Log In

Search form

You are here

Holiday Travel Season Underway at SFO

Airport outlines travel tips, airport amenities, and lighting ceremony open to the public

San Francisco International Airport (SFO) announced the start of the holiday travel season, outlining travel tips, airport amenities, and an event to illuminate the Airport exterior in holiday lighting.  SFO officials expect approximately 6.5 million passengers to travel through SFO between November 18, 2016 and January 2, 2017.  This represents a 5.7% increase in traffic compared to the same period last year.  The busiest single day is anticipated to be Sunday, November 27th, with over 160,000 travelers passing through SFO.

“The holiday travel season is about connecting people; bringing friends and family together to celebrate traditions and create new memories,” said Airport Director Ivar C. Satero.  “We’re committed to make the airport experience an enjoyable part of this process.  With guest-friendly amenities and festive lighting, our holiday spirit will be on full display this season.”

Tips for Travelers

Passengers traveling during the holiday season are strongly encouraged to arrive at the airport at least 2 hours prior to departure for domestic flights and 3 hours prior to departure for international flights.

Passengers who pack liquids or gels as carry-on baggage are limited to three (3) ounces or less.  Such items should be packed in a single re-sealable quart-size plastic bag, with one per traveler.

For more detailed information and the latest security rules, please visit: www.tsa.gov.

Options to save time at security checkpoints
Travelers have several options which can save time at the security checkpoint process.  The CLEAR product is available at SFO, offering a membership program which provides expedited access to all security checkpoints.  For more information, visit: www.clearme.com.

The TSA offers the PreCheck program of expedited screening at SFO. This program can be joined on a membership basis, through a PreCheck enrollment center located in the International Terminal, near the BART station.  For more information, visit: http://www.tsa.gov/tsa-precheck.

Save Time During Immigration
Travelers have a variety of options to save time on arriving international flights.  U.S. Customs and Border Protection offers Global Entry, a program offering expedited clearance for pre-approved low-risk travelers upon arrival into the United States.  Approved Global Entry participants are also eligible to participate in TSA Pre-Check.  SFO features a Global Entry enrollment office, located on the arrivals level of the International Terminal.

SFO offers Automated Passport Control (APC) kiosks to expedite the customs entry process for international arriving passengers.  The kiosks allow eligible international travelers to submit their customs declaration form and biographic information electronically, thereby reducing the time they spend with a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer.  Individuals can complete the process in approximately 90 seconds.

SFO is also featured on Mobile Passport Control (MPC), the first authorized mobile app to expedite a traveler’s arrival into the United States, allowing eligible travelers to bypass a traditional queue by submitting their passport information and customs declaration form to CBP via smartphone and/or tablet prior to arrival.

Getting to SFO Quickly and Conveniently

Facility Closures for Terminal 1 Renovation
The extensive renovation of Terminal 1 is underway.  On both the departure and arrival levels of Terminal 1, the roadway lane closest to the terminal, and curbside area, is closed to accommodate construction activity.  In addition, the connecting walkway between the International Terminal and Terminal 1 is closed.  Passengers will need to use AirTrain to transfer between International Boarding Area A and Terminal 1.  For more information, please visit www.flysfo.com/T1.

Transit & Shared Rides
With holiday passenger volumes, SFO recommends that travelers take transit or share rides to the airport.  BART provides direct service from San Francisco and the East Bay, and there are several shuttle services to SFO.  To learn more about transportation options and to plan your trip to SFO, visit www.flysfo.com/to-from/overview.  If travelers elect to drive, they should allow extra time for parking, or have someone drop them off.  Travelers are encouraged to check with their airline to confirm their flight.

Parking availability will be tight this Thanksgiving
In anticipation of peak holiday parking demand, SFO strongly advises travelers to take an alternate mode of transportation to and from the Airport.  All parking facilities are expected to be at or near capacity by Thanksgiving and the day after, so please plan accordingly.  The daily maximum parking rate at Long Term Parking is $25 per day; the International Garages and the Domestic Garage is $36 per day.  For more information, visit www.flysfo.com/to-from/parking.

Kiss-and-Fly; Cell Phone Lot; Short-Term Parking for $2
During periods of peak traffic, SFO encourages people to drop off friends and family at the Kiss-and-Fly curb at the rental car facility, where they can catch the AirTrain and be at the Airport in minutes.  SFO also offers a free cell-phone waiting lot, located adjacent to the Long Term Parking surface lot just five minutes north of the terminals.  The Airport also offers short-term parking at $2 per 15 minutes in the hourly terminal garages for people who want to park and help their arriving parties at baggage claim.

Mobile Car-Washing Service Available in Airport Parking Lots
Parking lots at SFO feature an innovative mobile car-washing service, which allows customers to park in any of the Airport’s parking lots, keep their keys, and return to a freshly-cleaned vehicle.  Customers can visit www.BuyMyWash.com to schedule the service.  Washing is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  All reservations must be made at least one day in advance.  Prices start at $19.95 for a standard passenger vehicle.

Holiday cheer at SFO

Holiday Lighting Event
The illumination of exterior lighting at SFO has been a holiday tradition for over 10 years.  Featuring over 150 miles of wiring and more than 3.3 million LEDs, holiday lighting at SFO is one of the largest public displays of lights in the entire Bay Area.  A ceremony, open to media and the public, will be held on Tuesday, November 29th at 5:00pm to turn on the holiday lighting.  The event will be held on the connecting bridge between Garages “A” and “G”.  Pedestrian access is available from Level 3 of Garage “G”.  For a video of the SFO holiday lighting program, please visit: https://youtu.be/BBfrjDUf2cE

SFO Wag Brigade Unveils a New Member on December 5th
Launched three years ago, the SFO Wag Brigade brings trained dogs to the terminals to make passenger travel more enjoyable.  The San Francisco chapter of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) certifies all participating animals through their Animal Assisted Therapy (ATT) Program.

On December 5th, SFO will unveil the first non-canine member of the Wag Brigade.  Follow SFO at www.twitter.com/flysfo and  www.facebook.com/flysfo for more details.