Oakland to SFO at 7AM
December 12, 2011 7:58 AM   Subscribe

I live in downtown Oakland, near 12th St. BART, and I have a flight at SFO at 7AM. I imagine this means I'd need to get to the airport around 6:20. I'd prefer to take BART to SFO but it is not running that early (is it?). What options do I have to get there?
posted by ejfox to Travel & Transportation around San Francisco, CA (25 answers total)
BART is fine.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:01 AM on December 12, 2011

It depends whether it's during the week or not. If it's Sat or Sun, take an airport shuttle like (though I'm not recommending them) Supershuttle.

Weekdays (4:00 am - Midnight)
Saturday (6:00 am - Midnight)
Sunday (8:00 am - Midnight)
posted by liketitanic at 8:01 AM on December 12, 2011

Sorry, should have clarified, part of why I was asking. The date will be Saturday Dec 24th- good to know that BART starts at 6AM! That should probably work. Off to go check if there's any BART schedule weirdness on Christmas eve...
posted by ejfox at 8:03 AM on December 12, 2011

BART starts at 4:43 AM from that station to SFO.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:04 AM on December 12, 2011

As noted above, if it's a weekday you should be fine. You can check Transit 511 for more info.

(Also, not to derail but when is the last time you flew? You need to check in at least an hour prior to your flight or you run the real risk of not making it through security and on the flight. SFO in the morning can be crazy - a friend just got denied boarding on a flight this morning because she hit the boarding gate at 20 minutes till departure. YMMV, obviously.)
posted by hapax_legomenon at 8:08 AM on December 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

Just a note from someone who travels often, in general, and specifically on holidays too.

I really don't think this will work for you. If your flight leaves at 7am...

on preview others have piped up to say similar.

Arrange a ride. There is no way this works.
posted by FlamingBore at 8:10 AM on December 12, 2011

The Saturday before Christmas I would give myself 90 minutes at the airport.
posted by COD at 8:17 AM on December 12, 2011

Okay, yeah, thank you for the reality checks guys, I am not thinking this through properly.

@FlamingBore: How would you suggest arranging a ride?
posted by ejfox at 8:18 AM on December 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

40 minutes is dangerous for SFO... I'm assuming you're not checking bags (if you are, that's definitely too late, no question), and checking in online, so you don't have to worry about the check-in cutoff times, but if you really want to make that flight give yourself a bare minimum of an hour, and more is probably a good idea.
posted by brainmouse at 8:19 AM on December 12, 2011

Supershuttle or one of its competitors will probably be your least expensive (and still not that cheap) option. You tell them what time your flight is and they come pick you up at some horrifying hour. If you don't want to get to SFO the full two hours before your flight, you can lie to them about your flight time, but that gets a little complicated because you may not be the only or last pickup on their route.

We flew to PDX recently (on a Saturday) and because we overslept, we got to SFO about 20 minutes before boarding started. We got through security in good time, but only because my partner has platinum or whatever status for United, so we could use the Special People line, which was much, much shorter than the Regular People line. Do not count on it being speedy or uncrowded, even (or especially?) on Christmas Eve, if you are not a Special Person. And if you're checking anything, the whole process will take longer.
posted by rtha at 8:35 AM on December 12, 2011

Bayporter Express. It should run you about $20, though I haven't used it in two years, so it might be more. There's often a coupon to be found somewhere.

In theory, you can get to SFO by bus early in the morning, I think, but I've not tried it.
posted by hoyland at 8:37 AM on December 12, 2011

I did mean to add links - should probably have more coffee.

These are the shuttle services I see at SFO (I've only used SuperShuttle, can't comment on the others): Quake City Shuttle; Lorrie's, and there's a bunch more listed here.
posted by rtha at 8:39 AM on December 12, 2011

Maybe TaskRabbit?
posted by carmicha at 9:05 AM on December 12, 2011

If you absolutely can't get a ride to SFO, forget BART for that early on a Saturday. Here's a PITA way that will work: Take the allnighter 800 bus from 12th St Oakland to downtown SF. Reserve a SuperShuttle to pick you up at a hotel (ideally, one that doesn't have their own shuttle service) near the bus dropoff.

If you get it from a hotel you'll have a better chance of getting a full shuttle, which means it will be faster/more direct, and will be cheaper than getting a shuttle with the surcharge from the East Bay to SFO. If you're not on a budget, get a shuttle.
posted by quarterframer at 9:28 AM on December 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

If you're not on a budget, get a shuttle (for the entire trip).
posted by quarterframer at 9:29 AM on December 12, 2011

If you go the Supershuttle route, one caveat: give yourself plenty of extra time. I took a late-night Supershuttle from OAK into San Francisco last year and because you're basically at the mercy of whoever else signs up around the same time and where they're going, my shuttle took me all the way around the bay to drop someone off at Stanford. It wound up taking nearly an hour and a half.

The driver was somewhat apologetic and said that during peak hours they usually have at least two shuttles running; one that takes the route around the bay and the other that goes straight over the Bay Bridge, but in off hours they only run one. It would probably be worth asking about that for an early-morning pickup.
posted by usonian at 9:40 AM on December 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

If you live near 12th st BART, why not just walk to the taxi stand at 13th and Broadway? In fact you could probably stroll by before your trip and ask the guys there if there will be anyone around at 6am Christmas eve, just to make sure. Not cheap, certainly.

Whenever my boyfriend needs to go to SFO and BART isn't leaving early enough, he just calls a cab the night before- usually Friendly Cab. So far no problems with them showing up in the morning- they are often early.
posted by oneirodynia at 11:08 AM on December 12, 2011

SFO at the best of times tends to be very busy early in the morning but on the 24th? I would give yourself a ton of extra time. Supershuttle tends to want to get you there crazy early but on that day I'd let them give you all that extra time as check in lines will be nuts (everyone is going to be checking bags and all the flights are going to be packed).
posted by marylynn at 11:39 AM on December 12, 2011

Just FYI: I cab from Jack London Square (so very nearby) to SFO once a month or so for work, and it's around $80. Insane.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 12:06 PM on December 12, 2011

. I'd prefer to take BART to SFO

Well, we'd all prefer to take the least expensive option, but that's not going to work for you. The most effective way to get to SFO from the East Bay on a reasonable budget is to sign up for a Supershuttle-type service. Print out your ticket at home and schedule a 4:30am-5am (at the latest) pickup with the expectation that you'll arrive at 6, as long as you're not checking any bags. Catch up on sleep on the plane.
posted by deanc at 12:18 PM on December 12, 2011

If money is a real concern here and you can't afford the shuttle consider catching the last train the night before, bringing a pillow and hunkering down in the quietest corner you can find. I've done that once at SFO and in the reverse (arrived very late at night after the Tube had stopped running) at Heathrow. Not my favorite, but it worked.
posted by FlamingBore at 12:24 PM on December 12, 2011

the Special People line, which was much, much shorter than the Regular People line.

I was a Special Person at SFO in September and at Thanksgiving. The line is shorter, but it can still be pretty time-consuming, especially if Special People's children and pets are involved.
posted by jgirl at 1:07 PM on December 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

Take AC Transit route 800 from Downtown Oakland to San Francisco. It runs about every 30 minutes all night long after midnight, and only takes about half an hour to get from Oakland to S.F.

Be sure to ask your driver for the best stop in S.F. though. It looks like it might drive all the way to Van Ness and Market before doubling back to the temporary transbay terminal is, which is near where your next connection is. Their schedule is confusing and they may have limited stops at that time of night, so just in case you get unceremoniously dropped off at Market and Van Ness, be prepared to hop a cab for the short ride back. (You can call 415-333-3333 for Yellow Cab or 415-626-4733 for Green Cab, which tends to be better at answering their phones quickly.)

You're going to want to connect to either the 5 am or 5:30 am SamTrans 292, which leaves near the temp. transbay terminal in downtown S.F., and arrives at SFO at 5:40 am and 6:10 am, respectively. They have another bus that gets there about 6:45, but you will probably want to allow more time for check-in, security, and boarding, just in case.
posted by markkraft at 11:00 PM on December 12, 2011

hoyland: "ayporter"

I'd second Bayporter. I took it regularly from Berkeley to SFO for early morning flights, and I simply couldn't have been happier for the cost. I slept the whole way, no stress on traffic or getting bags onto buses or trains, and they dropped me right at the door of the airline. And they were usually pretty nice guys, too, if you felt like chatting.

Especially when you're going to face so much stress at the airport flying this time of the year, might as well make part of your trip a little simpler. Good luck!
posted by barnacles at 6:59 AM on December 13, 2011

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