How to get to SFO on time?
January 30, 2012 2:37 PM   Subscribe

How can I get to SFO on time (possibly) using public transit?

I'm flying out of SFO on a 7:05AM flight on May 2nd. I'm staying here. What's my best option to get to the airport for check-in for the 2-hour-before-takeoff time frame?

There'll be two of us, with one rolling suitcase each, and likely a backpack each.

I see that there are special deals with BART to get in and out of SFO, but I'm not so sure I could get there on time for my departing flight according to the schedule.
posted by chrisfromthelc to Travel & Transportation around San Francisco, CA (11 answers total)
Let me introduce you to, but frankly your options suck that early. BART will get you there at 5:30 (no special deals though? It's just a BART stop). Which if you're not checking luggage is way plenty of time early in the morning, mid-week, non-holiday, and enough time if you are (the BART station is in the international terminal, so if you're flying internationally you're good, and if you're not an hour and a half is plenty of time anyway).
posted by brainmouse at 2:43 PM on January 30, 2012

God only knows if this link will work, but it shows the schedule from Civic Center BART to SFO, arriving around 5:30 and then some later trains. That hour of the day, security should be fast.

(We fly out of SFO a lot, it being our home airport, and we never get there 2 hours beforehand unless it's for an international flight. Your tolerance for this kind of thing may vary.)
posted by rtha at 2:50 PM on January 30, 2012

Whoops. As for *getting* to BART, your best, cheapest, fastest option will be a cab.
posted by rtha at 2:51 PM on January 30, 2012

Just take a cab. And if you're not staying somewhere cabs normally hang out, call the night before and prearrange a cab (or ask the hotel concierge to do it for you).
posted by cnc at 2:58 PM on January 30, 2012

I usually arrive 90 minutes ahead at SFO, usually flying at times that are not the very busiest but not as dead as early morning will be. I usually seem to end up standing around thinking "when the hell can I get on the plane already?" Taking the first BART should be no problem.

That being said, if you're likely to lose sleep over this, take a cab. This web site says a cab is about $40; compare that to $7 for the cab ride and $8 each for BART fare, for a total of $23.
posted by madcaptenor at 3:22 PM on January 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

2 bart fares will cost you $16.
Supershuttle will cost you $27.
A cab from that area at that time of morning will be around $40.

I vote for the supershuttle. Not as convenient as a cab, but a lot more convenient than bart.
posted by Arthur Dent at 3:24 PM on January 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

Just take a cab. It's kind of a pain to get to a BART station from where you're staying, and taking luggage with you compounds that problem.
posted by un petit cadeau at 3:24 PM on January 30, 2012

For two, a cab. Supershuttle is fine but for two people the extra $10-15 will be worth it. BART/MUNI for a 7am flight is asking for kinks and problems.
posted by kcm at 4:00 PM on January 30, 2012

BART does add a ridiculous markup to the SFO fare (something like $4), but that's still your best bet, in my opinion. Personally, I would rather know that as long as I'm in that Powell Bart by 4:55 a.m., I'll make my plane.

Getting to the airport with plenty time to spare is all well and good, but 90 minutes before the flight is more than enough unless you're flying internationally. My wife and I travel with our small child, carseat, stroller, the whole works and that's how long we allow when checking luggage. than to worry about whether the cab will show up. Super Shuttle sets absurdly early pickup times, I don't think they're a good value at all when there's a reasonable transit option. For me, it would come down to the decision of whether I thought it was worth $20 to save a few minutes of sleep.
posted by wnissen at 7:36 PM on January 30, 2012

Since you ask specifically about public transportation, BART as outlined above is the way to go.

My non-answer is that I personally would spring for a cab.
posted by trip and a half at 7:56 PM on January 30, 2012

The last time I was in SF I was staying with a friend and I used Supershuttle to get to the airport. I thought it was awesome.

It was suggested by another friend who recently used it. You give them your flight information and they'll give you windows of time to choose for your pick up. I was really impressed by the promptness of everything.
It's a carpool deal so one of my biggest fears was having someone in the pool not be ready for the pick-up but despite the car being 15 minutes ahead of schedule all the other people were ready and waiting to go.
posted by simplethings at 10:19 PM on January 30, 2012

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