San Francisco Airport, often referred to by its IATA airport code SFO, is an international airport near San Bruno and Millbrae in unincorporated San Mateo County.
The airport is owned and operated by the City and County of San Francisco. It is 13 miles (21 km) south of downtown San Francisco, California, and serves Northern California's greater San Francisco Bay Area and is the largest of the three area airports.
Airport Stats & Facts
- SFO is the second busiest airport in California.
- The International Terminal is the largest in North America, and also the largest building in the world built on base isolators to protect against earthquakes.
- In 2019, it was the 7th-busiest airport in the United States and the 24th-busiest in the world, by passenger count.
- In 2019, the airport served more than 57 million passengers.
- SFO was voted The Best International Airport in North America in the World Airport Survey by Skytrax.
Airport Traveling Tips
- The Airport is busy during the morning hours between 7:00 am - 8:00 am and in the afternoon between 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm.
- Arrive 2 hours before a domestic flight departure and 3 hours before an international flight departure to account for TSA security wait times and any possible delays.
- For arriving flights: Airport Flight Status provides airport arrival times, delays, time-to-land, and gate info.
- For departing flights: Departing Flight Status lists actual vs scheduled departure times, flight delays, map tracking, and airport gate info.
- To get the best fares, search for flight options at SFO airport here.
The Airport has 4 terminals - 1, 2, 3, and International and 7 concourses (Boarding Areas A-G) with a total of 115 gates arranged alphabetically in a counterclockwise ring. To see the terminal locations and for additional information please refer to the San Francisco airport map.
Harvey Milk Terminal 1
It was formerly known as the “South Terminal.” This terminal is composed of:
Boarding Area B - 9 Gates (B6-B9, B12-B14, B17, and B18)
Boarding Area C - 10 Gates (C2-C11)
It was formerly known as the “Central Terminal.” This terminal has only 1 concourse:
Boarding Area D - 17 Gates (D1-D12 and D14-D18)
It was formerly known as the “North Terminal.” This terminal is composed of:
Boarding Area E - 13 Gates (E1-E13)
Boarding Area F - 23 Gates (F1-F3, 3A, and F4-F22)
The International Terminal is composed of 2 Boarding Areas:
Boarding Area A - 15 Gates (A1-A15)
Boarding Area G - 14 Gates (G1-G14)
San Francisco Airport serves as a hub for United and Alaska Airlines. It also serves various other airlines including American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Southwest Airlines, Frontier Airlines, Singapore Airlines, and more. View the full list of airlines served at SFO Airport.
Short-Term and Long-Term
Parking at SFO Airport is available at the terminals. From hourly and daily to long-term parking, there are several options at the Airport.
Short-Term Rates - $2 per 15 minutes and $36 max per 24 hours
Long-Term Rates - $2 per 15 minutes and $18 max per 2 hours
Many parking lots offer affordable off-site parking near SFO Airport. Most of the off-site parking lots allow 24/7 access.
After arriving at the airport, passengers have several options for ground transport to their next destination. Some of the transportation options include airport shuttles, car rentals, and buses. In addition, many passengers also utilize ride services like Uber, Lyft, and taxis.
Airport Car Rental
Car Rentals are available at the airport rental car center, featuring multiple car rental agencies onsite at the airport. Hertz, Enterprise, National, and other well-known car rental providers offer airport travelers a large variety of vehicles to choose from.
Airport Shuttle Services are a great way to travel from San Francisco Airport. With the availability of various shuttle services, you can get a ride to almost any nearby location.
Buses & Trains
Public transportation is available from the airport to all major areas nearby. SamTrans Public Buses offer 24-hour service between SFO and San Mateo County, as well as parts of San Francisco. BART Rapid Rail serves directly northern San Mateo County, San Francisco, and the East Bay.
Amenities & Services
To help you enjoy your stay, San Francisco Airport provides visitors with many different amenities and services including:
- Restaurants, cafes, and bars.
- Stores, gift shops, and local souvenir shops.
- Shoeshine stations and massage bars.
- Multiple art installations and exhibits on display.
- Free Wi-Fi internet throughout the entire airport.
- Currency exchange.
Passenger Pickup and Drop-off
- A Pickup level is on the 5th floor, allowing drivers and travelers an easy way to avoid congestion.
- The top floor of the Domestic Parking Garage has a drop-off lane adjacent to the connecting walkways to each terminal.
Address: San Francisco Intl Airport, San Francisco, CA 94128, USA
Phone: (650) 821 8211 or 800 435 9736
Have you lost an item at the airport? Lost & Found.
San Francisco Airport: A Brief History Timeline
- On 15 March, 1927, the City and County of San Francisco first leased 150 acres (61 ha) at the airport site.
- On May 7, 1927, San Francisco held a dedication ceremony at the airfield and officially named the Mills Field Municipal Airport of San Francisco.
- In 1931, the airport’s name was officially changed to San Francisco Airport and “International” was added at the end of World War ll, as overseas services rapidly expanded.
- In 1937, a new passenger terminal was opened.
- On August 27, 1954, SFO’s new Terminal Building was opened.
- In 1985, the building was heavily rebuilt as the International Terminal and then modified again as the current Terminal 2.
- In 1989, a master plan and Environmental Impact Report were prepared to guide development over the next two decades.
- In 2000, December, a $2.4 billion International Terminal Complex was opened.
- On June 22, 2003, a long-planned extension of the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system was opened.
- In 2018, September, SFO announced plans to use sustainable fuels after signing an agreement with fuel suppliers, airlines, and agencies.
- A projected rebuild of Terminal 1 (South Terminal) is scheduled to be completed by 2024.
Where is the lot to wait for flights to arrive?
Asked by Sharon C Cornelius - Thu, 28 April
The address for the Cell Phone Lot is: San Bruno Ave, N McDonnell Rd, San Francisco, CA 94128. We suggest putting that into your GPS.
Can I store bags while on layover in San Francisico?
Asked by marta - Fri, 8 April
Yes, storage facilities are located pre-security in the International Terminal Main Hall. They are open daily from 6am to 11pm.
Are there automated currency exchange machines that sell Vietnamese Dong in the International Terminal at SFO?
Asked by Kathleen - Tue, 22 March
No, no currency exchange is offered at this airport at this time.
Where is American Airlines baggage claim?
Asked by brad niesen - Tue, 15 March
American Airlines operates out of Terminal 1 at this airport. Terminal 1's baggage claim is located on Level 2 of the Terminal.
Is there a fee at the airport for using the shuttle? To get to Terminal 2, for example.
Asked by marilyn - Mon, 7 March
You can use the AirTran to get between Terminals, which is free.
I lost my luggage, what should I do?
Asked by harinder khahera - Tue, 1 March
Where is currency exchange at SFO?
Asked by Pat Gilbert - Mon, 28 February
Unfortunately, currency exchange is no longer available in the airport.
What is exchange rate at Travelex?
Asked by Joe - Tue, 15 February
Which Terminal for Frontier?
Asked by James Lau - Mon, 14 February
Frontier uses the IN - International Terminal for both departing and arriving flights.
How long does it take to get through customs?
Asked by Donna - Sun, 13 February
The wait for customs can really vary. The airport suggests that you check with your airline directly for your suggested arrival time. For international flights, most airlines recommend arriving three hours before departure.
Have a question about San Francisco Airport?
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.