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San Francisco Airport

In this section you will find traveller airport reviews as well as our San Francisco Airport Guide with info on WiFi, lounges, facilities and services....and yes, even the names of some airport hotels in case you decide that sleeping in the airport is not for you!

I would rate SFO a very people-friendly airport!!!
-Da Norseman

Recent Review

san francisco airport
Gate 82. Photo credit: Roger.

by Kilroy
As an experienced airport sleeper (2x/month), I find SFO quite comfortable. Best sleeping spot Ive found so far is a lounge in Terminal 2 near Baggage Claim #4, with two padded benches each of which is big enough for you and the one you love.

OVERVIEW: There are four terminals at SFO (1, 2, 3 & Intl.) arranged in a circle and connected on the ticketing level by interior walkways. It takes about 15 minutes to walk the full loop. Along the way, you'll see various nooks suitable for sleeping. Aforementioned lounge seems to be the best, but you can cruise around for others. Most seating is padded but with fixed metal armrests. (Sleeping on them is an acquired skill but can be done. Try wrapping yourself around the armrests in a fetal position.) Floors are both bare and carpeted, varying by terminal. Terminal 2 has futuristic furniture that may offer better sleeping options. As always, bring a travel blanket, earplugs and sleep mask (all of which you can buy at airport shops).

INSIDE SECURITY: Secure areas may close at night and may not be connected between terminals. (Not confirmed.) FOOD: There appears to be plenty of it, both inside and outside security, at usual airport prices. SHOWERS: Available for USD 15 at the Freshen Up store outside security in the Intl. terminal (7am-11pm). TRANSPORTATION: Take SkyTrain to the BART station for a USD 8 ride to the city. Or take the SamTrans bus for USD 4 from the ground floor of the Intl. terminal. AMENITIES: Free luggage carts. Free WiFi in 45-minute gulps if you watch an ad. A fair number of AC power plugs available. AMUSEMENT: Lots of interesting museum displays throughout the terminals. SECURITY: Seems safe. Lots of police and no resident homeless population. (Still, you should always arrange your luggage so it cant walk away at night without alerting you.) HASSLES: None encountered.

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San Francisco Airport Guide

In this guide we may refer to locations as "landside" and "airside". Landside is the public area of the terminal located in the non-secure zone, before security. Airside is the secure area of the terminal that you must reach by going through security.

Airport Lounges

Day passes can be purchased to enter any of these airline lounges at the San Francisco airport.

Alaska Airlines Board Room - Location: Domestic Terminal 1, Airside, Concourse B, between Gate 22 and 24. Hours: 6am - 9pm (Sun- Fri) • 7am - 9pm (Sat)

USO - Lounge for United States Armed Forces members and their families.  Access via the elevators located behind the Delta Airlines ticket counter. Location: Terminal 1 - landside, Mezzanine Level. Hours: 24 hours per day

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Airport WiFi / Internet

Free WiFi is available at the San Francisco Airport. Connect to the "sfo Free WiFi" network.

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Airport Hotels

If sleeping in the San Francisco Airport does not appeal to you, there are hotels near the airport that offer a free airport shuttle:

To find a cheap room, there is a list of hotels near San Francisco Airport on Tripadvisor that can be sorted by price.

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More Services, Facilities & Things To Do On A Layover At The Airport

  • Aquarium: Location: Terminal 1, landside, Departures/Ticketing level near the entrance to Gates 40-48. Hours: open 24 hours.
  • Art At SFO - The airport has permanent and rotating art exhibitions throughout the terminals.
  • Aviation Museum - Location: International Terminal, Main Hall, Landside. Hours: 1030am - 430pm.
  • ATMs / Cash Machines - Locations: throughout the terminal (landside and airside)
  • Car Rentals - Alamo • Avis • Budget • Dollar • Enterprise • Fox • Hertz • National • Thrifty. Location: Rental Car Center, take the AirTrain (blue line). Hours: open 24 hours.
  • Charging Stations: Rapidly charges your iPods, cell and smart phones. Fee: yes
    Terminal 1, Boarding Area B near Gate 23
    Terminal 3, Boarding Area E near Gate 61
    Terminal 3, Boarding Area F near Gate 87
  • Children's Play Area - You can keep your small children entertained at the SFO Kid's Spot, an interactive exploration area featuring weather related exhibits from the Exploratorium of San Francisco, as well as a crawling apparatus. Locations: Terminal 2 (Boarding Area D near Gates 54A and 58B, post-security ) • Terminal 3 (Airside, Boarding area F near Gate 87A) • Terminal 3 (Airside, Boarding Area E, near Gate 62). Hours: open 24 hours.
  • Currency Exchange - Travelex America has several currency exchange offices throughout the International Terminal and one office in Terminal 3 (Boarding Area F, near Gate 71, Airside).
  • Flight Deck - interactive touchscreen kiosks with information about SFO Airport and San Francisco. Location: Terminal 3, Boarding Area E, near Gate 60, Airside. Hours: open 24 hours.
  • Food & Drinks - At the time of this update there were no 24-hour food or beverage concessions.
  • Hydration Stations - SFO has water bottle refills available at these airside locations: International Terminal (Boarding Area A, near Gate A1) • Terminal 2 (Boarding Area D, near Gates 51 and 58) • Terminal 3 (Boarding Area F, near the entrance to Gates 80-90). This is the first such amenity I have heard about. Great idea!
  • Information Desk - Locations: throughout the terminals.
  • Luggage Storage & Lockers - Available at the Airport Travel Agency. Rates vary according to size. Location:
    International Terminal - landside, Main Hall. Hours: 7:00am - 11:00pm
  • Movie and Portable Entertainment rentals - InMotion Entertainment offers electronics, accessories, movie and game rentals for your trip or extended stay at the airport. There are 3 locations:
    International Terminal - landside, Main Hall. Hours: 8:00am - 12:00am
    Terminal 3 - airside, Boarding area F near Gate 71. Hours: 6:00am - 8:00pm
    Terminal 3 - airside, Boarding area F at entrance to Gates 80-90 Located airside Concourse C. Hours: 6am-11pm
  • Museum - There are 40 exhibitions showcasing cultural, art , historical and scientific topics. Locations: Terminal 1 (Arrivals Level; Departures Level; Boarding Area B, Landside & Airside) • Terminal 2 (Departures Level, Landside & Airside) • Terminal 3 (Departures Level, Landside & Airside) • International Terminal (Main Hall and near Boarding Areas A and G, Landside & Airside). Hours: open 24 hours.
  • Reading Room - The Christian Science Reading Room offers a quiet room to read, meditate and relax. Location: Terminal 1, near the entrance to Gates 40-48, Landside. Hours: 8am - 10pm.
  • Reflection Room - The Berman Reflection Room offers a space for "quiet self-reflection and meditation". Location: International Terminal, Main Hall, Landside. Hours: 7am - 11pm.
  • Self Guided Tours - There are three self-guided tours available at SFO. Children who complete the route can receive a prize from the Information Deck upon completion (Hours: 8am - 8pm). Check out the routes: Terminal 1Terminal 2Terminal 3
  • Showers - Location: Freshen' Up International Terminal - landside, level G, Main Hall. Hours: 7:00am - 11:00pm. Fee: $15 for the Deluxe Shower (30 minute shower + 15 minute massage chair with towel, soap, shampoo, lotion, shower shoes, and a hairdryer if required) / $ 8 for the Standard Shower (20 minute shower with soap and towel provided).
  • Spa - XpresSpa offers spa services including massages, manicures, pedicures, facials and waxing. Two locations:
    International Terminal - airside, Boarding Area G near Gate 100. Hours: 7:00am - 11:00pm
    Terminal 3 - airside, Boarding Area F near Gate 68. Hours: 8:00am - 11:00pm
  • Yoga Room - In January 2012, the airport opened the first of its kind Yoga Room. Mats are available. Location: Terminal 2, airside, adjacent to the Recompose Area • Terminal 3, airside, Boarding Area E, near Gate 69.

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Airport Hours

The airport is open 24 hours. However, the security screening checkpoint hours vary according to boarding areas:

  • Boarding Area A: 5am - 1am
  • Boarding Area B:4:30am - 12:30am
  • Boarding Area C: 4am - 12:30am
  • Boarding Area D: 4:30am - 12:30am
  • Boarding Area F (checkpoint 1): 4:30am - 5:30pm
  • Boarding Area F (checkpoint 2): 4am - 12:30am
  • Boarding Area F (checkpoint 3): 4am - 12am
  • Boarding Area G: 5am - 1am

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Airport Transportation: Getting There

  • BART - rapid rail line connects to San Francisco, San Mateo County and the East Bay.
    Fare: depends on mileage
    Hours: 4:09am - 11:45pm (Mon - Fri), 5:54am - 11:45pm (Sat) and 8:00am - 11:45pm (Sun)
  • Taxis, shuttle buses and the usual means of transportation are also available.

Airport Transportation: Getting Around

  • AirTrain - AirTrain stations are located in all terminals, terminal garages and the BART Station (Parking Garage G), as well as the Rental Car Center.
    Frequency: 4 minutes
    Hours: 24 hours

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Last Updated: 06 August 2014

The information in this Airport Guide is based on information collected and/or received from the airport's and their web sites. The information above is subject to change without notice. Use it for informational purposes only to help you du ring your stay. To report errors, or to add/change any items quoted in the guide, email me.

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