1. Getting to the airport SFO is served directly by BART (www.bart.org) and SamTrans for public transit. Using BART, it's straightforward (but expensive) to transfer to Caltrain at Millbrae (usually with a BART->BART transfer at San Bruno) or to Muni at many San Francisco stations. If you arrive on BART, you're arriving at the International Terminal on the G side. While there's the AirTrain automated people mover, I find it easier to just walk to G or Terminal 3 if I don't have a lot of bags. SamTrans KX and 292 lines arrive at the arrival levels of courtyards A and G and curbside at Terminal 3 but has restrictions on transporting luggage. If you're driving in, there's parking onsite in the middle of all the domestic terminals or by International Terminal G and offsite parking at a bunch of places (I prefer ParkSFO as they have a variety of coupons and discounts, as well as good shuttle service). If you're getting dropped off at Terminal 3, get dropped off in the middle if you have no elite status, or at the last couple of doors if you do have elite status. If you're getting dropped off at the International Terminal, go towards the end. If you're getting dropped off at Terminal 1, get out at the middle of the terminal. It costs $8.10 per person to go from downtown San Francisco to SFO on BART or $5 per person on the SamTrans KX bus. A taxi will probably run somewhere around $40. As of 2/8/11, UA operates out of International Terminal Area G and Terminal 3. It's not unheard of for domestic flights to operate out of, or arrive into, the International Terminal. Air Canada operates out of Terminal 3 gates 61 and 68, Continental operates out of Terminal 1 gates 32-36 and are supposed to move to Terminal 3 gates 88-90 by June 2011 (http://milepoint.com/forums/threads/sfo-ops-in-case-you-cared.938/). US Airways operates out of Terminal 1 gates 26-30. I specifically haven't mentioned the independent shuttle vans as every experience I've had with them has been terrible and I've sworn off of them (as have others). There's also a cell-phone lot if someone's picking you up and wants to wait in their car. 2. Checking in and getting through security. There are elite check-in desks in both Terminal 3 (at the end closest to the International Terminal) and International Terminal G. There are also bag drop off points in Terminal 3 (there might be some in IT-G as well, but I'm not sure), and Easy Check-In units are scattered all over the place. There's a Priority Security checkpoint at the end of Terminal 3 closest to IT-G which is open from 4a.m. to 6p.m. (they close at or just before 6p.m. with no exceptions any time I've tried). Since T3 and IT-G are connected airside, if lines at one security checkpoint look long, try one of the others (even the American Airlines checkpoint at the end of T3 closest to Terminal 2). The IT-G checkpoint has the nude-o-scope scanners. The T3 checkpoints do not. T1 has an elite line for security. 3. Lounges There are two Red Carpet Clubs (soon to be United Clubs) airside at SFO. The one in T3 is in the main rotunda near the moving walkways and is open 5a.m. until 11p.m. The one in IT-G is to the right after you pass through security near the walkway to T3 and is open 8a.m. until 11p.m. There's also a Singapore Airlines Silver Kris Lounge that used to allow access to Star Alliance Gold passengers departing on any Star Alliance flight from SFO but which people report now only allows access to *G passengers departing on an international *A flight. Its hours fluctuate depending on Singapore Airlines' departures and arrivals. Landside in Terminal 1 Continental has a Presidents Club to the right of their checkin area, open 5:30a.m. until midnight:30 (except on Saturday when it closes at 10p.m.). There's a First International Lounge (IFL) in IT-G between gates 98 and 100, open 8a.m. until 10:30p.m. Lastly, there's an Arrivals Suite in Terminal 3 landside on the lower level near the baggage claim, open 8a.m. until noon:30. There are showers in the IFL, SQ SKL, and Arrivals if you have access. There is speculation that United will replace the current American Airlines Admirals Club with a United Club once American moves to Terminal 2, but nothing definite. Star Alliance Gold passengers (except UA/CO/US *Gs) get access to the Red Carpet Clubs and Presidents Club (and sometimes the SQ SKL). Priority Pass members can get access to the International Terminal Red Carpet Club or the Presidents Club. Amex Platinums will have access to the Presidents Club until it either goes away or October 1, 2011, whichever comes first. 4. Gates and connections There is an airside connector between Terminal 3 and the International Terminal Area G. There's also a shuttle bus that runs between Terminal 3 and Terminal 1, though I've never taken it. According to http://www.united.com/page/article/0,,1121,00.html the Terminal 3 pickup point is at gate 92 and the Terminal 1 pickup point is at gate 32, every 20 minutes from 6a.m. to 10p.m. The Continental and US Airways gates are in the same secure area in Terminal 1. Aside from Continental, US Airways, and Asiana, every other Star Alliance carrier (plus EVA Air) are handled out of International Terminal G or Terminal 3. Asiana is in International Terminal Area A. SFO is known for its morning fog caused delays. Generally speaking, departures will go just fine, but arrivals will be subject to flow control. If you're connecting in SFO in the morning, it's a good idea to get a slightly longer connection time. In the afternoon and evening, operations usually run pretty smoothly and it's not necessary to pad the connection time. United Minimum Connection Times Domestic->Domestic 50m unless you're connecting between flight numbers 1 and 999, in which case it's 35m Domestic->International 1h International->Domestic 1h45m International->International 1h45m If you're connecting from an international flight, you'll have to clear immigration at SFO and go through security again. If you have checked bags, you'll also need to clear customs and then re-check your bags (take an immediate left after exiting customs and the re-check area is right there). If you're heading to a CO or US flight, head right after clearing immigration or re-checking, and then left down the walkway to Terminal 1. If you're heading to another Star Alliance flight, head left after clearing immigration. You might need to turn left and go up the escalator to go to the IT-G area, or right down the walkway to T3. 5. Food, shops, and other amenities The restaurants at SFO are known for being pretty good. There's even one (landside), Ebisu, that is an iDine restaurant for those who want to earn more points while eating. There are showers in the International Terminal landside near the Area G checkpoint at Freshen Up!, open 7a.m. until 11p.m. There isn't a hotel on airport property, although the airport was trying to get someone to open up a pod hotel but it hasn't happened yet.