By Air, San Francisco
Most visitors to San Francisco will arrive a the city's main international airport. There are direct flights to Asia, Europe, and all over the United States. This makes San Francisco an ideal gateway city. Once you arrive here, there is easy public transportation to the city. BART, the train network that runs throughout the bay area, now directly accesses the airport. This will provide a direct link into the city. There are also public busses that serve the airport. If you are mainly sticking to the city center, there should be no reason to get an expensive cab or to rent a car. You do not want to spend half of your trip looking for a parking spot.
Another airport, Oakland International, is just across the bay from San Francisco's airport. It has a bus known as Air Bart that quicly accesses BART from that side of the bay. Likewise, BART can bring you from Oakland into the city.
Technically, this airport is south of the city limits between South San Francisco and Burlingame in San Mateo County. I have gone into and out of this airport on one occasion in August, 1985. I flew in on TWA 843 from New York's John F. Kennedy Airport and back out on TWA 842 to New York. San Francisco International stands out as my first final destination airport. I enjoyed my first two flights, but it was sure enough nice to finish that 5-hour flight from New York. This is the one part of San Francisco I may visit in the future because it may be the launching point for any future trip to Asia or Australia. SFO is easier and more compact than LAX.
We hesitated a long between San Francisco and Los Angeles to choose the place to begin our round trip in 2004.
We noticed there are more direct flights from Paris to SF than to LA, mainly because a part of the flights to LA have a transfer in SF.
There was also a light difference of price.
So we landed in SF at the beginning of the afternoon, with a 9 hour time lag.
Our choice was for United Airlines because we noticed they are often on time and because they have a good service especially the little indidual TV screens are very pleasant.
Time : 11:30 (Paris - SF), 10:30 (SF - Paris)
Price : 880 euros in June through Travelocity.
The San Francisco International Airport is a modern and efficient facility with information booths in each terminal's baggage claim area and easy connections to downtown. The best way to get there in my opinion is on the train (BART). The BART station is located on the Departures/Ticketing Level (Level 3) of the International Terminal and a ticket into town will only set you back $4.95 compared to around $30 for a taxi or a minimum of $12 for a shuttle bus.
We flew Manchester/England to New York then had about a 2 hour wait, then flew to San Francisco. It was a really long journey, especially as it was our first time to the States.
We flew with Delta airlines, and I think the cost was just over £400.00 each return. But that was August when prices are usually higher. I had never flown with Delta before and I can honestly say, the staff and service were extremely good on both outward and inward flights.
The photo was taken as we were coming into land at San Francisco airport.
San Francisco is served by three international airports. The largest of the three is San Francisco International, or SFO for short. The airport is located around five miles down from the city center in the suburb of South San Francisco. Virtually all international flights come into here, as well as a great deal of domestic as well. SFO has gone under some major reconstruction over the last ten years. There's now a huge and spectacular international terminal that greets people flying from overseas. At the moment, they're completing a BART terminal here, which finally links the airport with the city's metro network. So if you see some contruction cranes nearby, you'll understand why.
Further away and across the bay is Oakland International, which serves some international flights and a great deal of domestic. It's known to be one of the cheaper airports to come in and out of in the Bay Area.
Finally the furthest of all is San Jose International 40 miles south, which serves the Silicon Valley.
You'll most likely arrive at San Francisco International Airport. The airport has four terminals: North, South, Central (which is currently closed for renovations) and International. The airport is constantly undergoing reconstruction, and soon it will be linked to the region via BART (see above) and have its own intrairport rail service. The landing at SFO, as the airport is locally known, is spectacular, setting passengers down just as they think they'll plunge into the bay below. Of course, leaving the airport is always the primary concern. There are several ways to leave the airport. One is the SamTrans bus, which is incredibly cheap and offers dirct service to downtown San Francisco, but also may take several hours over congested local roads. The other option is taking a shuttle bus to the BART or CalTrain stations nearby and then taking rail into the city. This may either take a prohibitively long period of time or wind up costing quite a bit. The two options recommended are shuttle van or taxi. Shuttle van is optimal if staying in a hotel near Union Square, where most of the van routes terminate, or if one is travelling alone, in which case th fare is relatively cheap. If travelling with more than three people, however, it is actually cheaper to hail a taxi downtown, even in rush hour traffic. If for some reason you'd like to dodge SFO, which is actually quite pleasant and free of congestion, there are other international airports available in Oakland and San Jose. The Oakland airport is closest to San Francisco, and offers BART service, while the San Jose airport is much farther from San Francisco and more difficult to arrive in the city from.
Unfortunately, there is no direct flight Brussels - SF.
Some of the possibilities are :
I did :
Brussel-Paris by train (TGV/Thalys: 1h)
It should have been a good idea, you avoid all the security check at a 3d airport...
... well not that sure : Once we finally were in the plane, we had to wait 3h untill the crew finally told us the airport was closed due to frost and snow!!
I was flying with United Airline, not that sure this is normal behaviour in such a case but their reaction was simply: "try to find a hotel yourself, we'll take offf tomorrow at 8am"...
SAN FRANCISCO AIRPORT
SAN JOSE AIRPORT
TRANSPORTATION SECURITY ADMINISTRATION
(For travel security tips, post 9/11)
If you are looking for flights and comparing prices to San Frsncisco, be sure to include the San Jose and Oakland airports in your search as well... Both are driving distance to San Francisco, Oakland is even near a BART station so you wouldn't have to rent a car.
SFO is one of the main airports in the aera. Other options are the Oakland airport which is across the bay and the San Jose Airport which is in the South Bay about 50 miles south of SF. SFO itself is a good 15 to 20 minutes from the city. For more information see: http://www.flysfo.com/
Cabs and busses can be found at the airport that will take you into the city. Soon BART will too. Another option is a rental car.
Warning : the distance between SF Airport and the city is quite long... If you just stop there for some hours before taking another plane, take care to have at least 6 or 8 hours not to miss your flight ;-)
Well there are many ways to get there but the easitest is to fly directly from almost any major US city with United Airlines. You should have no problem as long as your local airport is one served by United Airlines. If traveling from Europe, fly with Lurthansa. They have direct flights from Munich and Frankfurt (twice a day) directly to San Francisco. If you're leaving the city, take Route 280. It has a spectacular view when traveling south.
Traffic is horrendous in San Francisco. Especially trying to get into the city. My suggestion is to try to leave as much to public transportation, (cabs trollies, buses) as possible. Try walking or biking your way arround. I didn't try it but I saw a bunch of people rent bicycles. If you do rent a car, expect to pay for expensive parking and a lot of bumper to bumper traffic. Stay out of China-town with your car. Too many pedestrians.
San Francisco International Airport (SFO) is infamous for its delays---and not just in the kind of weather that'd tie up planes in, say, Chicago (severe thunderstorms, snow, etc.)---the normal morning low clouds/fog weather in summer is enough to cause big-time delays. You're better off with Oakland International (OAK), which has a much better record---and non-stop flights from Atlanta Chicago, Dallas, Denver, and New York City.
Getting around SF and the greater Bay Area is easy...by far the best mass transit in California. MUNI serves the City, while BART serves the East Bay and CalTrain (with a station next to Pac Bell Park) serves the Pensulia burbs all the way to San Jose.
i flew into the SFO airport. there is also the san jose and oakland airports nearby. if you do not have a car while you are in san francisco, i recommend getting a shuttle, rather than a taxi to wherever you are staying. it ranges from about 12-17 dollars to be taken from the airport to your hotel. you will be going with a few other passengers, so you may not be the first to be dropped off..i personally appreciated this though, it gave me a chance to see more of the city as other people were let off at their hotels.
while in the city lookout for a blue booklet with san francisco coupons. i found a $10 dollar coupon for american airporters shuttle for my trip back to the aiport. i paid $17 on my way into san francisco. don't forget to tip the driver. and if you are coming from san jose, or oakland airports the cost of these shuttles will be from $40.00-$90.00...
in union square you will find the powell and market st station. here you have access to the cable cars, muni, bus, and bart railway systems. if you are staying for multiple days i would recommend getting a muni pass. it's $10.00 for 3 days, unlimited use of cable cars, muni or bus transportation. note that the 'bart' is not included in the muni pass. once you are on powell and market you'll see an escalator going down. if you take it, and go straight ahead you will find the sf visitor's center with an array of brochures. there are also people there to help answer your questions. ..but the best way of transportation, which most people use..is to walk! you can see a lot of the city just by walking around.