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How Early to Arrive at SFO for Sunday Morning International Flight

How Early to Arrive at SFO for Sunday Morning International Flight

Old Oct 5, 17, 12:47 pm
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How Early to Arrive at SFO for Sunday Morning International Flight

I'm trying to gage how early I need to be at SFO for an upcoming flight I have to Toronto next week. The flight leaves at 7:30 on a Sunday morning on Air Canada from the International Terminal. I also have precheck if applicable.

Last edited by landesb; Oct 5, 17 at 2:26 pm Reason: correcting typo
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Old Oct 5, 17, 2:23 pm
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I usually don't respond to these questions

I am not the typical flyer talker. I like to be at the airport at least two hours early for every flight in three hours for international flights. So for what it's worth I would get there around 530 if you're not checking luggage.
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Old Oct 5, 17, 2:28 pm
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I would aim to be there 90 minutes early, but that's my risk tolerance.
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Old Oct 5, 17, 3:40 pm
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I also have an upcoming Air Canada flight for the first time. No bag to check plus precheck, coming from BART (G is closest terminal), I'm not expecting to need more than 60 min. Hoping that's ok.
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Old Oct 6, 17, 9:50 am
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I'd check the boarding time, not the time the flight is leaving. Some of the larger planes do more than a 30 min boarding window. I don't do less than 2 hours for International myself, even precheck had a line yesterday morning going out.
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Old Oct 8, 17, 12:09 am
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So for SFO to Canada, only pre is needed? Not GE?
I'm so confused about the rules. I'm also conservative and would prefer to arrive 2 hours before am flight or even 3 hours before an intl later flight.
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Old Oct 8, 17, 12:57 am
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Originally Posted by gaobest View Post
So for SFO to Canada, only pre is needed? Not GE?
Global Entry expedites immigration and customs inspections when entering the US. There are no formal immigration exit controls when departing the US. Before boarding flights from the US to Canada, the airlines agents make sure that the passengers are in possession of the proper documentation to enter Canada (passports and, for some, visas).
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Old Oct 9, 17, 9:41 am
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Originally Posted by gaobest View Post
So for SFO to Canada, only pre is needed? Not GE?
I'm so confused about the rules. I'm also conservative and would prefer to arrive 2 hours before am flight or even 3 hours before an intl later flight.
Pre✓ = getting you through TSA faster (or at SFO, CAS)
GE = getting you through CBP faster

When you sign up (and are approved) for GE, you get automatic Pre✓; but not vice versa.
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Old Oct 9, 17, 10:47 am
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Originally Posted by nnn View Post
Pre✓ = getting you through TSA faster (or at SFO, CAS)
I'll add to that how my recent SFO Pre✓ experiences in T1-C and T2 make me wonder if the days when Pre✓ was a quick breeze at SFO are coming to a close. I probably saved myself 10-15 minutes in T1-C last week by skipping the Pre✓ line and using the non-Pre✓ Premium line. Agent controlling Pre✓ line acted as if I was doing something odd, but I pointed out how there was barely anyone in the Premium line. The Pre✓ line was long and slow-moving. Yeah, I took my shoes off and put them on again. That didn't take long.

Oh well -- great while it lasted. T3-F (United) Pre✓ still looks very quick.
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Old Oct 9, 17, 10:49 am
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Originally Posted by dhuey View Post
I'll add to that how my recent SFO Pre✓ experiences in T1-C and T2 make me wonder if the days when Pre✓ was a quick breeze at SFO are coming to a close. I probably saved myself 10-15 minutes in T1-C last week by skipping the Pre✓ line and using the non-Pre✓ Premium line. Agent controlling Pre✓ line acted as if I was doing something odd, but I pointed out how there was barely anyone in the Premium line. The Pre✓ line was long and slow-moving.

Oh well -- great while it lasted. T3-F Pre✓ still looks very quick.
That ship seems to have sailed some time ago for me (at T2). Still not horrible but I plan on 15+ minutes, and it usually takes less.
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Old Oct 9, 17, 11:06 am
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Any experience on the precheck line in G? Weekday evenings? Out of A I'm often the only person in the precheck line so it takes ~2-3 min.
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Old Oct 9, 17, 12:05 pm
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Originally Posted by ucdtim17 View Post
Any experience on the precheck line in G? Weekday evenings? Out of A I'm often the only person in the precheck line so it takes ~2-3 min.
I've never seen the G Pre✓ line get really long. Sometimes it looks like maybe 10 minutes. I have had your same experience at A -- always very short.
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Old Oct 10, 17, 12:52 am
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Originally Posted by landesb View Post
I'm trying to gage how early I need to be at SFO for an upcoming flight I have to Toronto next week. The flight leaves at 7:30 on a Sunday morning on Air Canada from the International Terminal. I also have precheck if applicable.
If you can print your BP and don't have to stop at the counter to check luggage, then 75 minutes should more than sufficient. TSA checkpoint should be <10m with precheck.

Originally Posted by ucdtim17 View Post
I also have an upcoming Air Canada flight for the first time. No bag to check plus precheck, coming from BART (G is closest terminal), I'm not expecting to need more than 60 min. Hoping that's ok.
Cutting it close, as I've seen delays almost every day on various BART lines. Depending on your origination, I would plan to arrive 90 minutes before departure so you have a margin for error. If worst comes to worst you could exit bart and summon Uber.

Although not many places are open early at the international terminal, there are usually a couple of coffee joints & restaurants, and plenty of seating near the gates.

Originally Posted by dhuey View Post
I've never seen the G Pre✓ line get really long. Sometimes it looks like maybe 10 minutes. I have had your same experience at A -- always very short.
+1 though I always use Clear - but can still take 5-10 min as you still get plenty of dolts in the pre-check lines.
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