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San Francisco Airport Guide (SFO)

< Cheap flights to San Francisco


Opened on May 7, 1927 San Francisco International Airport (SFO) is located 13 miles south of downtown San Francisco, California. According to passenger traffic, San Francisco International Airport was the 10th busiest in the United States and the 20th largest airport in 2009. The airport opened in 1927 and has suffered damage from earthquakes since its founding.

Transfer between Terminals

SFO has four terminals known as Terminals 1, 2, 3, and International, and seven concourses. Terminal 1, Terminal 2, and Terminal 3 handle domestic flights and some flights to Canada. The International Terminal handles international flights and some domestic flights. AirTrain connects all four terminals, the two international terminal garages, the BART station, and the airport's Rental Car Center. AirTrain is fully automated and free of charge.

Nearby Airport Hotels

Days Inn San Francisco International Airport West, 1550 El Camino Real, San Bruno, CA 94066, (800) 329-1992, This Days Inn offers guests free wireless internet and free daily breakfast. It is located just minutes from SFO and BART Access. La Quinta Inn & Suites San Francisco Airport West, 1390 El Camino Real, Millbrae, CA 94030, (650) 952-3200, Located just two miles from the San Francisco International Airport. La Quinta Inn provides free airport shuttle service 24 hours a day. Free wireless internet, fitness center, and complimentary breakfast is available to hotel guests. Best Western Plus El Rancho Inn, 1100 El Camino Real, Millbrae, CA 94030, 800-568-8520, Best Western Plus offers its guests an airport courtesy shuttle available 24 hours. Free internet access, on-site restaurant, and fitness center are also available to guests.

Transport into Town

BART: The San Francisco International Airport BART station is located in Parking Garage G of the International Terminal. This BART line offers direct rail service between the airport, San Francisco and the Bay Area. Bus:  SamTrans, San Mateo County's transit agency, has three bus lines, 292, 397, and KX, that connect Terminal 2, Terminal 3, and the International Terminal to Downtown San Francisco and other areas. SamTrans Route 292 and Route KX serve SFO during morning, daytime, and evening hours. SamTrans Route 397 "All Nighter" serves SFO during nighttime hours.

Airport Lounges

Day passes can be purchased for any of these airline lounges at SFO. Terminal 1 hosts Delta Sky Club Lounge, Alaska Airlines Board Room, and USO. Alaska Airlines Board Room is located in Terminal 1, Concourse B, between Gate 22 and 24 and is open 6am - 9pm Sunday through Friday, and 7am - 9pm on Saturday. USO is a lounge for United States Armed Forces members and their families.  It is located in Terminal 1 on the Mezzanine Level, and is open 24 hours a day. Terminal 3 houses American Admiral’s Club Lounge and United Club. The United Club is located in Terminal 3, Concourse F, near Gate 80, and is open 5am - 11:30pm. The International Terminal is home to Delta Sky Club Lounge and United Club. The United Club is located in Concourse G, 3rd floor, near Gate G94 and is open 8am - 11:30pm.

Major Airlines

Forty-two airlines call San Francisco International Airport home. SFO is the 5th largest hub of United Airlines, it is also United Airlines’ sole maintenance hub. SFO is also Virgin America's principal base of operations.

Airport Facilities

SFO offers travelers free wireless internet and a wide range of art and health-themed activities. SFO houses the Louis A. Turpen Aviation Museum. This museum focuses on aviation history and is located in International Terminal Main Hall, Pre-Security. SFO offers guests a yoga room in Terminal 2 and the Berman Reflection Room, which is a place for peace, quiet, and meditation. The Berman Reflection Room is located in International Terminal Main Hall, Pre-Security.

Car Parking

The Domestic Parking Garage is available for short-term and hourly parking. Rates range from $2 per 20 minutes to $36 max per 24 hours. SFO's long-term parking facility is serviced by shuttle buses which operate 24 hours a day. Frequent shuttle service runs every 5 minutes to 15 minutes. Long-term rates range from $2 per 20 minutes to $18 max per 24 hours. Two International Parking Garages are located near the International Terminal, one on the north side and one on the south side of the airport. Rate in these garages range from $2 per 20 minutes to $28 max per 24 hours. Valet Parking is available for all terminals and is located in the Domestic Garage. Valet rates range from $38 max per first 24-hours to $45 max per additional 24-hours.  

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Cheap Flights to San Francisco

Historical prices for San Francisco flights.

Departure Airline Prices
Portland Alaska Airlines $225
Seattle Alaska Airlines $168
Washington Dulles AirTran $263
Rapid City Continental $256
Orange County (Santa Ana) Continental $136
Richmond AirTran $200
Des Moines American Airlines $214
Gainesville Delta $280
Missoula Alaska Airlines $299
New York AirTran $200
Salt Lake City Delta $208
Redmond Alaska Airlines $249
Green Bay American Airlines $216
Cedar Rapids American Airlines $350
Syracuse Continental $219
St. Louis Continental $219
Kansas City Continental $223
Indianapolis AirTran $185
Columbus AirTran $200
Arcata Eureka Continental $246
Burlington Continental $269
Albany Continental $325
Toronto Air Canada $381
San Antonio American Airlines $266
Denver Frontier $150

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