When booking flights to San Francisco, most people opt to fly into San Francisco International Airport (SFO). This is the largest of the three international airports in the area.
I always fly in and out of SFO. It has the best flight options with hundreds of flights daily from more than 40 different airlines.
Another big factor for me is that this airport is the most convenient of the three. It's only about 20 minutes south of the city and there are plenty of easy, affordable transit options.
You can also find some good deals on flights to SFO. Large carriers such as United and American Airlines have dozens of flights every day in and out of SFO. You can also find domestic flights to San Francisco on Alaska, Frontier, Jet Blue, US Airways and Virgin.
Large international carries also fly in and out of SFO. You can get some good flights into the US to SFO on Air Canada, Air France, Air New Zealand, British Airways, Cathay Pacific and Lufthansa.
You can save a little money on your flight by flying mid-week. You can usually find some great deals when flying on Tuesday and Wednesday. You can also find some discounts when flying first thing in the morning or later in the evening.
Learn More: Additional Tips for Saving Money on Your Flights
There are plenty of ways to get to San Francisco after you arrive. My two favorite options after a long flight are either ashuttle or a car service. Both simplify the process of getting from the airport to your hotel.
I also recommend that you book your transfer option in advance. This can save you a little money and simplify the process once you arrive. It's always great to know exactly where you need to go the minute you arrive at a new location.
Here are the top five options:
An airport shuttle is a shared ride (up to 8 people total) with door to door service. They will pick you up at SFO and drop you at the front door of your hotel. It's cost effective and an easy way to get to and from your hotel. I typically use Super Shuttle and have had great service with them. Booking a round trip ticket in advance will also save you some money.
Book: Airport Shuttle
Learn More: Airport Shuttles
This is the perfect option if you want a more personalized service. With a private car (or limo), the driver will take you directly to your hotel. You can easily find the driver near baggage claim. It's also a reasonable option if you have 3 or more people in your group. Since they drop you off right at your hotel (with no stops in between), it's also the fastest way to get into the city.
Book: Car Service
Learn More: Car & Limo Service Details
You can also rent a car to travel from SFO to San Francisco. I recommend this as an option only if you need a car for your entire trip. Parking in the city is expensive, so even if you get a good deal on a car, the price sky rockets once you get into the city. If you only need a car for a day or two, you can also pre-book a car from one of the rental agencies right in San Francisco. Many are close to Union Square which makes the pick up and drop off process easy for you.
Learn More: San Francisco Rental Car Tips
Taking the BART, Bay Area Rapid Transit, train is another option. If you pack light and don't mind taking public transportation, then you will save some money by taking the train.
It's a quick ride into the city and it drops you off in downtown San Francisco. You can also get a ticket ahead of time to save yourself some hassle once you arrive.
The final option is to pick up a taxi at the airport. A regular taxi seats up to 4 people. You can usually squeeze one or two more people in a van taxi - similar to the one shown in the picture to the right. It's a good option from SFO, but is a little more expensive than many of the options listed above.
Learn More: Tips for Taking a Taxi from SFO
Still not sure which one is the best option for you? Download this SFO Airport transit comparison chart to see the price per person and determine the best option for you.
In additional to SFO, there are two other international airports in the Bay Area. Oakland Airport (OAK) and San Jose Airport (SCJ) are a little further from the city, but sometimes a better option if you are heading to other parts of the Bay Area.
Both airports have dozens of daily flights to San Francisco. Both have major carriers such as United, American and Delta along with regional and discount carriers.
OAK is on the eastern side of the bay. This is another large international airport near San Francisco. It is much smaller than SFO with only around a hundred flights in and out each day.
Learn More: Oakland California Airport
The San Jose Airport, known as Mineta San Jose International Airport or SJC, is at the southern end of the Bay Area. This is another small international airport. It also has around 100 flights per day.
Learn More: San Jose Airport
Most people using this airport need to use a car to get to and from their destination. Read on for some tips on renting a car at San Jose Airport.
Learn More: Car Rentals at San Jose Airport
Are you still unsure which airport will work the best for your trip? Check out the San Francisco Airports page to learn a little more about which airport is the best one for you!