SAN FRANCISCO AIRPORT: INTERNATIONAL TO DOMESTIC
Replies: 14 - Last Post: Jan 4, 2012 10:42 AM Last Post By: yaguri
Dec 30, 2011 8:06 AM
Dec 30, 2011 8:35 AM
Dec 30, 2011 8:40 AM
2Under normal conditions when everything is running smoothly and all the flights are on time you should be fine with two hours or so.
Remember, you'll need to pass through immigrations, collect any checked baggage, pass through customs, recheck any checked baggage and then proceed to your terminal, going through security again before making your way to the new gate. I've made international to domestic transfers at SFO in less than 90 minutes on many occasions (granted, that was as a US citizen).
The problem is everything is not always on time and / or without complications. To be safe I'd schedule a three hour connection.
Dec 30, 2011 8:44 AM
3Just on United, and both flights part of one ticket, I gather. In that case, you should make it within the guidelines #1 cited. You'll go through Immigration, then wait for your bags, then go through Customs and hand over the form you got on board the flight (and which the Immigration agent will have initialed)-- hopefully you won't be pulled aside for seondary inspection, even at random-- then you hand over your bags to a transfer desk, exit the secure area and then go through TSA security again to your next flight. If you miss your connection, you will normally be put on the next flight to Medford with available seats (may not be the very next flight). If you purchased your flights separately you MAY have to check-in anew at SFO, though usually you can get your bags tagged toyour ultimate destination if you show your full itinerary to the agent at London. In the rare event you're on two airlines that don't have an interline agreement re transfer of bags you have to do check-in at SFO. One example is transferring to Southwest, but since you're going to Medford that isn't the case.
Note: if you bought any cremes or liquids in Duty Free and have those in your carry-on bag, be sure to switch them to your checked luggage before handing over the bags at the transfer desk, otherwise you could have them confiscated at TSA security on your way to the gate for your domestic flight.
Dec 30, 2011 8:55 AM
4Medford? You have my sympathies.
Allow 2-3 hours. I don't think there are that many SF-Medford flights daily.
SF can have big fog problems that cause substantial delays in the winter. I would make sure that I had enough cash on hand and basics to overnight it in case the fog cancels the Medford flight.
Dec 30, 2011 11:22 AM
5Fog and occasionally windstorms can shut down SFO. Sometimes they reroute you to Oakland, which is east of the worst fog belt, and transport you by ground to SFO.
After your long international flight, you might want to consider overnighting near SFO, and flying to Medford the next day, rather than enduring 3-4 hours of airport time and a lot of anxiety over delays. That way, delays will be less important, and you won't be totally bent on arrival in Medford.
While Kahua seems to have been traumatized by the Medfordians, I can recommend it as a convenient gateway to Ashland, with its Shakespeare Festival; beautiful Crater Lake; and the finest Redwoods in the world, down Highway 199 near Crescent City, CA. Oregon Caves, also on 199, is a minor gem.
Dec 30, 2011 12:01 PM
6Overnight might or might not be possible on a cheaper ticket. Sometimes the cheapest tickets will include this, especially if the airline thinks no one would want to do it. (They get you onto their web site with a flight you wouldn't choose, hoping you chose a more expensive one) I picked a day at random and one of the cheapest flights was also an amazing 15 hours total. It had a bit over an hourang a half to connect. I'd probably take it because if you miss the first connection, it is United's responsibility to get you on the next flight. I'd personally hate to pay more for the longer connection, but you might be able to book it on the day you are traveling.
Dec 30, 2011 12:09 PM
7I heard that Medford is also subject to fog delays. If a delay, such as into our out of SFO, is caused by weather, or other factors not technically the responsibility of the airline (e.g., you get hung up in Immigration or Customs), and you have to spend the night, you may well not get a hotel room, regardless of the fare (happened to some friends at ATL, when the wife-- not a U.S. citizen-- was delayed getting through Immigration and they missed their onward flight to Sarasota; got another flight, but not untilt he next day, and they had to pay for their hotel).
I didn't see mention of the date involved. I've personally never been delayed by fog at SFO, and you might have a better chance of that in the summer than in the winter. Had a wind-caused delay arriving at SFO a year ago. Isn't winter the time Medford has more weather delays?
Dec 30, 2011 2:08 PM
8You're booking this as a single ticket, right? In that case, let United decide what's a reasonable connecting time. They won't sell you an itinerary that involves a connection they think you can't make. And if there's some delay that causes you to miss the connection, they're responsible for getting you onto another flight.
Dec 30, 2011 3:12 PM
Dec 31, 2011 3:40 AM
10#8: good point, though with the caveats that the next flight with available seats may not be the very next flight and that there are situations where, if an overnight stay is required until the next flight, UA won't provide for a hotel. When booking a flight online, there are often choices and OP may have a choice of onward flights to Medford. If so, I would not choose one with, say, a one-hour connection even if UA shows that as a connection. It can be a hassle.
Dec 31, 2011 8:26 PM
11While Kahua seems to have been traumatized by the Medfordians, I can recommend it as a convenient gateway to Ashland, with its Shakespeare Festival; beautiful Crater Lake; and the finest Redwoods in the world, down Highway 199 near Crescent City, CA. Oregon Caves, also on 199, is a minor gem.
I agree that Medford was a convenient place to enjoy the whole CA-OR border (including Rogue River) - and it is a much bigger regional centre than one might think. We stayed in a perfectly adequate Days Inn out on the highway, but found a really pleasant, busy Mexican restaurant and bar in the old downtown area - Habañeros.
Most of downtown was very quiet though, I have to say - not sure what else happens in Medford.
Jan 4, 2012 3:00 AM
just found this thread which is somewhat similar to what I'm looking for.. my query is this: I will be travelling to San Diego end of March, and am weighing out my options:
(a) fly to SIN-SFO with SQ, which arrives at 1215, and then SFO-SAN with Southwest which departs at 1555.. since they're not code share, I'd have to do the customs & immigration & claim my baggage, and then run off to Southwest counter to check the bag in, and go through security.
(b) fly with UA all the way from SIN-SFO-SAN, which just means that i'd skip the step of claiming my baggage.
I'm not keen with flying with UA, so am wondering if option A is viable with a 3h 40min layover with all the customs & immigration & baggage claim & security.. fyi, to put it into context, I'm not a US citizen (Singaporean, wld have the visa waiver), and a headscarf wearing muslim at that, in case (additional) checks need to be done on me.
thanks in advance!
Jan 4, 2012 5:39 AM
Jan 4, 2012 10:42 AM
14Not sure where the last person got that data on FlightStats. I see that Singapore's flights to SFO connect through either Hong Kong or Seoul, and according FlightStats those flights were never more than 41 minutes later.
Ignoring the possibility of a delayed flight, the connection at SFO should take no more than 2 hours -- one hour on arrival from Singapore plus one hour to check in on Southwest. If your flight arrives no more than 41 minutes late, you've allowed yourself at least 3 hours for the connection, which is plenty.
But if you would spend your whole flight worried about missing your connection, I recommend building on #13's suggestion. Contact Southwest and see how flexible they are about allowing last-minute flight changes. They're generally more flexible than most other US carriers. If you reserve a later flight from SF to San Diego, Southwest certainly allow you to board the earlier one if you book a full-fare ticket and if they have seats available. You could ask them if that's allowed on a discount fare, or if they allow you to book the earlier flight and change to a later flight if you miss the earlier one.
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