Airport Shuttle in San Francisco

Tips for Shuttles to and from SFO & San Francisco


An airport shuttle in San Francisco is an easy way to get to and from the San Francisco International Airport (SFO). This is my favorite option because it's cost effective and easy. airport shuttle in san francisco

The most common type of shuttle is a shared ride service, in which you share a van with around six to eight other people, and they pick you up and drop you off at the front door of your hotel.

If you are traveling with a group of six to eight other people, you can alternatively rent an entire shuttle. This saves you some money compared to booking individual seats.

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Here are a few of the pros and cons of the shared ride option:

Pros Cons
Flat Rate: The ride is a flat rate from the airport to your destination. Even if you hit traffic or it takes a little longer to get to your hotel, you know the rate before you hop in the shuttle. Large Luggage: They do have limited space, so if you have a lot of luggage—usually more than two bags per person—you might have to pay an additional fee.
Cost effective: The cost is around $17 per person, making it a cost effective option for most group sizes. Longer Arrival Time: This is a shared service so there are additional stops along the way. This means it will take you a little longer to get to and from your destination.
door-to-door Service: All of the shared-ride shuttles drop you off at the front door of your hotel or vacation residence. Early Pick Up: When leaving from the city, they pick you up a little earlier than if you were to take a cab. This is to ensure that everyone makes their flight. Plan on them arriving about 3 to 4 hours before your flight.

Reservations: Making a reservation simplifies your arrival process.

Ready to book? Make your reservation now!

Wait Times: Even with a reservation, you will have to wait for your shuttle to arrive. This is usually only about 15 to 20 minutes after you check in.

I have always had good luck with shared-ride shuttles. In fact, I use them quite a bit when I am traveling in order to save a little money.

However, I know others have had complaints about this service. To give you a complete picture of this option, I investigated some of these complaints.

Here are two issues I ran across a few times:

  • Pick Up Early Morning: I found several complaints, regarding almost all of the companies, that the vans showed up late or not at all in the early morning hours. Most of these were for pick up times from around 3 to 6 am.

  • Arrival Late at Night: I found complaints for many people who arrived at SFO after midnight. At this time of day, many people had to wait. This is common since there are fewer flights and fewer shuttles available. Some said they had to wait for more than 30 minutes for their ride to arrive.

If your planned arrival or departure is at either of these odd hours, you will want to weigh your options. If you decide to book a shuttle during these times, make sure you have the number to your shuttle company and call them to make sure your pick up time is still scheduled.

If you are staying at a hotel, they can also help you contact your shuttle company. If yours does not arrive, your hotel can call you a cab so you don't miss your flight!

SFO Shuttles: Recommended Companies

There are a number of companies that run between SFO and the city. Here are the top four based on pricing and availability.

Company Pricing Other Information & Notes
Airport Express $17 per adult, one way

$10 per child, one-way

Discounts if you book a round trip ticket

$30 per adult, round trip

$20 per child, round trip


American Airporter $17 per person, one way

$10 per additional person at the same address

Reservations required


Lorrie's $17 per person, one way

Discounts available when booking a round trip ticket

Super Shuttle

$17 per person for hotels

$17 for first passenger for residences, $10 for additional passengers at the same stop

This is usually the service I use. They are the largest and best known in the industry. I also like them because they made an extra effort for me one time. I had a cancelled flight, but was able to get on an earlier flight that day. Even though they require 24 hours notice for changes or reservations, they went the extra mile and found a spot for me so I could get to my flight almost two hours earlier than my original schedule. I know they can't always do this, but I really appreciated their extra effort!

Book Your Super Shuttle Transfer to or from the Airport

If you know you need a ride both to and from SFO, I recommend booking a round trip ticket in advance. This will save you a little money and you will not have to worry about booking it during your trip.

Top Hotels

Are you still searching for a hotel for your stay? Here are some of my favorites by budget, amenities and neighborhood.

Where To Find the Shuttles at SFO

There are four terminals at SFO and all have a designated airport shuttle stop in San Francisco. After you have your bags, look for the signs above the exit doors that say "door-to-door shuttles."

One thing to note is that they are all located in departures, not arrivals. If you checked your bag, you will most likely need to head upstairs to the ticketing area to find the door-to-door shuttle area.

Here is a map from the official San Francisco airport site. It shows you where all of the stops are located. Some of the terminals have more than one pick up area, so proceed to the closest one for more information on where your shuttle picks up passengers.

airport shuttle in san francisco

When you reach the shuttle stop area, you will see signs for all of the different companies. Each one has a designated area for their shuttles to stop. Find the sign for yours and wait there.

If you need to call for your shuttle, now is the time to call them for a pick up if you have not already called. It might take them around 20 minutes or so to arrive, so I recommend calling them as soon as you have your luggage and are heading to your stop.

Free Hotel Airport Service to SFO

The only hotels in the area that offer free shuttles are those near the airport. There are no hotels located right in San Francisco that offer a free pick-up. This is why so many people pay to use the commercial shuttles.

If you are staying at one of the hotels near the airport, then there is a good chance that your hotel offers a ride to and from SFO. When you are booking your hotel room, make sure you ask them for details. These are usually free and run whenever they are needed.

Other SFO Transit Options

BART Train: This is the other option that I use quite a bit. It is perfect—and cheap—if you pack light. You will breeze past any traffic with a travel time of less than 30 minutes between Union Square and SFO.

Car or Limo Service: Booking a direct car service is more expensive, but allows you a faster ride to and from SFO. Click through to discover more information on this option.

Rental Car: A rental car is a more expensive option, since parking in the city is so expensive. If you are looking at this option, click through for some additional tips when booking a rental car here.

Taxi: The final option is a taxi. Discover tips for getting a taxi at SFO including info on pricing and how long it will take.

Here is more information on transportation for you if you are arriving or departing from one of the other two airports in the Bay Area:

> > Airport Shuttle Tips

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