Is SFO uniquely awful?

Old May 16, 19, 5:36 pm
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Is SFO uniquely awful?

My UA900 flight would have arrived like 45 minutes early but they put the plane on a holding pattern, pretty much eating up most of the time.

Then we land and taxi for a bit and then have to wait a few minutes while another plane pushes off the designated gate.

Then the plane rolls up, partially turned into the slot and then waits another 5-10 minutes. The other plane was good but apparently they weren't ready to have the plane come in and park. At least I assume that was the airport, not UA purposely stopping about 50 feet away from the parked position for 5-10 minutes.

The jetway has puddles along the walls.

Then the baggage claim follies. Took 40-45 minutes after I got off the plane to retrieve my checked bags. That's about the average of the last half dozen times I've arrived in SFO. Once I waited over an hour and the first bags which came out to the carousel didn't have "Priority" labels. In fact those came out later.

Today, I would say about 35 minutes before bags started coming.
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Old May 16, 19, 6:43 pm
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Originally Posted by wco81 View Post
Is SFO uniquely awful?
Yes.

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Old May 16, 19, 6:46 pm
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There's unusual rainy weather today.

Otherwise,
Originally Posted by wco81 View Post
Took 40-45 minutes after I got off the plane to retrieve my checked bags.
this is average for me across all airports, SFO isn't unusually good or bad.
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Old May 16, 19, 8:14 pm
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OP, you had a bad experience at SFO, on a bad weather day. Based on that one experience -- you mention no other -- you ask if SFO is "uniquely awful"?
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Old May 16, 19, 8:17 pm
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No baggage claim has been slow for at least the last half dozen times.

over an hour one time, first bags coming after over 35 minutes?
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Old May 16, 19, 8:20 pm
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Originally Posted by wco81 View Post
My UA900 flight would have arrived like 45 minutes early but they put the plane on a holding pattern, pretty much eating up most of the time.

Then we land and taxi for a bit and then have to wait a few minutes while another plane pushes off the designated gate.

Then the plane rolls up, partially turned into the slot and then waits another 5-10 minutes. The other plane was good but apparently they weren't ready to have the plane come in and park. At least I assume that was the airport, not UA purposely stopping about 50 feet away from the parked position for 5-10 minutes.

The jetway has puddles along the walls.

Then the baggage claim follies. Took 40-45 minutes after I got off the plane to retrieve my checked bags. That's about the average of the last half dozen times I've arrived in SFO. Once I waited over an hour and the first bags which came out to the carousel didn't have "Priority" labels. In fact those came out later.

Today, I would say about 35 minutes before bags started coming.
Hey, at least you GOT your luggage. I'm looking at you, LHR, and your seeming propensity to lose/not connect my luggage what seems like 50% of the time.
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Old May 16, 19, 11:16 pm
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Seems this is more of an issue with United at SFO. United employees are responsible for unloading the bags and they're responsible for greeting and marshaling in the aircraft. Your plane stopping 50 feet of the jetway basically tells you there are no ground handlers or marshals to bring in the aircraft to the gate. Given the amount of times I've waited for planes to be towed to gates or waited on ground staff to bring in the flight at SFO, I've come to the conclusion that United is short staffed at SFO in the ground staff department.
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Old May 17, 19, 9:17 am
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Originally Posted by freeagent View Post
Seems this is more of an issue with United at SFO. United employees are responsible for unloading the bags and they're responsible for greeting and marshaling in the aircraft. Your plane stopping 50 feet of the jetway basically tells you there are no ground handlers or marshals to bring in the aircraft to the gate. Given the amount of times I've waited for planes to be towed to gates or waited on ground staff to bring in the flight at SFO, I've come to the conclusion that United is short staffed at SFO in the ground staff department.
It's been a long while since I flew UA to SFO, but this was my experience, as well. I now fly AA to SFO and there are none of the same gate/baggage issues. The "cloudy day" delays are still there, of course.
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Old May 18, 19, 11:23 am
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Well, the airport itself is certainly not awful. At least not Terminal 3 and International Terminal, the ones I am most familiar with.

The thing I notice most is weather-related delays. I have learned to plan around them.

I don't notice problems with the handling of checked baggage, since I rarely check any bags. In fact, I can't even remember the last time I checked bags, though I certainly have done so.
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Old May 19, 19, 12:43 pm
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Originally Posted by KathyWdrf View Post
Well, the airport itself is certainly not awful. At least not Terminal 3 and International Terminal, the ones I am most familiar with.
In addition, for my taste, I find T2 (along with LAS D) probably my favorite domestic terminal, especially now that it's connected with DL's T1 operation. For long flights originating from SFO, delays are tolerable, I suppose. The problem is when connecting, say, via NYC, you have to really take a flight the night before or the earlier ones, in case the weather thing pops up. For closer connections, better to go through OAK, where it's much easier to pass security and just a more efficiently run operation there.
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Old May 19, 19, 12:49 pm
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Originally Posted by Visconti View Post
In addition, for my taste, I find T2 (along with LAS D) probably my favorite domestic terminal, especially now that it's connected with DL's T1 operation. For long flights originating from SFO, delays are tolerable, I suppose. The problem is when connecting, say, via NYC, you have to really take a flight the night before or the earlier ones, in case the weather thing pops up. For closer connections, better to go through OAK, where it's much easier to pass security and just a more efficiently run operation there.
T2 is lovely. T3 is acceptable. Int'l A and G are very nice, and have the (unusual) feature of most boarding areas sunken from the general pedestrian flow (and retail / dining) for a much easier terminal experience. I've no doubt that the rebuilt T1 will be as lovely as any of the newer SFO construction. T1 (C) is meh outside of the DL lounge, although it is not an unattractive space (notwithstanding the appearance of entering a bank vault every time you board a DL aircraft).
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Old May 25, 19, 12:33 am
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Not sure any of these problems is unique to SFO. And I will gladly take any of them compared to the ridiculous hike to the Heathrow Express from LHR terminal 2 (UA gates are the farthest) or when connecting at FRA. Or the malarial mosquitos flying around the terminal at LAD.

Originally Posted by wco81 View Post
My UA900 flight would have arrived like 45 minutes early but they put the plane on a holding pattern, pretty much eating up most of the time.
Then we land and taxi for a bit and then have to wait a few minutes while another plane pushes off the designated gate.
Unfortunately the airport does not have enough gates so sometime you have to wait. Usually it is on the ground but of course the weather was slowing landings for you.

Originally Posted by wco81 View Post
Then the baggage claim follies. Took 40-45 minutes after I got off the plane to retrieve my checked bags. That's about the average of the last half dozen times I've arrived in SFO. Once I waited over an hour and the first bags which came out to the carousel didn't have "Priority" labels. In fact those came out later.

Today, I would say about 35 minutes before bags started coming.
This is unusually long - most of the time they start coming off in 15-20m. Yet another reason why I never check bags unless absolutely necessary (i.e. family ski trip).
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Old May 25, 19, 12:45 am
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All I know is the last half dozen flights returning to SFO have been bad for baggage claims.

I hike a long way, sail through Global Entry.

Then I wait and wait.

And wait and wait.
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Old May 25, 19, 9:18 am
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Originally Posted by wco81 View Post
All I know is the last half dozen flights returning to SFO have been bad for baggage claims.

I hike a long way, sail through Global Entry.

Then I wait and wait.

And wait and wait.
Hike a long way? The walk from A12 or G12, the most distant point, is almost like no walk at all as compared to many of the world's international arrivals. It is also a simple single straight walk, no turns, no mazes, no confusion.
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Old May 26, 19, 3:23 pm
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Originally Posted by Eastbay1K View Post
Hike a long way? The walk from A12 or G12, the most distant point, is almost like no walk at all as compared to many of the world's international arrivals. It is also a simple single straight walk, no turns, no mazes, no confusion.
Agreed. In fact I'd struggle to think of a large international airport with a shorter walk to get to immigration than SFO.
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