Travelers at SFO can no longer purchase water in plastic bottles, but the airport offers free hydration stations for patrons using their own containers. (Photo courtesy of San Francisco International Airport)

Thirsty air travelers in search of water in a plastic bottle will come up dry when they visit San Francisco International Airport.

Starting this month, retailers at the region’s largest airport are now prohibited from selling customers water in plastic bottles, and efforts are underway to expand the ban to other popular beverages as well, according to airport officials.

According to the new rule, retailers, restaurants, airline lounges and vending machines at the airport are now required to serve water in aluminum, glass or compostable bottles.

Airport officials said the move to ban plastic water bottles is part of a larger effort to move toward zero waste.

Back in 2016, the airport set a goal to achieve a zero waste policy by 2021. As part of that goal, the airport has already required restaurants to provide customers with single-use food ware in compostable packaging.

SFO generates more than 28 million pounds of waste annually, airport officials said.

With the new rule, the airport is encouraging travelers to bring reusable beverage containers with them and fill them up at any one of the nearly 100 free hydration stations throughout the airport.

The new plastic bottle ban only applies to water and does not currently apply to flavored beverages like soda, juice or tea.

More information about the airport’s new rule can be found at