San Francisco Airport (SFO) Guide
Welcome to San Francisco Airport, the gateway to the Bay Area and beyond! Whether you're flying for business or pleasure, SFO has everything you need for a smooth and enjoyable travel experience. From world-class dining and shopping to convenient parking and transportation options, SFO Airport has it all.
Looking for helpful information and tips to make your journey as stress-free as possible? Look no further than our comprehensive guide, which includes flight status and tracking, airline departure terminals and gate locations, parking options, terminal maps, and food and shopping directories. Let us help you get from your door to your gate with ease! For more detailed information on airports worldwide, check out iFly's Airport Guide.
When to Arrive
It is recommended to arrive at the airport at least two hours before your domestic flight and three hours before your international flight. This will give you enough time to check-in, go through security, and reach your gate without feeling rushed. The busiest times at SFO are typically during the morning and evening rush hours, so try to avoid arriving at those times if possible.
Getting to the Airport
There are several ways to get to SFO, including driving, taking public transportation, or using a ride-sharing service. If you choose to drive, be aware that parking at the airport can be expensive. Taking public transportation, such as the BART or Caltrain, can be a more cost-effective option. If you prefer to use a ride-sharing service, make sure to allow enough time for your driver to navigate through traffic and drop you off at the correct terminal.
San Francisco International Airport can be a large and confusing place, but you can easily get oriented by using iFly.com's interactive airport maps. These maps show you where each terminal, gate, and airport service is located, so you can easily find your way around. You can also use the maps to locate restaurants, shops, and other amenities within the airport.
To avoid delays at SFO, make sure to check your flight status before you leave for the airport. You can do this by checking the airport's website or by signing up for flight alerts from your airline. If you do experience a delay, try to stay calm and be patient. You can use the extra time to grab a bite to eat or do some shopping within the airport.
Security Wait Times
When traveling through SF International Airport, it's important to plan ahead for TSA Security wait times. The wait times can vary depending on the time of day and the season, but generally, the airport recommends arriving at least two hours before your flight for domestic travel and three hours for international travel. During peak travel times, such as holidays and weekends, wait times can be longer. To avoid any stress or delays, it's best to check the TSA Security wait times before you arrive at the airport. You can check TSA Wait Times now, so you can budget how much time you need to get to the airport.
Navigating SFO's Terminals
San Francisco Airport has four terminals, including the International Terminal, Terminal 1, Terminal 2, and Terminal 3. The International Terminal is the largest terminal at SFO, with 15 gates and serves international flights. Terminal 1 has 25 gates and serves Southwest Airlines, while Terminal 2 has 14 gates and serves American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and Virgin America. Terminal 3 has 23 gates and serves United Airlines.
Each terminal at SFO has a variety of restaurants, shops, and services for travelers. The International Terminal has a wide range of dining options, including local favorites like Boudin Bakery and The Plant Cafe Organic. Terminal 1 has a food court with options like Burger King and Subway, while Terminal 2 has a variety of sit-down restaurants like Lark Creek Grill and Napa Farms Market. Terminal 3 has a mix of fast food and sit-down restaurants, including Starbucks and Yankee Pier.
When navigating SFO's terminals, it's important to check your airline and flight information to determine which terminal you'll need to be in. The airport offers a free AirTrain service that connects all terminals and the BART station, making it easy to get around. Additionally, there are information booths located throughout the airport to assist travelers with any questions or concerns.
Use our interactive airport map to locate food, services, and airline departure gates.
Connecting Between Terminals
San Francisco Airport has four terminals: International Terminal, Terminal 1, Terminal 2, and Terminal 3. The terminals are connected by the AirTrain, a free automated people mover system that operates 24/7. The AirTrain runs every 4-6 minutes and takes about 8-10 minutes to travel between all four terminals.
If you need to walk between terminals, the walking times are as follows:
- International Terminal to Terminal 1: 10-15 minutes
- International Terminal to Terminal 2: 15-20 minutes
- International Terminal to Terminal 3: 20-25 minutes
- Terminal 1 to Terminal 2: 5-10 minutes
- Terminal 1 to Terminal 3: 10-15 minutes
- Terminal 2 to Terminal 3: 5-10 minutes
Dining, Shopping & Enjoying the Airport
SFO offers a diverse range of dining options and shopping experiences across its terminals. From Mexican cuisine at Andale to luxury watches at Ingenuity, there's something for everyone. Whether you're in the mood for a quick bite or a leisurely meal, the San Francisco Airport has a myriad of options to choose from. And if you're looking for a unique souvenir or travel essential, the airport's many shops and stores have got you covered.
The locations of all food, shops, and services at SFO Airport can be found using iFly's interactive map. For a complete list of restaurants, bars, shops, and news stands, check out the food and shopping page.
Whether you're on a business trip, a vacation, or a layover, finding a comfortable and convenient hotel near the airport can make your travel experience much smoother. From luxury establishments like the Grand Hyatt to budget-friendly options like the Ritz Inn, these hotels are all within close proximity to the airport. Some offer complimentary shuttle services, ensuring a hassle-free transit to and from the airport. Many of these hotels also provide modern amenities such as complimentary WiFi, fitness centers, and on-site restaurants. Discover the perfect hotel for your needs with our guide to the airport Hotels.
Picking Up and Dropping Off Passengers
San Francisco International Airport offers several options for picking up and dropping off passengers. Curbside parking is available at all terminals, but it is restricted to active loading and unloading only. Drivers must stay with their vehicles at all times and are not allowed to leave them unattended. Violators may be subject to fines or towing.
If you need to wait for your arriving passenger, the airport also offers cell-phone waiting areas. These areas are designated parking spots where drivers can wait for their passengers to arrive and call them when they are ready to be picked up. The waiting areas are free of charge and are located near each terminal. Once your passenger has arrived, you can proceed to the curbside for pick-up.
Parking Facilities & Options
If you're driving to SF International Airport, you'll find a variety of parking options to choose from. There are several parking garages and lots located within the airport, as well as off-airport parking facilities that offer a more economical option.
The parking garages at SFO are located near each of the airport's terminals, making it easy to park and walk to your gate. If you're picking up or dropping off passengers, there are also cell phone waiting areas available where you can wait for your party to arrive.
For those with disabilities, there are designated handicapped parking spaces available in all of the airport's parking facilities. If you need assistance getting from your car to the terminal, there are shuttle services available to help.
If you're looking for a more affordable parking option, off-airport parking facilities are a great choice. These facilities are located near the airport and offer shuttle services to and from the terminals. They also offer competitive pricing and online reservations, making it easy to find a spot and save money on parking.
Get details about SFO parking options and rates, along with more economical off-airport parking here.
San Francisco Airport offers a variety of ground transportation options for travelers. One of the most popular options is car rental, with major providers such as Avis, Hertz, and Enterprise located on-site at the airport. Visitors can easily rent a car and explore the city and surrounding areas at their own pace.
Taxi services are also available at SFO, with designated drop-off areas located outside of each terminal. Fares vary depending on the destination, but a trip to downtown San Francisco typically costs around $50. Visitors can also use ride-sharing services like Uber or Lyft, which have designated pickup areas at the airport.
For those looking for a more affordable option, shared ride services like SuperShuttle are available. These services pick up multiple passengers and drop them off at their respective destinations. Pickup areas for shared ride services are located outside of each terminal, and fares vary depending on the destination and number of passengers.
San Francisco Airport also offers an airport shuttle service, which provides transportation to and from select hotels in the area. Pickup areas for the shuttle are located outside of each terminal, and fares vary depending on the destination and number of passengers.
Finally, public transportation options are available for those looking to save money on transportation. The Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system has a station located at the airport, providing easy access to downtown San Francisco and other destinations in the Bay Area. Additionally, SamTrans buses and Caltrain services are available for those traveling to other parts of the Bay Area.
SFO is dedicated to providing passengers with the best possible experience. The airport offers free Wi-Fi throughout all terminals, allowing passengers to stay connected with their loved ones or work while waiting for their flight.
If you have lost an item, the airport's Lost and Found office is located in the International Terminal. You can also report a lost item online via the airport's website.
For families with children, the airport has several play areas located throughout the terminals. These areas are designed to keep children entertained and engaged while waiting for their flight.
SFO Airport is committed to providing special-needs services to passengers with disabilities. The airport has wheelchair assistance available, as well as TTY phones for the hearing impaired.
There are several banking options available at the airport, including ATMs, currency exchange, and banking services.
If you require medical assistance, the airport has a medical clinic located in the International Terminal. The clinic is staffed by licensed medical professionals and is equipped to handle a variety of medical needs.
Flight Status Info
As a traveler, it's important to stay informed about the status of your flight, especially when it comes to departure times, delays, cancelations, and gate changes. Luckily, there are several ways to get flight status updates at San Francisco International Airport.
One of the most common ways to check flight status is by using the in-airport flight displays (FIDS). These displays can be found throughout the airport and provide real-time information about flight departures, arrivals, and gate information. Simply locate your flight on the display and check the status.
Another convenient way to stay updated on your flight status is by using your airline's mobile phone app. Most airlines have their own apps that allow you to check your flight status, receive alerts about delays and cancelations, and even check in for your flight. You can also opt-in to receive notifications via text, email, or push notifications.
Passengers can check the status of their flight departure at SF International Airport by visiting the flight departures page on ifly.com, which provides real-time updates on flight departures, delays, and gate information.
Airport Facts & Stats
San Francisco Airport is one of the busiest airports in the United States, serving millions of passengers each year. The airport has four terminals, including the International Terminal, Terminal 1, Terminal 2, and Terminal 3.
On average, SFO handles around 60,000 passengers daily, with an average of 1,300 daily flights. The airport serves over 100 destinations worldwide, with the top 5 destinations being Los Angeles, New York, Seattle, Denver, and Chicago.
The airport is a hub for several major airlines, including United Airlines, Alaska Airlines, and Delta Air Lines. United Airlines has the most daily flights at SFO, followed by Alaska Airlines and Delta Air Lines.
San Francisco Airport, also known as SFO, is one of the busiest airports in the United States, serving millions of passengers every year. Here is a brief history of the airport:
- 1927: SFO opens as Mills Field Municipal Airport.
- 1931: The airport is renamed San Francisco Municipal Airport.
- 1945: The airport is renamed San Francisco International Airport.
- 1954: The Central Terminal building, which is still in use today, opens.
- 1984: The airport's international terminal opens, making SFO one of the few airports in the world with a dedicated terminal for international flights.
- 2000: The airport opens a new, state-of-the-art air traffic control tower.
- 2011: SFO becomes the first airport in the United States to open a yoga room for travelers.
- 2014: The airport opens a new, LEED Gold-certified terminal for Virgin America.
- 2020: SFO is one of the many airports around the world affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, with a significant decrease in passenger traffic.
Despite the challenges of the pandemic, SFO Airport continues to be an important hub for travelers from around the world.
Airport Contact Info
San Francisco Airport Q&A
Yes. While the official name is San Francisco International Airport, it is also known as SFO.
The airport is 13 miles (21 km) south of downtown San Francisco, California.
Given the size of the airport, parking is very close if you are willing to pay. Check out SFO parking rates to see what options are available for your travel dates.
Passengers are permitted to sleep in the airport. It remains open 24 hours a day and visitors can stay inside overnight. We also recommend these awesome SFO layover ideas.