How to Get a San Francisco Airport

By Emily Zemler; Updated August 11, 2017

Goodbye, San Francisco: Making your way to SFO

How to Get a San Francisco Airport

San Francisco International Airport is a busy airport, but there are plenty of ways to get to your flight on time. It's easily accessible from the city, despite San Francisco's heavy traffic, and you can pick from several options to travel to SFO, including public transportation, taxis and rideshares. Be sure to check your flight status before leaving for the airport, as it's common for flights to be delayed or changed at SFO.

Via public transportation

BART (Bay Area Rapid Transport) is an affordable, fast option to travel to San Francisco International Airport. BART, which connects most regions of the Bay Area, arrives directly to SFO's International Terminal and takes between 15 and 90 minutes, depending on the point of origin. Passengers flying out of Terminals 1, 2 and 3 can take the AirTrain Red Line or walk after exiting BART. All travelers, except children under age 4, are required to have a ticket to ride BART. Purchase BART tickets at the automated ticketing machines in every station or in advance online. Tickets to SFO run $8.40 to $8.95.

BART runs 4:00 a.m. to 11:45 p.m. on weekdays, 6:00 a.m. to 11:45 p.m. on Saturdays and 8:00 a.m. to 11:45 p.m. on Sundays. It's available year-round, but it's advised to check the schedule ahead of time in case of closures. BART stations also offer long-term parking lots, where cars can be left for a daily fee while traveling.

Via shared vans

Travelers on a budget should consider booking a shared ride van to journey to SFO. There are several companies who operate in the Bay Area, including SuperShuttle and Airport Express. Book in advance online or via phone, and be ready for a scheduled pick-up time ahead of your flight. Shared ride vans usually pick up customers with lots of time to spare in case of traffic or weather considerations. A full list of companies is available on the SFO website. All recommended companies cost $17 for a one-way journey and allot between 30 and 90 minutes for the ride.

Via taxi

A taxi is a pricier option, but one that can be convenient for travelers with bulky luggage or early morning flights. Hail a taxi anywhere around the city or book in advance via phone, with an average $47.09 - $67.09 fee from the Bay Area to SFO. Be sure to allow extra time for traffic during rush hour and remember that a customary tip is not included in your fare.

Via app

Uber was born in San Francisco, so it's a popular choice for airport travel in the city. Lyft, Wingz and Sitbaq also service the Bay Area with app-based ride services. Request the car of choice using your phone app, and meet in the location of your choice. Be sure to give yourself enough time to beat any traffic on the way to the airport. An uberX from downtown San Francisco to SFO is approximately $26 to $33, with tip included.

Via car

Drive yourself to SFO or hitch a friend with a friend or relative. If you've rented a car, be sure to allow extra time to return the vehicle and get to the right terminal. SFO is located south of San Francisco along Highway 101 and is about a 30-minute drive from downtown, depending on traffic. Use Google Maps to find the best route to the airport, and check Waze for road closures or traffic jams.

About the Author

Emily Zemler