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Tips and ideas on how to best spend a layover at San Francisco SFO airport. Got a favorite quiet place to connect to wifi? A great bar or restaurant? Maybe an exhibit or a walk? Share your SFO Airport layover experiences with others, or post a question and get notified when there is a response.

Discussion Topics
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  • connection time
    Oct 3, 2016
    I am going to fly PVG-SFO-ATL. However United changed the time of the second flight. So I only have 2hr15min connection time. I am a Chinese citizen. Is it enough for me to go through the custom, take my baggage and get on the next flight?


  • 6 hours for fun between landing from London and departing Auckland?
    Sep 28, 2016
    Is 6 hours enough to get off the plane, out the airport, see Golden Gate Bridge and have a quick lunch before heading back for another international flight? I have a British Passport with an ESTA, and am stopping over between London and Auckland. Thanks in advance for any advice. Also hoping to catch the US exclusive pokemon, Tauros, in this time.


    You'd get literally like 30-60 minutes in the city before having to head back to the airport.


    That's a shame. Will have to forgoe poor Tauros. Thanks for answering.


  • 9 hour lay over
    Sep 19, 2016
    I have a 9 hour lay over, am I allowed to check my bags onto my next flight (to London) and leave the airport for a couple hours?


    What airlines are you flying? Where are you flying into SFO from?


  • International Arrival 10:10, catch domestic departure 12:55?
    Sep 15, 2016
    Hi, my international flight arriving at SFO has been rescheduled to land at 10:10. I have a separately booked domestic departure at 12:55 from SFO to IAD. Will I still be able to make it for the domestic departure or had I better change to a later flight to IAD?


    You could still make it if things go smoothly when you arrive, especially if you don't have checked bags.


  • SIN-SFO-IAD Are 2 hrs enough for layover at SFO?
    Aug 17, 2016
    Hi, I will be arriving at SFO from SIN on an SQ flight at 9:15 am, and will take a separately booked United flight to IAD from SFO. Will I be able to make a 11:15 am flight out of SFO? Or had I better book a 12:55pm?


    If you have checked bags I would book the 12:55


  • 40 layover
    Aug 3, 2016
    is 40 mins layover enough? travelling from vancouver to sfo to honolul


    That is just enough time if everything goes smoothly and all tickets are on the same reservation. You will pre-clear US Immigration and Customs in Vancouver. All you have to do in SFO is go from your arrival gate to your departure gate. Obviously it leaves no time to spare if there's delays.


  • 2 hr layover at SFO sufficient?
    Aug 1, 2016
    Hi, I'm flying in on ANA from Tokyo to San Fran (landing at 10.35am) and need to catch a connecting United flight to Las Vegas (departing 12.35pm). Tickets are booked under 1 reservation (think ANA has codesharing flights with United). Would I have sufficient time to make the connecting flight and would I need to claim my baggage at San Fran and recheck them into United? First time to the US and am not familiar with the airports... thanks!


    Yes, that should be enough time. Yes, you will arrive, go through US Immigration, claim your bags, go through US Customs, re-check your bags at the re-check desk, go through security, and to your departure gate.


    Thanks ZAP!


  • Vancouver to Singapore - Layover concerns (United)
    Jul 30, 2016
    Hello I am travelling from Vancouver to Singapore on 3rd August and I have a 2 hour 19 min layover in SFO prior to my SIN flight via United. Will this be sufficient for immigration, luggage pickup and boarding.


    You will pre-clear US Immigration and Customs in Vancouver. All you have to do in San Francisco is walk from your arrival gate to your departure gate. There is no US Customs or Immigration when leaving the US. You have plenty of time.


  • 2 hours 15 min
    Jul 23, 2016
    I am worry that I don't have enough time hru immigration and custom at SFO. I have only 2 hours 15 min. My flight CGK-NRT-SFO-MCO. any advice? Thank you


    That should be enough time if the flight from Tokyo arrives on-time.


  • Layover
    Jul 23, 2016
    Hi I'm traveling to the Philippines from LAX to SFO via star alliance virgin America then Korean air. I have a 1 and 35 minutes layover. Do I have enough layover time? Thanks


    Virgin America is not in Star Alliance. Are your tickets on one reservation or two separate reservations?


    One reservation.


    Then you have just enough time. You will have to take the airtrain from Terminal 2 to the International Terminal and go through security.


  • ORD -> SFO -> PEK
    Apr 24, 2016
    Hi i'm flying from Chicago to San Francisco and then Beijing through UA and I have 1 hr 40 mins layover time. Do i need to clear customs in San Francisco and is it enough time to change flights?


    There is no US Customs when leaving the US. All you have to do in SFO is walk from your arrival gate to your departure gate. You have plenty of time.


  • Switching airlines
    Apr 22, 2016
    I have a flight on Southwest getting in to San Francisco at 1:30 and a flight on United at 3 PM to Kahului. Is this enough time for me to get out, collect my bags at baggage claim, recheck them with United, and still make my flight? I do have TSA precheck for getting through security


    With Precheck it's barely enough time assuming your Southwest flight is on-time and your bags come out quickly.


  • How to make changeover in 55 min at SFO. Phones to Seoul Korea
    Apr 1, 2016
    I am possible to make it in 55 min to transfer from domestic flight Unites airline from Phoenix (arive SFO at 9:35 am) leaving to South Korea (international) via United airlines (departure at 10:35 on 2 April). Is there security check again or immigration checkout process again. If possible give me suggestion how to make it under 55 min. Thanks lot for information. Our flight is on 2 April 2016.


    Yes, that is possible. There is no special security or US Customs when leaving the US. All you have to do is walk from your arrival gate in Terminal 3 to your departure gate in the G concourse of the International Terminal. There is a walkway connecting them inside security.


  • Enough time? From Lihue to Houston
    Mar 29, 2016
    I will arrive from Lihue, Hawaii at 5:30am in San Fran and leave for Houston Intercontinental at 6am, all through United. Can I make the connection, and will my luggage make it?


    It's possible but leaves no time to spare if the flight from Lihue is delayed. If you miss your connection there are frequent United flights from SFO to Houston.


  • Layover - Do I have enough time?
    Jan 27, 2016
    Hi, I'm a US resident alien (with Global Entry) arriving at SFO on Flight JL2 (Japan Airlines) from HND @ 16.25 I need to get on a United flight (separate booking) from SFO > AUS @ 18.07 Will I need to go through security again, and do you think I can make the connecting flight? Thank you! -Alex


    Yes, you will have to go to Terminal 3 and go through security. If you don't have checked bags and check in for your United flight online before you leave Japan I think you can make this. With checked bags, I don't think it would be very feasible, even with Global Entry.


    Thank you for the response. I will have hand luggage only and will definitely check-in to my United flight beforehand. I guess it's the equivalent of turning up the airport with 1hr 30 mins to spare for a domestic flight, seems do-able. It seems to be a flight that regularly gets in a little early too.


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