Year-End Holiday Travel Takes Off at SFO

Published on : Tuesday, December 22, 2015

sfo-sanThe San Francisco International Airport (SFO) announced the start of year-end holiday travel, with a variety of events to make the season bright.  Officials expect approximately 1.4 million passengers to travel through SFO between Wednesday, December 16, 2015 and Monday, January 4, 2016, a 9% increase compared to the same period last year.  The busiest single day is anticipated to be Friday, December 18, with over 160,000 travelers passing through the Airport.


“The holiday spirit is on full display at SFO,” said Airport Director John L. Martin. “With festive holiday lighting, live music from Bay Area artists, and exciting new facilities, we’re doing everything we can to make the airport experience a pleasant one for our holiday travelers.”


Holiday amenities at SFO

Live music program

A holiday favorite at SFO, the program of live music featuring Bay Area musicians, known as “Sounds of the Season” will again be offered at the Airport.


Holiday Lighting

SFO has been illuminating the terminal exterior in holiday lighting for more than 10 years.  The Airport’s holiday lighting is one of the largest public displays of lights in the entire Bay Area, featuring over 150 miles of wiring and more than 3.3 million light-emitting diodes (LEDs).


New facility – Terminal 3 East

The newly-renovated Terminal 3 East concourse, opened on November 18, 2015, features an expanded circulation area with three new boarding gates, a centralized security checkpoint, new shopping and dining, lounge-style seating areas, an array of public artwork, free Wi-Fi, and a new United Club facility.


New airlines at SFO

SFO also now offers the first nonstop flight from the U.S. West Coast to India, with service to Delhi on Air India.  Qantas Airways will return to SFO with nonstop service to Sydney, Australia on December 18, 2015.


The “Wag Brigade” Stress-Relief Dogs

Launched in December 2013, the SFO “Wag Brigade” brings trained dogs to the terminals to make the travel experience more enjoyable.  The San Francisco Chapter of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) certifies all participating dogs through their Animal Assisted Therapy (ATT) Program.  Selected for their temperament and airport suitability, the dogs will wear vests that read “Pet Me!”  You can view profiles of each animal at: Meet the Wag Brigade.


Getting to SFO Quickly and Conveniently

Public Transit & Shared Rides

With peak holiday traffic volumes, SFO recommends that travelers take public transit or share rides to the airport.  BART provides direct service from San Francisco and the East Bay, and there are several shuttle services to SFO.  To learn more about transportation options and to plan your trip on to SFO, visit To & From SFO.  Travelers electing to drive should allow extra time for parking, or have someone drop them off. Passengers are encouraged to check with their airline to confirm their flight.


Parking availability will be tight this holiday season

In anticipation of peak holiday parking demand, SFO strongly advises travelers to take an alternate mode of transportation to and from the Airport.  All parking facilities are expected to be at or near capacity, so please plan accordingly.  The daily maximum parking rate at Long Term Parking is $18 per day; the International Garages is $28 per day; and the Domestic Garage is $36 per day.  Use FasTrak® available lanes to enter and quickly exit SFO’s parking garages.


Kiss-and-Fly; Cell Phone Lot; Short-Term Parking for $2

During periods of peak traffic, SFO encourages people to drop off friends and family at the Kiss-and-Fly curb at the rental car facility, where they can catch the AirTrain and be at the Airport in minutes.  SFO also offers a free cell-phone parking lot, located adjacent to the Long Term Parking surface lot just five minutes north of the terminals.  The Airport also offers short-term parking at $2 per 20 minutes in the hourly terminal garages for people who want to park and help their arriving parties at baggage claim.


Mobile Car-Washing Service Available in Airport Parking Lots

Parking lots at SFO feature an innovative mobile car-washing service, which allows customers to park in any of the Airport’s parking lots, keep their keys, and return to a freshly-cleaned vehicle. .  Washing is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  All reservations must be made at least one day in advance.  Prices start at $19.95 for a standard passenger vehicle.


Tips for travelers

Passengers traveling during the holidays are strongly encouraged to arrive at the airport at least 90 minutes prior to departure for domestic flights and two hours prior to international flights.  Passengers who pack liquids or gels as carry-on baggage are limited to amount of three (3) ounces or less.  Such items should be packed in a single re-sealable quart-size plastic bag, with one per traveler.


Options to save time at security checkpoints

The TSA offers the PreCheck program of expedited screening at SFO.  This program can be joined on a membership basis, through a PreCheck enrollment center located in the International Terminal, near the BART station.


Travelers have several options which can save time at the security checkpoint process.  The CLEAR product is available at SFO, offering a membership program which provides expedited access to all security checkpoints. 




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