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Driving from Yosemite to SFO on Friday before Memorial Day Weekend?

Driving from Yosemite to SFO on Friday before Memorial Day Weekend?

Old Jan 20, 18, 6:28 am
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Driving from Yosemite to SFO on Friday before Memorial Day Weekend?

Hi,

I was wondering if you think it would be bad idea driving from Yosemite to SFO on the Friday before Memorial Day (May 25th)? Will aim to leave Yosemite early around 6am-7am. I read traffic can be bad that day but would it be in the other direction due to residents leaving SF for the weekend?

From SFO I am planning to fly to Seattle but I could actually fly from another airport in the Bay Area (SMF / OAK / SJC), however I quite fancied checking out the Amex Centurion at SFO.

Thanks!
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Old Jan 20, 18, 9:56 am
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Your plan looks fine to me. You might hit significant traffic on westbound 580 after Livermore, but probably not that bad. By the time you get to the 238 connector, the morning rush hour will be done. Maybe a bit of a backup as you approach the toll plaza at the San Mateo Bridge (Hwy. 92) It's generally true that the morning rush hour tends to be lighter on Fridays before a three-day weekend.

As you mention, the main flow of traffic will be leaving the SF Bay Area, and you're going in.
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Old Jan 20, 18, 10:20 am
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Leaving that early should be fine. 238 is almost always congested, but it is only a couple of miles. You'll save a fair amount of time if you depart OAK, and since you apparently have an Amex Platinum card, there's an acceptable (but not exciting) lounge you can use.
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Old Jan 20, 18, 12:25 pm
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I agree that OAK is a better choice with this plan, and it has substantial service to SEA. I like the SFO Centurion Lounge, but it's often very crowded. The Escape Lounge (entry with Amex Plat) at OAK is pretty good. The main thing is that OAK means a shorter drive and a lower chance of hitting bad traffic. We locals often try to avoid crossing the bay for a departing flight because bridge traffic can come to a screeching halt at any time with an accident.
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Old Jan 20, 18, 1:06 pm
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Originally Posted by dhuey View Post
I agree that OAK is a better choice with this plan, and it has substantial service to SEA. I like the SFO Centurion Lounge, but it's often very crowded. The Escape Lounge (entry with Amex Plat) at OAK is pretty good. The main thing is that OAK means a shorter drive and a lower chance of hitting bad traffic. We locals often try to avoid crossing the bay for a departing flight because bridge traffic can come to a screeching halt at any time with an accident.
Yes. In fact, yesterday (not going to the airport), I left home mid-morning (Frlday light) - showing mostly green all the way from home. The highway sign on I-80 showed 14 minutes to SF Downtown. Toll plaza - no slowdown. Then after a couple of minutes on the bridge incline section, screeching halt. There was an accident on the other side of the tunnel on the Bay Bridge, emergency vehicles were coming up the shoulder, and it added a half hour to the trip. (It could have been worse.)
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Old Jan 20, 18, 2:26 pm
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Originally Posted by Eastbay1K View Post
There was an accident on the other side of the tunnel on the Bay Bridge, emergency vehicles were coming up the shoulder, and it added a half hour to the trip. (It could have been worse.)
What our friends from elsewhere might not appreciate is that when this happens on one of our trans-bay bridges, you're completely stuck on the bridge. There's no U-turn and no exit to a surface street. You might be stuck for a long time.
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Old Jan 20, 18, 2:53 pm
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I agree with everyone else, going to the bay area shouldn't be a big deal.
Originally Posted by dhuey View Post
What our friends from elsewhere might not appreciate is that when this happens on one of our trans-bay bridges, you're completely stuck on the bridge. There's no U-turn and no exit to a surface street. You might be stuck for a long time.
I learned a valuable lesson one day: If an emergency vehicle goes into one bore of the Caldecott, you go through the other one.
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Old Jan 21, 18, 4:10 am
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Thank you for the replies everyone, really appreciate it!

It sounds like OAK might be a better option so think I'll aim for that one. The Escape lounge doesn't look too bad actually.

I appreciate that no one knows the future price of air fares, but do you think it is too early to be buying a ticket for a flight at the end of May?
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Old Jan 21, 18, 5:53 am
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Originally Posted by wheatbeer View Post
Thank you for the replies everyone, really appreciate it!

It sounds like OAK might be a better option so think I'll aim for that one. The Escape lounge doesn't look too bad actually.

I appreciate that no one knows the future price of air fares, but do you think it is too early to be buying a ticket for a flight at the end of May?
Looks like Alaska has fares between $90 and $120 out of SFO, OAK, and SMF right now. If youre in a position to commit to flight times now, I would jump on those ASAP. Right now people aren't thinking about their summer holiday travel plans, but when they do I bet those fares go up.

Last edited by Lost; Jan 21, 18 at 5:59 am
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Old Jan 21, 18, 11:49 am
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Originally Posted by wheatbeer View Post
It sounds like OAK might be a better option so think I'll aim for that one. The Escape lounge doesn't look too bad actually.

I appreciate that no one knows the future price of air fares, but do you think it is too early to be buying a ticket for a flight at the end of May?
I'll add another +1 to flying out of OAK. Your drive on Friday morning should be free of traffic congestion until you reach the Bay Area, where it'll be the end of the morning commute (9-10am). Crossing a bridge to the opposite side of the bay could be the worst part. Flying OAK avoids that.

If you're a Southwest Airlines flyer, or willing to fly Southwest, you could book one of their fares now and rebook later, getting a voucher for the full difference, if a lower price appears.
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Old Jan 21, 18, 1:30 pm
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Originally Posted by darthbimmer View Post
If you're a Southwest Airlines flyer, or willing to fly Southwest, you could book one of their fares now and rebook later, getting a voucher for the full difference, if a lower price appears.
I was going to mention this, but I'm guessing that based on BAEC membership that the OP is British, and may not have another opportunity to use the remaining Southwest funds within 12 months.
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Old Jan 21, 18, 2:12 pm
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Thank you for the replies. The Alaska fares look attractive so will probably go with them!

I did look at Southwest but I was a little surprised by the prices. I tried all the Bay area airports and they always seem to be more expensive than the legacy carriers. Is this normal? I thought they were here to disrupt things? From OAK for example the cheapest fare is $204 on Southwest which is nearly double the Alaska fare. I see you get 2 bags included but it still works out more expensive. The refund of fare difference is interesting but like you correctly guessed I am from the UK and am not sure when I will be back in the US (although we try visit every 1 or 2 years).
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Old Jan 21, 18, 5:19 pm
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My most common route is Phoenix to either SMF or OAK. Southwest and American are the dominant players on those routes and I'd say 4 times out of 5 AA ends up being cheaper. AA also has better departure times to SMF, which is my preferred airport.

I primarily consider WN if the prices are somewhat close and I know I'll need to check bags, or there's a decent chance I'll need to cancel or change the flights.

On Southwest's cheap non refundable fare (called Wanna Get Away) you don't actually get a refund, but you can cancel the trip, or change to a cheaper flight, and use the extra money you paid for a future trip within 12 months with no penalty. It's quite customer friendly.

Last edited by Lost; Jan 21, 18 at 5:38 pm
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Old Jan 21, 18, 7:20 pm
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Originally Posted by Lost View Post
On Southwest's cheap non refundable fare (called Wanna Get Away) you don't actually get a refund, but you can cancel the trip, or change to a cheaper flight, and use the extra money you paid for a future trip within 12 months with no penalty. It's quite customer friendly.
To make it clear, it is 12 months from the purchase date of the ticket, not the issuance of the flight funds (source).
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Old Jan 22, 18, 1:15 pm
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Originally Posted by Lost View Post
My most common route is Phoenix to either SMF or OAK. Southwest and American are the dominant players on those routes and I'd say 4 times out of 5 AA ends up being cheaper. AA also has better departure times to SMF, which is my preferred airport
We'll be flying from PHX to the area a few days before coincidentally. Was thinking about flying AA to FAT but it is $225 at the moment, nearly twice the price of the Bay area airports. So might go for SMF or SJC.
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