology will help his agents foster greater successes, particularly in one blossoming San Antonio category: luxury real estate.

"Our agents have consistently set records with remarkable achievements," Richter said in the release. "Now, by aligning with Compass, they gain access to a transformative technology platform that enhances efficiency and elevated resources that empower them to secure even more luxury listings."

Compass was founded in 2012 as the largest real estate brokerage in the U.S., and preserves its stronghold as the No. 1 brokerage in Texas thanks to its milestone acquisition. The national brokerage has already surpassed $10 billion in sales in Texas in 2023, according to the release.

“With this acquisition, we've positioned ourselves as Austin's leading brokerage — our commitment to setting new standards and inspiring innovation for all our exceptional agents remains the top priority while honoring what Realty Austin and Realty San Antonio has built," said Compass Texas President Rachel Hocevar.

Fantastic visuals and original story make The Creator a must-see sci-fi film

Movie Review

In the relatively risk-averse world that is modern Hollywood, getting an original story is a rarity. The vast majority of potentially blockbuster movies these days are ones that have a connection to some kind of existing intellectual property that already has a well-established track record. So anytime something interesting arrives that’s not a sequel/reboot/remake/commercial for a product, it deserves to be celebrated.

And that goes double when it’s done as well as the new sci-fi film, The Creator. The film is set in a post-apocalyptic world in 2065, 30 years after a sentient artificial intelligence detonated a nuclear bomb in Los Angeles. Joshua (John David Washington) is an American soldier who for years worked undercover alongside A.I.-enhanced robots, many of which are fitted with clones of human faces, to try to find their reclusive leader, Nirmata, in a part of the world now called New Asia.

A personal tragedy sends him into exile, but he’s recruited back into service by Colonel Howell (Allison Janney) to seek out and destroy a weapon that may turn the tide in the war for good. Turns out the weapon is a robot in the form of a child (Madeleine Yuna Voyles), and when Joshua discovers that fact, he finds it impossible to carry out the mission. Instead, he does everything he can to protect the girl he calls Alphie, with the military hot on his tail all the while.

Written and directed by Gareth Edwards (Rogue One) and co-written by Chris Weitz, the film is astonishing in a number of ways, but mostly for its ability to draw the viewer in visually. The CGI is amazingly believable, making it easy to immerse yourself in the storytelling. From a foreboding super-weapon in the sky called NOMAD to the futuristic landscapes to the whirring metal cylinders that appear to be the brains of the robots, the film is full of fantastic details that make it a feast for the eyes.

The concept of A.I. is increasingly being used as a storytelling tool, and here the filmmakers seem to try to play both sides of the fence. Many people in the film fear its capabilities, especially given the nuclear event. But by literally putting human faces on many of the robots, it becomes more difficult to see them as pure evil, a dilemma that’s at the core of the problem for both Joshua and the audience.

Washington, who’s fast becoming as reliably good as his father, Denzel, is the star of the film, and he does a great job in that role. But stealing the show every second she’s on screen is Voyles, who delivers a debut performance the likes of which hasn’t been seen in many years. She is utterly convincing and heartbreaking as Alphie; while the story may have worked with a lesser actor, she helps take it to completely different level.

Also putting in great work are Janney, who proves herself as badass and fearsome a military leader as any man; Mark Menchaca as her No. 2; Ken Watanabe as an A.I. robot; singer-turned-actor Sturgill Simpson as a friend of Joshua; and Gemma Chan, redeeming herself after the misfire of Eternals.

John David Washington in The Creator
Photo courtesy of 20th Century Studios

John David Washington in The Creator.

The Creator could’ve earned praise simply by giving us an original sci-fi story. But by accompanying it with awe-inspiring imagery and performances that elevate the story immeasurably, Edwards and his team have made a film that will likely be remembered for years to come.


The Creator opens in theaters on September 29.

Nola breaks new ground and a Hill Country eatery heads to City Hall in San Antonio food news


Editor's note: We get it. It can be difficult to keep up with the fast pace of San Antonio's restaurant and bar scene. We have you covered with our weekly roundup of essential food news.


The long lines at Nola Brunch & Beignets may soon double. According to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation Records, the brunch behemoth is opening a location at 1101 Broadway. The restaurant did not return a request for comment by publication time, but Nola executive chef Melissa Villanueva is listed as the tenant. It's unclear if this is a relocation or a second outpost, but the project is set to wrap up in March 2024. CultureMap will update as we hear more information.

New Braunfels will have a new dining destination when an ambitious redevelopment is completed. According to state filings, Wiggins Hospitality Group — the folks behind McAdoo's Seafood Co. — will renovate the town's former City Hall into a mixed-use building incorporating offices on the ground floor. New Braunfels Historic Landmark Commission records give more details about the unnamed eatery, including plans for a bar and courtyard. Construction is set to wrap up in May 2024.

Other news and notes

San Antonio standout The Jerk Shack will be featured in a new book from national food site Eater. The restaurant — an Eater darling since being named one of the best new restaurants in the country by Hillary Dixler Canavan in 2029 — appropriately contributed a chicken dish.

Favor gave some insight into San Antonio's ordering habits via its first-ever dining report, released September 19. Alamo City requested more orders for barbecue than any other city in the state but surprisingly fell behind Austin in overall taco orders. The delivery app also shared a few tidbits about how San Antonians customize their meals. Locals favor lean brisket, flour tortillas, chorizo, and — controversially — chili with beans. Read all the findings at favordelivery.com.

Not content at only being a Food Network personality, chef Braunda Smith is now set to break the internet. The owner of Lucy Cooper's Ice House will soon be featured on the popular web series America's Best Restaurants. The restaurant confirmed the filming via a Facebook post but did not share when the segment will be aired.