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Anonymous asked in TravelAir Travel · 1 decade ago

People who have been to San Francisco International Airport before, can you please give me some advice?

I will be in the San Francisco area later this month and I need some help in figuring out exactly when I need to leave the Oakland area where I will be staying so that I can make it to the airport in time to head out for the airport on the day that I will fly out to come back to Central Florida (the day I leave will be a Monday). So here goes...

My flight leaves San Francisco International Airport at 11:35 AM and I need to get to the airport in time to be able to return my rental car to the Hertz counter, get from the Hertz counter to the main terminal, make it through security, and get to the boarding gate.

Also, I already have my flight tickets and I will only have a carry-on bag, so I do not need extra time to go to the check-in counter and luggage counter.

So with all of that in mind, what time do you think I should leave the Oakland area? I was thinking around 9:30 AM, but I don't want to leave way too early...

2 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    You don't say what airline - or whether it's international or domestic I will assume domestic.

    Almost all domestic airlines require at least a 60 minute checkin. Most suggest at least 90 minutes due to LONG LINES. You may have your tickets and no checked luggage - but you still have to get a boarding pass. Unless you are flying a carrier that has kiosks, you will need to stand in line with everyone else to get that boarding pass. Then, you must pass through security. Again, depending upon the carrier and the terminal you are flying from, the lines can be very, very long and it can take a long time to get through everything.

    Once you arrive, by car, at the San Francisco airport, you should allow 1 hour to get to the rental car agency, return the car and take the tram to the terminal-that's if you just drop the car and take the receipt. If you have to go to the counter to turn in keys or take a rental car van to the tram, you will need to add more time for that - at least another 30 minutes.

    Then, there is the traffic between Oakland and SFO. I-80 is a mess most of the time with long lines for bridge tolls. Highway 101, the road that passes the airport presents it's own problem once you are on the San Fran side of the bridge. Traffic backs up as everyone is jostling to be in the correct lane for where they are going.

    Then, once you are on 101, the traffic again can be murderous.

    If I had an 11:30AM flight, domestic, I would be AT THE CAR RENTAL AGENCY no later than 8:00AM.

    Source(s): Over 30 years in the travel business and millions of miles flown.....many from SFO.....
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  • 1 decade ago

    9:30 sounds about right, it'll take close to 30 minutes from OAK to SFO under ideal traffic conditions. Shouldn't be any rush hour traffic by then either, so I'd go for 9:30AM or slightly earlier, just in case.

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