San Francisco, United States of America (US)
San Francisco International Airport lies 21km south of the city. It has four terminals and seven concourses, laid out in a star shape. The concourses are set up in alphabetical order, anti-clockwise, so be sure to travel in the right direction to your terminal to avoid losing time.
Terminals 1, 2 and 3 serve domestic flights while the huge International Terminal serves both international and domestic flights:
Travelling between terminals
It's a large airport, and, while you can walk to all terminals, the free, automatic AirTrain shuttle train will shorten your journey considerably. It runs every 2.5 minutes and covers a 10km loop:
Stop at the 'Garage G/BART Station' stop to take the BART train into the city.
If you're flying out of A and G Gates (International Terminal) make sure to do your shopping and dining before security and don't go to your gate too early. Facilities at the gate areas are very limited.
At D, E and F Gates are lots of food options after security.
Power outlets and work stations are located thoughout the airport. The 'Power Bars' in the Terminal 2 food court make charging even more comfortable, and there are airside mobile charging stations in Terminals 1 and 3:
The airport is well connected by public transport, and the train is the easiest, cheapest route into the city.
The Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) rapid rail takes you to San Francisco, San Mateo County and the East Bay. Trains leave every 15-20 minutes from: Mon-Fri 04:09-23:54, Sat 06:07-23:54, Sun 08:07-23:54.
Journey time is 30 minutes to central stations like Powell Street (for Union Square) and Civic Center.
Cost: USD 9.65 one-way (children under four travel free), USD 19.30 round-trip
Buying tickets: Automated machines when you get off the AirTrain or online before you travel. The machines take cash and credit cards.
Location: BART Station, International Terminal, level 3, Boarding Area G side
If you're heading to Silicon Valley, take the Caltrain suburban rail service to Palo Alto or San Jose stations. First, take BART one station south to Millbrae station (changing at San Bruno during the week) and then transfer to Caltrain.
Cost: USD 3.75 one-way (1 Zone), USD 2.25 for every zone upgrade
Buying tickets: Buy your BART ticket in the airport, and then your Caltrain ticket at Millbrae
Note: Since Jan 2018, you have to pay 50 cent extra for paper tickets. You can get a 'Clipper Card' to avoid this.
This is the cheapest route to the city. SamTrans bus routes KX, 292, 397 and 398 connect the airport to San Mateo County, San Francisco and Palo Alto (1hr 15mins). The KX route is the quickest option for downtown, but doesn't accept passengers with luggage.
Cost:Adult fare (Age 19 through 64): USD 2.25 to San Francisco Youth fare (Age 18 and younger): USD 1.10 to San Francisco
A taxi journey takes around 26 minutes, depending on traffic, and can be pretty pricey.
Cost: USD 46-65 (plus an expected 20% tip)
Location: Ranks outside every terminal, arrivals level
In typical, early-adopter San Francisco style, it's permitted to use the apps Lyft, Uber and Sidecar to make the journey in a local's car for less than a taxi.
Location: Pick up and drop off are at departures level outside the terminals
Travellers have reported that even though they were travelling domestic with JetBlue, their flight was being handled in the international departures terminal. This also applies to Alaska Airlines, Sun Country Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines.
While the American Airlines ticket counters are in Terminal 2, its gates for flights to/from old US Airways hubs (PHX, CLT, PHL) are in Terminal 1.
XpresSpa offers massages, manicures, pedicures, facials, waxing and hair-styling services.
Opening hours: Mon-Sun 06:00-23:00 (the spa in the International Terminal opens at 07:00)
There are two yoga rooms in the airport where you can meditate, exercise or simply relax and enjoy some peace and quiet. You'll find them in the following locations:
Hours: 24 hours daily
Fill up your water bottles for free.
International Terminal, after security, boarding area A, Gate A1
Terminal 2, after security, boarding area D, Gates 51 and 58
Terminal 3, after security, boarding area F, near the entrance to Gates 80-90
If you've got time to kill, check out the Aviation Museum. It features exhibitions, research services and educational programmes. The museum is housed in a remodelled version of the airport's 1930s passenger lobby.
International Terminal, before security, main hall
Hours: 10:30-16:30 Mon-Sat
The airport offers self-guided tours of the either the International Terminal or Terminals 1, 2, or 3. They're aimed at children, but fun for the whole family. You can find the tour itinerary on the airport website or at any of the visitor information booths.
At the end of the tour, every child receives a prize.
The Kids’ Spot offers free entertainment for young children. It includes a physical play area and several educational exhibits. You'll find a Kid's Spot in the following locations:
Terminal 2, airside, boarding area D, near Gates 54A and 58B
Terminal 3, airside, boarding area F, near Gate 87A
Terminal 3, airside, boarding area E, near Gate 62
Luggage storage is available at the Airport Travel Agency only. All luggage is x-rayed prior to storage. Rates vary according to the size of luggage. Minimum charge is the 24-hr rate.
International Terminal, before security, departure/ticketing level, near entrance to Gates G91-G102
In an effort to de-stress travellers, SFO offers a Wag Brigade—trained dogs (more than 20!) that children and animal-lovers can pet and cuddle. The dogs will wear vests that read 'Pet Me!' along with their name.
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