San Francisco Airport Alternatives
San Francisco International Airport enjoys a picturesque location on the edge of the San Francisco Bay. Unfortunately, its lovely location is excessively prone to visitation by San Francisco's legendary fog. In fact, it can sometimes be the only place on the bay that's foggy. When visibility is reduced, SFO can only use one of its two runways and delays are the inevitable result.
However, San Francisco visitors have alternatives to enduring potential delays, and they might even be less expensive too. Both Oakland and San Jose have airports within a reasonable distance of San Francisco and, depending on your travel itinerary, they are just as convenient as well.
If you want specific information about airport on time performance, the Bureau of Transportation Statistics publishes statistics about airports and airlines.
San Francisco International Airport (SFO) is about 13 miles south of San Francisco on US Hwy 101. All major carriers and many international airlines fly to SFO, with more international flights added every year. Find out how to take the BART Train from there to downtown San Francisco, explore all the options for getting into San Francisco from the airport or get a list of airport shuttles.
SFO is a good starting point if your trip centers in the city.
Oakland International Airport (OAK) is 25 miles from downtown San Francisco. It's served by a wide range of major airlines and partly because of its less-foggy location, experiences fewer flight delays. There are a number of shuttle services that can whisk you from Oakland to San Francisco. You can reserve online from Oakland to San Francisco hotels and and back to Oakland Airport or to private residences in San Francisco and back to Oakland Airport.
Oakland is a good starting point if your trip includes Napa, Yosemite, Sequoia, Lake Tahoe or other points east of San Francisco.
San Jose International Airport (SJC) is about 60 miles south of San Francisco. Major carriers include, American, Alaska, United, Southwest, Continental, and TWA. Shuttle services are available to San Francisco and CalTrain is a low-cost transportation alternative. Free Aiport Flyer buses run regularly every 10-15 minutes between the airport and the nearest train station.
San Jose is a good starting point if your trip includes Monterey, Carmel or any other areas south of the city. Rent a car in San Jose, make your trip south, then return it to San Francisco and take a shuttle into the city. Most car rental companies do not make an extra drop-off charge for San Jose pickup and San Francisco return, but be sure to ask.