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Anonymous2 Feb 2013
I’d appreciate some advice and guidance from all you frequent travellers. I’m flying back In First from SFO to LHR on BA284 one Saturday later this year. I’ve separately booked a domestic economy flight back from LAS to SFO with United arriving into terminal 1 at SFO at 1500. The BA flight departs 1655 from SFO’s International Terminal. I’ve not transited through SFO previously so don’t know the layout of the airport. Do people think that will give me sufficient connection time to clear security at SFO or should I change my United flight to an earlier one? United said I should ask at LAS as they have an agreement with BA so may be able to check bags through to my final destination (LBA) which would help save some time for me not having to retrieve and check back in baggage at SFO. I’d intend to do online check in with BA and then justvdrop the bags at the baggage drop at the airport. I’ve asked BA YouFirst if they can help at SFO at all but their response was pretty unhelpful.
I’d appreciate any views from those of you who have done this trip previously or know the layout of SFO. Many thanks.2 Feb 2013
You are asking a question that has so many variables.
In an ideal world, a quiet Saturday afternoon in SFO, a terminal change, sure, you will make it in time for a quick drink in the lounge.
All you need is your inbound to be 30 minutes late, q’s at security and you are beginning to push things.
I know its not always possible, but I wouldnt book a connecting flight with a 2 hour layover for an international connection, would have only booked a through ticket.2 Feb 2013
It’s approximately 15 mins to walk to the International terminal. If you have checked luggage you should consider an earlier flight as I have waited 30 mins to collect bags at SFO from a domestic flight.
Security at SFO in quick and with a first boarding pass you can use the priority lane.
I would personally go for a 3 hour layover or why not see if you can change your BA flight to LAS/LHR and avoid SFO. I have done this before and was surprised how little it cost to make that change.
Also that way you don’t need to endure United domestic!!!2 Feb 2013
I’m not a pessimist, but can think of so many things that could go wrong that I’d definitely take an earlier flight. Suppose the flight is cancelled? Baggage doesn’t arrive etc. Go for the earlier flight or as Gold suggests, fly direct.2 Feb 2013
I’d echo the others and suggest going for the earlier flight, purely because it’s very common to have delays into SFO due to fog and most flights seem to be shuttle services so you only need for a flight to be delayed earlier in the day for it to knock onto every other flight.
SFO is a pretty good airport though in terms of shops to browse though if you’re looking to kill time outside the lounges.
1F2 Feb 2013
If the weather’s alright you should be okay (assuming you can check bags through), but if not the situation would be far from ideal. The first flights to get pushed back when the fog sets in are those closest to SF: Southern CA, LAS, SEA, SLC, etc. Best to switch to direct from LAS to Heathrow or to an earlier inbound flight, just in case. Good luck, and hope you have a chance to enjoy the international terminal! – SFO Native3 Feb 2013
Many thanks to all of you who responded with your thoughts. I’m going to change my flight back into SFO for an earlier flight just to be on the safe side but thanks for all your help and advice.3 Feb 2013