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Morning flight out of SFO-stay night before near airport?

Morning flight out of SFO-stay night before near airport?

Old Aug 25th, 2009, 08:39 PM
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Morning flight out of SFO-stay night before near airport?

Hi everyone,

For our brief trip to San Francisco, we have a 9 a.m. departing flight out of SFO on a weekday to head back home. We would prefer to stay the night before at our hotel downtown to avoid switching hotels too many times (it's a short trip). But wondering how bad rush hour traffic is in the morning, leaving the city to get to the airport on the 101. Shouldn't rush hour traffic be mostly bad going the other way, into the city? Or is it bad in both directions? How long would it take at that time? Or do people think we'd be smarter staying at a hotel near the airport the night before to make sure we don't miss our flight?

Advice appreciated.

Thanks.
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Old Aug 25th, 2009, 08:46 PM
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If you leave the city by 6:30 or 7:00am, you should be fine.
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Old Aug 25th, 2009, 08:54 PM
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Agree with Lucie. Although traffic is horrible, and may even be worse southbound than northbound in the morning (I drive past the airport northbound every single morning), it stiill won't take more than 40 minutes. You need to leave time to retun your car, which is an exit north of the airport (then you take the airtrain to the terminal). So an hour in advance of the time you want to arrive at the airport is fine.
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Old Aug 25th, 2009, 10:16 PM
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If you don't have a car (hopefully) I'd catch a cab (or depending on where you are staying - take BART) by about 6:30.

But if you have a rental car to return, leave plenty of time for that. I'd want at least an extra 45 minutes just in case of a car snafu.

In either case, you'd be leaving downtown before the worst of the commute traffic.

I don't see any benefit to changing hotels.
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Old Aug 26th, 2009, 08:47 AM
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I would return the car at a downtown locatioin the day before, and take a Taxi to the airport. A Taxi will know the best route out of downtown to 101 or 280, and this will also avoid the rental car return time at the airport.

Stu Dudley
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Old Aug 26th, 2009, 08:49 AM
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sf7307

Does that usual backup before the Broadway Ave exit exist in the morning commute too???

Stu Dudley
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Old Aug 26th, 2009, 08:58 AM
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It does -- I swear its worse going southbound than northbound! (have you noticed that over the last few days the southbound afternoon rush hour has been much improved around the Broadway exit? We were wondering if its just that so many people are away late August, or if whatever they did the last few nights that the freeway was closed in the middle of the night actually opened up a bottleneck).
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Old Aug 27th, 2009, 12:28 AM
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what Stu said.
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Old Aug 27th, 2009, 03:01 PM
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Even if the usual backup bf Broadway Ave exists that early in the morning, when you're heading south (as the OP is), it's after the exit for the airport, so it doesn't really matter.

Personally, I would not bother with the taxi. But I am not a big worrier about this kind of stuff, and we've never had a problem returning a rental car on time in a city. Maybe we're just lucky, though!
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Old Aug 27th, 2009, 03:11 PM
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The backup starts way before the airport.
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Old Aug 27th, 2009, 04:32 PM
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LucieV, I learned the hard way to allow extra time if returning a rental car at SFO, as it can be busy and the rental return area is virtually at the end of the line on the airport tram.
Agree about returning the car in the city if not needed for your last night in town and taking a taxi - or BART if not much luggage, though add time for the connection at SFO to the airport tram.
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