San Francisco International Airport



San Francisco International Airport (SFO IATA) is the main international airport of the San Francisco Bay Area in California.

Understand[edit]

San Francisco International Airport, or commonly called by its IATA identifier, SFO, sits between San Francisco and San Jose, roughly 15 mi (24 km) south of downtown San Francisco, and 35 miles northwest of San Jose, at the western side of San Francisco Bay. The airport was built in 1927, and adopted what is now a centralized terminal design 30 years later. While it results in an easy single access from the outside, it also means narrow terminals and walkways that can be congested during the busiest times and difficulty in redevelopment and expansions. To make matters worse, the frequent fog at the Bay Area can often delay flights, especially during the morning hours.

Within California, its passenger traffic is second only to Los Angeles, and it is also among top 10 busiest airports in the U.S. and top 25 in the world, with more than 50 million passengers stopping by the airport annually. And thanks to the area's huge importance as a business, tech, and tourism hub, it is well connected both domestically and internationally.

Flights to major U.S. Western cities such as Los Angeles, Seattle, Las Vegas, Denver, and Honolulu are among the most popular given its central location, with flights to the former departing at least half-hourly during peak times. Daily flights also link San Francisco to most airline hubs of the U.S. legacy carriers using both twin and single-row aircrafts, especially to the east coast. Internationally, it is well connected to the neighboring countries of Canada & Mexico, Central America, Europe, Middle East, Australia, New Zealand and Asia, with a heavy focus on East Asian routes. Two of the top ten longest flights in the world originate from San Francisco: Singapore and Bengaluru.

With the exception of Boarding Area F in Terminal 3, all airport terminals either opened or were renovated after 2000. Planned renovations to Boarding Area F have been delayed indefinitely by the COVID pandemic, meaning it is the most dated part of the airport.

Flights[edit]

The airport adopts the centralized terminal concept, with 4 terminals (3 domestic, 1 international) with 7 concourses in a circle surrounding parking and transportation facilities. Some domestic flights depart from the international terminal, and conversely, some international flights to Canada depart from the domestic terminals.

San Francisco is a major hub for both domestic and international flights to the United States. United Airlines operates a domestic hub out of Terminal 3, and an international hub out of the International Terminal, while Alaska Airlines operates a hub from both Terminal 2 and the International Terminal, with flights allocated to either terminal at random; check the flight information before you head to the airport for the correct terminal. Though it has a wide range of flights, it's well known for its weather delays.

Map
Map of San Francisco International Airport
  Terminal 1
Officially named Harvey Milk Terminal 1, after the first openly gay elected official in California.
  Boarding Area B (Gates B6-B27)
American Airlines, Southwest, Jetblue
  Terminal 2
  Boarding Area C (Gates C2-C11)
Delta
  Boarding Area D (Gates D1-D18)
Alaska Airlines, Delta
  Terminal 3
  Boarding Area E (Gates E1-E13)
United (domestic flights)
  Boarding Area F (Gates F1-F22)
United, United Express
  International Terminal
  Boarding Area G (Gates G1-G14)
Star Alliance carriers except Avianca & Virgin Atlantic, Alaska, Frontier, Fiji Airways, French Bee, Hawaiian, Sun Country, WestJet, arrivals from El Al.
  Boarding Area A (Gates A1-A15) (Most Skyteam, Oneworld and unaffiliated carriers)
All carriers other than Boarding Area G, including Skyteam & Oneworld carriers and unaffiliated.

See also: view full list of airlines at San Francisco International Airport.
There are additional smaller airports in the area that may be closer to where you are staying in the Greater S.F. Bay area. All airports in the area are served by Alaska Airlines, Hawaiian and Southwest from southern California, Hawaii and from all over the U.S. and by Volaris from Mexico and El Salvador:

See the 'By train' section in the below for details on getting to the other airports in the area from SFO by train.

Arrival procedures[edit]

Check-in counters at the International Terminal

The two sets of parallel runways at SFO are spaced too closely together for simultaneous arrivals during periods of low visibility. While in clear weather, both runways in a particular direction can be used, low clouds (a not uncommon weather pattern in the Bay Area) will require that arrivals use only one of the two. Should this happen, air traffic control will delay inbound traffic either in the air or at your departure airport. If you are making connections at SFO or have time-sensitive business there, allow for extra time should your incoming flight be delayed.

International arrivals: All passengers arriving on international flights (except flights originating from airports with U.S. preclearance) must pass through immigration inspection in the International Terminal. Passengers will then collect their baggage and pass through customs. Those with onward flights, international and domestic, will proceed to check-in and security. Be prepared for at least a 30 minute wait. There is no international transit zone. Travellers terminating in San Francisco should follow signs for their desired ground transportation. If you have a connecting flight, and if your baggage has been tagged through to your next destination, follow the signs for "Connecting Flights" once you have collected your luggage from the carousel; there will be an area immediately after you clear customs where you can drop off your checked bags so you don't have to lug them all the way to the departure hall.

Domestic arrivals: Passengers arriving on domestic flights will arrive on the departure level inside security. Those in transit will not need to clear security again unless their next departure leaves from a different terminal that does not have a walkway between them. Travelers terminating in San Francisco exit and may proceed downstairs to baggage claim or ground transportation. The AirTrain and BART is available upstairs.

Additional alternate airports for travelers going to Sacramento, Lake Tahoe, or the northern wine country without flying into the San Francisco Bay Area and then driving another 2+ hrs (or by other ground transport) to get there are:

  • Most of the same airlines from the US, Canada, Mexico and El Salvador listed in the above also go directly into Sacramento International Airport (SMF) and Reno-Tahoe International Airport (RNO) (nearest to Lake Tahoe) from their cities of origin thus saving travelers the extra time and effort in getting to Sacramento or to Lake Tahoe. Southwest offers direct flights from SJC and OAK to Reno while United flies from SFO to Reno (1hr). United Express is the only airline to fly from SFO to Sacramento (0:54m). Travelers can also take the Capitol Corridor train from the downtown Oakland Jack London Station or Emeryville; or Greyhound from the West Oakland Station or the Salesforce Center in downtown San Francisco to Sacramento.
  • Charles M Schultz-Sonoma County Airport (STS) Some travelers from within the U.S. may opt to fly directly into the famous California wine country in Snooma and Napa Counties; or further north to Mendocino_County in the North Coast, if they plan to spend their entire stay up there while saving time in picking up a rental car here and then drive up there (2+ hrs). Others may choose to fly into SFO or OAK, rent a car, and drive up there; or take a bus or shuttle to get there (see below under 'By public transportation') in order to save money on the airfare. This airport is only served by Avelo, Alaska Airlines, and American from Southern California and/or from other parts of the U.S. Groome Transportation operates regularly scheduled buses/vans from OAK and SFO (on two separate routes) to Charles M Shultz Airport in Sonoma County (Petaluma, Ronhert Park, Santa Rosa) while Marine Airporter operates connections to Marin County (Sausalito, San Rafael, Mill Valley, Novato) from SFO.

Departure procedures[edit]

Terminal 1 check-in

Passengers must check in with their airline at their respective terminal. Once you pass the security checkpoint, you generally cannot go to other concourses (some exceptions under § Get around). This limits your choice of food, drinks, and shopping. As the check-in areas are narrow and there is only one security checkpoint for every boarding area, expect long lines during busy travel times, which can easily extend your line to the boarding area up to one hour!

International travelers will not pass exit controls; however, airline staff will verify passport and applicable destination visa validity.

If you are flying on United Airlines, keep in mind that domestic flights leave from Terminal 3, while international flights leave from the International Terminal.

Ground transportation[edit]

Map of the airport. Since 2019 there is an extra stop south of the International Garage A, where Grand Hyatt stands.

By train[edit]

If you are staying in San Francisco or the East Bay, your most convenient option is likely BART. The platform is at International Terminal G. From there, you can get to any of the terminals using the AirTrain. The following are stops to the other area airports, Amtrak and intercity bus connections from downtown San Francisco and Oakland:

  • Daly City Station is the main transfer station from the Yellow (Millbrae-SFO-Antioch) or Red Line trains (Millbrae-SFO-Richmond) to the Green (Daly City - OAK - Dublin/Pleasanton) or Blue Line trains (Daly City - OAK - Berryessa/North San Jose). The Blue & Green Lines go by the West Oakland and Coliseum Stations (see below) while all lines go through downtown between Civic/UN Plaza and Embarcadero Stations.
  • Embarcadero Station is the nearest station (on Market St) to the Salesforce Transit Center at 1st and Mission St in downtown. The Salesforce Transit center is the Central Bus station for Amtrak Thruway[dead link] (to Emeryville), Greyhound/Flixbus, AC Transit (to Alameda County in East Bay), Golden Gate Transit (to Marin & Sonoma Counties); and WestCat Lynx (to Hercules Transit Center in Hercules, CA).
  • West Oakland Station is the transfer point to Flixbus, Greyhound and/or Megabus in Oakland.
  • Coliseum Station is the nearest station to Oakland International Airport (OAK). From here one transfers from the Green or Blue Line trains to the 'OAK Airport' train for the short ride to the Oakland International Airport BART Station in front of the airline terminal. It is also connected by footbridge to an Amtrak station of the same name. The surrounding areas around the Oakland Coliseum Station, the downtown (Oakland and SF) stations and the Oakland Greyhound bus station are not safe at night.

If you are going south towards San Jose, you can take the Caltrain rail line, but you first need to take BART to the next stop south or SamTrans bus 292 or 397 to Millbrae Transit Center to transfer to Caltrain. The following are stops to the other area airports, Amtrak, Altmont Corridor Express (ACE) and intercity bus connections from San Jose:

Click here for a list of additional Caltrain Stations. All the stations are served by additional buses and shuttles to the surrounding areas.

There are no trains from the airport to Marin County, across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco. To get there you'll need to take the Marin Airporter bus (see below), or transfer to a Golden Gate Transit bus or ferry or bus from downtown San Francisco.

By bus[edit]

SamTrans provides bus service throughout San Mateo County and limited service to and from San Francisco. There are bus stops at Level 1 of both sides of the International Terminal, and Level 1 of Terminals 2 & 3:

  • Route 142 is a local bus route to the nearby San Bruno, on the other side of US Hwy 101, from the SFO Rental Car Aitrain Station. This route serves the San Bruno BART but it does not serve the SFO Airport BART & SamTrans stops at the international terminals. Connections to Route ECR on El Camino Real are in San Bruno (see below under 'Nearby').
  • Route 292 runs between Hillsdale Mall in San Mateo and Embarcadero in downtown San Francisco via the airport terminals and multiple cities/municipalities in San Mateo County. The south of the airport route (to/from Hillsdale Mall) stops at Millbrae Transit Center, where one can transfer to Millbrae BART or Caltrain.
  • Route 397 operates a night service (1:20AM to 5AM, check schedules) between Palo Alto and Embarcadero in downtown San Francisco via the airport terminals
  • Route 398 serves the airport from Redwood and Embarcadero via San Bruno BART station during the weekday peak hours only. Check schedules.
  • Route ECR OWL operates night service (1:42AM - 4:42AM hourly, check schedules) between Daly City (Mission St & Wellington Ave) and the airport via Camino Real (CA-Hwy 82) and Mission St.

One can pay SamTrans fares with cash (bills or coins) onboard a bus, or with a physical plastic or digital Clipper Transit Card on a smartphone or smartwatch (add Clipper card to Apple Wallet or Google Pay).

By shuttle bus[edit]

Shuttle buses depart from the center island transportation zones on the Arrivals/Baggage Claim Level of the International Terminal and Domestic Terminals 2 and 3:

By taxi or ride-share[edit]

Taxi stands are located at each terminal on the arrivals level on the traffic island. Be aware that taxi drivers will not generally be pleased when picking up so called short trips to cities within about 10 minutes of the airport. While these drivers are entitled to pickup pass which allows them back into the taxi pool queue immediately, this seems to be of little consolation. Taxis will drop off on the departures level only, even if traffic is heavy.

Ride-share services, such as Uber and Lyft, do not pick up at the arrivals level at domestic terminals 1, 2, or 3. Passengers arriving at the domestic terminals will proceed upstairs to level 3, and cross over to the top deck of the parking garage, past the Airtrain stations to request their ride-share. Passengers arriving at the international terminal are able to request a ride-share from the traffic island on the arrivals level. Ride-share services will drop off on the arrivals level only, even if traffic is heavy.

By car[edit]

The main access to the airport is using Highway 101 from the north and south. If coming from downtown San Francisco, make sure to follow the signs and use the collector/distributor lanes, or you will miss the exit to the airport. For long term parking, exit at San Bruno Ave.

Surface street access is from North and South Macdonell Rd.

If you are picking up someone, you can wait at the Cellphone Parking Lot for free at San Bruno Ave, the same way to the long term parking space. If you need that extra time to drop off multiple people, you can use the Kiss n'Fly area at the 1 Car Rental Center (780 N McDonnell Rd) for rental cars. There are additional off-site Car Rental companies further west along San Bruno Ave on the other side of US 101 who offer a shuttle to pick up/drop off at the Car Rental Center on demand. The Car Rental Center is connected to the airport terminals via SFO 'Blue Line' Airtrain.

Parking[edit]

It is possible to book your spot online, and there are promotional fares from time to time.

Short term parking is possible adjacent to the terminal buildings for $2 per 15 minutes and $36 max per 24 hours. Cars over 6 foot 6 inches (1.98 meters) high can park at the International Garage. Long term parking at costs $2 per 15 minutes and $18 max per 24 hours, however it is quite far and requires a shuttle for access to the terminal building, although an AirTrain station is under construction. All are equipped with chargers for electric vehicles.

By bike[edit]

In a rare twist for airports, the terminal buildings are also accessible by bike from N and S Macdonell Rd. There are parking racks at the Rental Car Center, Westfield Parking Lot, both International garages, and the valet area of the Domestic Parking. While parking doesn't cost anything, you can only park them for a maximum of 24 hours; long-term parking for up to 14 days requires a registration at the on-guard security.

If you bring a bike with you on your flight, you can disassemble or assemble it at the International garages or the Rental Car parking lot. The Airport Travel Agency at the International Terminal also sells boxes for air transportation and assembling tools.

Get around[edit]

AirTrain platform at International Terminal G station.

Pre-security all terminals are reachable on foot. The Rental Car Center and Long-Term Parking are not, and require the AirTrain.

The AirTrain system can get you around the airport. It is free and runs 24 hours.

  • The Red Line circulates the terminals plus the International Garages, Grand Hyatt Hotel, and BART train station at the garage near Concourse G.
  • The Blue Line stops at all Red Line stations, plus West Field Road, Rental Car Center, and Long-Term Parking.

After security (airside), Terminal 2, Terminal 3, and International Terminal G are connected by a walkway (be careful you don't accidentally walk out of security!). Otherwise you cannot move between terminals after security (Terminal 1 to 2 walkway is under construction). International terminals A and G are not connected post-security.

Luggage carts are free for international arrivals but require payment elsewhere, though there are sometimes a few of them left behind at the AirTrain stations that are up for grabs.

Wait[edit]

DC-3 model hanging in Aviation Museum

SFO has a wide variety of activities, installations and public art in the airport.

  • 1 Aviation Museum & Library (San Francisco Airport Commission Aviation Library and Louis A. Turpen Aviation Museum), International Terminal Level 3, adjacent to Concourse A, before security, +1 650-821-9900. Daily 10AM-4:30PM. Set up in what the airport looked like in the 1930s, this museum focuses on the development of aviation on the West Coast of the U.S. and around the world, including aircraft mockups, pins, posters, even safety cards and luggage labels reflecting the old glory of the airline industry. Free.
  • SFO Museum. The SFO museum maintains a series of changing art exhibitions throughout the airport. Check the website to see what is up for view. The library and an exhibit hall is located outside of security, near the checkpoint for Terminal A. Closes at 4pm.
  • Public art. SFO has a large collection of public art installed throughout the airport, some of it quite impressive and worth looking at on your way out of the airport as well as to pass the time while waiting for a flight. The linked map shows the locations of art in the airport.
  • Model aircraft collection, Terminal 3, Level 1, pre-security. A collection of extraordinary wooden model airplanes, including models of rare and unusual makes, made by Edward Chavez of the Nut Tree Restaurant.
  • Flight deck, Terminal 3, Concourse E. An installation of touchscreen kiosks with information about the airport and local attractions.
  • Yoga room (between terminals 1 and 2).
  • Throughout the airport, there are three different Kids' Spots, interactive play areas for children with science-based exhibits that are open 24 hours a day. One is in Terminal 2, Concourse D, near Gates 54A and 58B; the second is in Terminal 3, Concourse E, near Gate 62; the third is in Terminal 3, Concourse F, near Gate 87A.
  • 1 SkyTerrace, Terminal 2, Level 4, presecurity (Take the elevator or stairs from levels 1 or 2 of Terminal 2 north of security). F–Mo 10AM–6PM. SkyTerrace is a plane spotting area. An outside area has seating facing the planes without a cover overhead for inclement weather. An indoor area has exhibits on the SFO's history and some additional seating.
    The SkyTerrace is before the main security checkpoint are in Terminal 2, though the SkyTerrace has its own security check where visitors walk through a scanner and a guard inspects bags.
    Free.

Lounges[edit]

While there are no paid lounges, the airside is usually already comfortable enough for enjoying a good meal or waiting alone.

  • Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge, Terminal 2 after Security Check Point, Level 2, Post-Security. Su 4:15AM–10:45PM, M 4:15AM–8:45PM Tu–Sa 4:15AM–10:45PM. Maple Leaf Club members (no included guests) or Star Alliance Gold members (plus one guest) on eligible flight are allowed up to 3 hours before their flight. Charge for additional guests.
  • Air France - KLM Lounge, International Terminal A, near Gate A1, Level 4, Post-Security (immediately left after security). Daily 7:30AM–11:30PM. SkyTeam Alliance. Accepts passengers of the respective airlines, other SkyTeam alliance members, AeroMexico, Fiji Airways, KLM, Korean Air, Philippine Airlines, and Qatar Airways
  • Alaska Airlines Lounge, Terminal 2, Retail Street, Level 2, Post-Security. Daily 5AM-11PM. oneworld Alliance
  • American Express - The Centurion Lounge, Terminal 3 near Gate F2, Level 2, Post-Security (far west end of the terminal). Daily 5AM-9PM. A lounge exclusive for American Express Platinum and Centurion card holders.
  • British Airways Lounge, International Terminal A between Gates A5 and A9, Post-Security. Daily 5–11:30AM, 1:30–6:45PM. oneworld Alliance, For British Airways, EVA Air, Japan Airlines, and Korean Air passengers
  • China Airlines Lounge, International Terminal A near Gate A1, Level 4, Post-Security. Daily 11AM–3PM, 7:30–11:30PM. SkyTeam Alliance. Lounge for passengers of China Airlines and Air France
  • Delta Sky Club, Terminal 2 near Gate C3, Level 2, Post-Security. Su M 4:30AM–10:30PM, Tu–F 4:30AM–midnight, Sa 4:30AM–10:30PM. SkyTeam Alliance. Customers are welcome in the Delta Sky Club up to 3 hours before their flight.
  • Emirates Lounge, International Terminal A between Gates A2 and A6, Level 3, Post-Security. Daily 12:45–4:45PM.
  • United Lounges, all post-security. Star Alliance
    • United Club, Terminal 3: one near Gate E4 and one near rotunda/Gate F11; International Terminal G: between Gates G6 and G9.
    • United Polaris Lounge, International Terminal G: near gate G1 (Across from G security checkpoint). Daily 6:30AM–10:30PM. Exclusive lounge for travelers departing in United Polaris or any Star Alliance airline long haul first and business class. Shower room.
  • USO Lounge, Terminal 1 Mezzanine Level, Pre-Security. 7AM–8PM. Lounge for U.S. Armed Forces members and their families.
  • Virgin Atlantic Club House Lounge, International Terminal A, near Gate A1, Level 5, Post-Security (proceed through Security Checkpoint A and turn left). Daily 2–10PM. Virgin Atlantic, Cathay Pacific, Condor. Dragon Pass members, American Express Platinum, Centurion Card, Capital One Venture X and walk-Ins are accepted.

Eat and drink[edit]

Waiting at Terminal 2

The only sit-down restaurants pre-security are at the International Terminal because of its large floor space.

Terminal 1[edit]

  • Drake's Flyaway, near Gate B20. Table service restaurant with a full bar and brewery offering oven-baked pizzas, burgers, salads and sandwiches
  • Goldilocks, near Gate B18. Filipino cuisine favorites with gluten-free and vegan-friendly offerings. Mains from $8, sides from $3.
  • Starbird, near gate B13. Locally sustainable chicken tenders, either enjoyed as it is or in a burger. From $10.

Terminal 2[edit]

Many of the food options in Terminal 2 include food stands with common seating.

  • Andale Mexican Restaurant, Terminal 2 near Gate D16. 5:30AM-11PM daily. Fresh made to order Mexican entrees, beer, and wine.
  • Burger Joint, Terminal 2 near Gate D15. The chain from New York featuring sandwiches and various burgers.
  • Cat Cora, Terminal 2 near Gate D9. Full cocktail bar, wine, beer and a diverse small plate menu.
  • Lark Creek Grill, Terminal 2 near Gate D1. Table service restaurant with full bar, seafood, steak and breakfast
  • Pinkberry, Terminal 2 near Gate D4. Frozen yoghurt with toppings you can choose. From $3.80.
  • The Plant Café, Terminal 2 near Gate D4. Breakfast menu and organic entrees. From $12.
  • Wakaba, Terminal 2 Concourse D (near gate D9). Japanese sushi and noodles, teriyaki and bento boxes. Beer and sake is also provided. Joint seating area with other restaurants. Mains from $12. Sushi from $10.

Terminal 3[edit]

  • Buena Vista Coffee, Terminal 3 Concourse F. A pretty big restaurant. American cuisine and Irish coffee.
  • Gordon Biersch, Terminal 3 Concourse F. American cuisine with beers and a full set bar.
  • Sankaku, Near Gate E2. Japanese food heavy on entrees with a few selections of sushi. From $12.
  • San Francisco Giants Clubhouse, Near Gate F13. Finger snacks, sandwiches, and souvenirs from the namesake baseball team.

International Terminal[edit]

Pre-security[edit]

  • 24th & Mission Taco, International Terminal near G gates, +1 650 644 9300. Fresh made-to-order Mexican entrees, including build your own burrito, with beer and wine. Burrito from $11.
  • Green Beans Cafe, International Terminal near G gates. Coffee and smoothies, sandwiches, baked goods, and salads.
  • Pick Up Stix, International Terminal near A Gates. Asian fusion menus, featuring side with 2 entrees, dim sum & sushi. side with 2 entrees from $13. Others from $7.
  • Potrero Grill, International Terminal near G gates. American food featuring soups, salads, and sandwiches, including its special clam chowder and chicken wings. From $10.
  • Roasting Plant Coffee, International Terminal near A gates. A coffee reserve featuring build your own coffee from select beans. Coffee from $4.
  • Samovar Tea Lounge, International Terminal Main Hall. Assorted gourmet teas; artisan toast, eggs and sandwiches and a selection of sweets. Tea from $4, food from $6.
  • Tapas & Taps, International Terminal near G gates. American style full bar serving small plates, assorted beer selections and specialty cocktails.

A Gates[edit]

  • Gott's Roadside, Near Gate A13. American comfort food featuring pizzas, sandwiches, and burgers. Finish off with a glass of whiskey or crafted cocktails. Burgers from $15, sandwiches from $13..
  • The Manufactory Food Hall, International Terminal A near A6. Daily 6AM-midnight. A food court housing a delightful pastry cafe and zesty Thai selections. Mains from $12.

G Gates[edit]

  • 1300 On Fillmore, near Gate G11. Southern fares with signature cocktails. Food from $12.
  • Mustards Bar & Grill, near gate G3. Steak and diner style menus with extensive wine library.
  • Tomokazu, International Terminal G near G4. Japanese specialties including sushi, sashimi, nigiri, rice bowls, noodles and teriyaki. Also sells Japanese snacks. Rice bowl & noodles from $12. Sushi rolls from $7.

Buy[edit]

There are very few shops at Terminal 1, plenty in other terminals.

Unlike most international airports where international passengers are shoved into a narrow and winding passage down the duty free zone before reaching their gates, they are small, divided, and not intrusive here, meaning that you can walk fast directly to your gate if you want to.

  • Compass Books, Terminal 2 Concourse D (right after security). A good selection of books and a few souvenirs. The display shelves out front are definitely worth a browse.
  • Greetings from SF, Terminal 3 Concourse F. Souvenirs, gifts, apparels, and accessories from the "City by the Bay".

Connect[edit]

A departure board at SFO, showing the flights taking off from there

There are work stations at concourses in the International Terminal that you can use to work with your laptop or to charge your device. On the domestic terminals, there are spotty numbers of power sockets throughout the walls. There is also a machine that can charge your device twice as fast for a fee, with the exception of the International terminals.

Free Wi-Fi connectivity using #SFO FREE WIFI is available on all terminals & concourses. Lounges also offer their own hotspots and may offer faster speed.

  • TTY for the hearing impaired. Can be found in all terminals.
  • TripTel, International Terminal A pre-security, +1-415-474-3330, toll-free: +1-877-TRIPTEL (8747835). 8:30AM-9:30PM daily. Cell phone rentals, Internet, fax and copying services. Advanced reservations are recommended for cell phone rentals.
  • Mailboxes, 6 Mailboxes are located curbside on the Departures/Ticketing Level at the end of all terminals..
  • United States Post Office (Airport Mail Center), 660 West Field Road (Take the AirTrain Blue Line to the West Field Road Stop, walk 5 minutes.), +1-415-822-7157. M-F 11AM-11:59PM, Sa 10:30AM-6:30PM, Su closed. Full service post office. Last pick up is 8PM weekdays, 6:30PM Saturday. Lobby is always open for PO box access.

Cope[edit]

Although SFO's terminals are relatively small, it is one of the most user-friendly airports in the United States, thanks to its wide range of amenities to help travelers (including rare amenities such as all gender restrooms and therapy dogs).

If you travel with infants, there is one nursery chamber can be found on each concourse except A gates, for G gates it is before the security. For access, call the courtesy phone next to its door. The newsagents and Airport Travel Agency also sells care items.

  • Airport Travel Agency, International Terminal adjacent to Concourse G, before security, +1 650 877-0422, . 6AM–11PM daily. Luggage storage, sundries, Western Union, notary, shipping, bag wrapping, tickets, reservations, passport photos, etc. Luggage storage from $8 per hour, $24 for 24 hours.
  • Berman Reflection Room, International Terminal adjacent to Concourse G, before security (left of security). Daily 7AM-11PM. A quiet place either to rest or to pray.
  • Christian Science Reading Room, Terminal 1 adjacent to Concourse C before security. A quiet room to read, meditate and relax
  • Freshen Up, International Terminal adjacent to Concourse G, before security (behind check in counter, right of security), +1 650 877-0798. 24 hours daily. Should you feel not fresh, come here for a shower with amenities included or take a nap. Also offers self-ironing and toiletries. Shower from $25, nap rooms from $40.
  • Lost and Found, Terminal 1, Arrivals Level, near Domestic Garage Core C Tunnel, +1 650 821 7014, . Daily 8AM-10PM. If you lose an item at the terminal, this is where you can call and probably retrieve your item.
  • TripTel, International Terminal, Main Hall. offers a variety of services including mobile phone rentals, copying, faxing, etc.
  • XPress Spa, Terminal 2 Boarding Area D. 6AM-11PM daily. Temporarily closed due to COVID-19. A quick spa to rejuvenate yourself. From $50.

Sleep[edit]

Sleeping at the airport is unfortunately not a good and comfortable option. At the baggage claim in the domestic terminals, there are padded benches, especially at Terminal 3; however watch out for homeless or intoxicated people that can disturb your snooze. Sleeping at airside would of course be safer, provided you have an onward boarding pass and go through security before they close for the night, however with the exception of a few couches at Terminal 2, the benches have unremovable armrests. The landside of the international terminal is quieter but brighter. An alternative would be to sleep at Freshen Up or the Reflection Room (see Cope), although the latter closes overnight.

There is one hotel within the airport grounds.

  • 1 Grand Hyatt at SFO, 55 S McDonnell Rd (Access using AirTrain), +1 650 452 1234. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. The only hotel within the airport grounds. 351 soundproof rooms with floor-to-ceiling window, multiple restaurants including a to-go bar, and wellness facilities. Day use available. Dog friendly. From $220 per night. Grand Hyatt at SFO (Q65711102) on Wikidata

A lot of cheap lodging options can be found especially along El Camino Real at Millbrae, where there are also diverse places to eat, or along the waterfront for something premium. Many of these are also well served by shuttle services. Also look for accommodations in the cities surrounding the airport — Brisbane, Burlingame, San Bruno and South San Francisco

Millbrae[edit]

Accessible directly using the SFO route of the SamTrans bus or Red Line of the BART train.

Brisbane[edit]

  • 7 Homewood Suites, 2000 Shoreline Ct, +1-650-589-1600. A hotel located in a secluded spot with views of the bay and the airport featuring large suites. From $140 per night.
  • 8 DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel San Francisco Airport North, 5000 Sierra Point Pkwy, +1-650-745-1500. The hotel has panoramic views of the beautiful San Francisco Bay and offers complimentary parking. From $170 per night.

Burlingame[edit]

Directly east of the airport with many hotels offering a splendid view of the airport tarmac, perfect for plane spotting.

Nearby[edit]

If you have a long layover, BART will take you to San Francisco in about half an hour.

  • El Camino Real parallels US 101 as a local surface street through San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties with multiple hotels/motels, restaurants and stores along the road. State Route (SR) 82 begins at its junction with I-280 in the south of San Francisco and ends at I-880 in San Jose through some of the following:
  • San Bruno is the municipality where the airport is located and is the nearest location for a variety of hotels, motels, restaurants, and other services. SamTrans Route 'ECR' travels the entire length of El Camino Real, through San Mateo County, between Daly City BART and Palo Alto. Transit connections to the airport are on Route 142 or on BART from the nearby San Bruno BART and the Millbrae Transit Center.
  • San Mateo
  • Millbrae
  • Burlingame
  • South San Francisco is a separate city/municipality from San Francisco in San Mateo County, off of US 101.
  • San Francisco
  • San Jose
  • Oakland & Berkeley are further away. BART is the fastest way to get to the East Bay by public transit, with stations in downtown Berkeley and downtown Oakland. If you have a car, take US 101 to San Francisco, then I-80 over the Bay Bridge into Oakland.
  • I-380 connects US Hwy 101, SR-82 to I-280 and is a quicker way back towards the airport from SR-82 corridor. Alternatively one can also take San Bruno Ave to get from SR-82 to US Hwy 101. For going to Daly City, go west on I-380 and than north on I-280. US 101 and I-280 are freeways for going further north or south.
  • Colma a city of where most of the city's cemeteries are clustered at. More dead people there than the living. For travelers in transit with relatives interred in Colma it would be quicker to rent a car to drive out to visit the dearly departed then trying to use public transit to get there and then back to the airport.
  • Daly City
Routes through San Francisco International Airport
South San FranciscoSan Bruno  N  S  Ends at Millbrae
San FranciscoSouth San FranciscoSan Bruno  N  S  BurlingameSan MateoSan Jose
Ends at Jct ← Jct  W  E  Ends at Jct



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