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International arrival, can I get an item from my bag during a 13 hour layover in SFO?

International arrival, can I get an item from my bag during a 13 hour layover in SFO?

Old Jul 28, 19, 9:53 pm
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International arrival, can I get an item from my bag during a 13 hour layover in SFO?

I'm currently looking at a flight that requires a 13 hour layover at SFO. I'll be arriving at SFO at around 8:30 in the morning and then fly out roughly 13 hours later. I don't want to stay at the airport for the entire time so I'm going to head out to the city. I'm assuming I'll have to clear US customs at SFO and then can I retrieve my suitcase, take out something from my suitcase, and then re-check my suitcase or store it at SFO until I depart in the evening?
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Old Jul 28, 19, 10:12 pm
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Originally Posted by lsquare View Post
I'm currently looking at a flight that requires a 13 hour layover at SFO. I'll be arriving at SFO at around 8:30 in the morning and then fly out roughly 13 hours later. I don't want to stay at the airport for the entire time so I'm going to head out to the city. I'm assuming I'll have to clear US customs at SFO and then can I retrieve my suitcase, take out something from my suitcase, and then re-check my suitcase or store it at SFO until I depart in the evening?
Yes
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Old Jul 28, 19, 10:42 pm
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Beware, if initially checking the bag with UA, UA may not check-thru SFO. See Overnight, long layover/connection check through baggage question (consolidated) for the UA guidelines (may not check-thru with connections over 12 hours) YMMV
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Old Jul 28, 19, 11:38 pm
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Originally Posted by WineCountryUA View Post
Beware, if initially checking the bag with UA, UA may not check-thru SFO. See Overnight, long layover/connection check through baggage question (consolidated) for the UA guidelines (may not check-thru with connections over 12 hours) YMMV
Right -- so the whole issue may be moot anyway (and OP may be stuck finding a place to store the bag).

Also, this is assuming that the inbound is coming from a place without preclearance. If the flight is coming from, e.g., Vancouver, OP wouldn't have access to checked luggage if UA did, in fact, check it through to the destination.
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Old Jul 29, 19, 12:09 am
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
Right -- so the whole issue may be moot anyway (and OP may be stuck finding a place to store the bag).

Also, this is assuming that the inbound is coming from a place without preclearance. If the flight is coming from, e.g., Vancouver, OP wouldn't have access to checked luggage if UA did, in fact, check it through to the destination.
If OP is coming to SFO from a pre-clearance destination, could they request the bag only be tagged for the first leg?

If UA wouldn't accept a bag for 13 hours later, can be stored at Airport Travel Agency.
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Old Jul 29, 19, 12:53 am
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I think OP's flight is same day - arriving in the am and departing pm. As long as it is tagged my experience has been they will take it after customs.

When it is an overnight, i.e. arrive pm and depart am then they will not take it.

I often put things in and take things out of my bag in the baggage arrival hall and then take the bag through customs and put it on the belt outside for delivery to the next plane. For example, if I have come from cold weather if i did not put my overcoat in my bag when I checked it in then will do so on retrieval at SFO before connecting. Same with liquids.
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Old Jul 29, 19, 1:12 am
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While you will most likely be able to access you checked baggage to clear customs upon arrival at SFO, there is always the very small chance that it could get lost/delayed/etc. If you need something for your layover, it might be worth taking it with you as carry-on.
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Old Jul 29, 19, 1:29 am
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
Right -- so the whole issue may be moot anyway (and OP may be stuck finding a place to store the bag).

Also, this is assuming that the inbound is coming from a place without preclearance. If the flight is coming from, e.g., Vancouver, OP wouldn't have access to checked luggage if UA did, in fact, check it through to the destination.
The inbound flight is from PVG. From SFO, I'll be flying to YVR. I'm pretty sure I'll be clearing customs whether I'm doing a layover or a stopover right?
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Old Jul 29, 19, 1:31 am
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Originally Posted by Aussienarelle View Post
I think OP's flight is same day - arriving in the am and departing pm. As long as it is tagged my experience has been they will take it after customs.

When it is an overnight, i.e. arrive pm and depart am then they will not take it.

I often put things in and take things out of my bag in the baggage arrival hall and then take the bag through customs and put it on the belt outside for delivery to the next plane. For example, if I have come from cold weather if i did not put my overcoat in my bag when I checked it in then will do so on retrieval at SFO before connecting. Same with liquids.
It is the same day. As I said in the OP, I'll be arriving early in the morning and then fly out in the evening. I think the part that confuses me is how do I tell UA to let me pick up my suitcase at SFO after arriving from PVG? At PVG, they'll be giving me the boarding passes to SFO and then onward to YVR right? FYI, I've never tried to do this at SFO before.

Originally Posted by tylerdurden4543 View Post
If OP is coming to SFO from a pre-clearance destination, could they request the bag only be tagged for the first leg?

If UA wouldn't accept a bag for 13 hours later, can be stored at Airport Travel Agency.
Where is this and how much will it cost?

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Jul 29, 19 at 1:41 am Reason: merging consecutive posts by same member
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Old Jul 29, 19, 1:45 am
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Originally Posted by lsquare View Post
It is the same day. As I said in the OP, I'll be arriving early in the morning and then fly out in the evening. I think the part that confuses me is how do I tell UA to let me pick up my suitcase at SFO after arriving from PVG? At PVG, they'll be giving me the boarding passes to SFO and then onward to YVR right? FYI, I've never tried to do this at SFO before. ...
After you clear SFO customs and immigration, turn left and shortly there will be a bag drop for those with check-thru bags. Checking bags not checked thru need to be done at the standard check in counters
Originally Posted by lsquare View Post
Where is this and how much will it cost?
flysfo.com

Baggage storage is exclusively available at the Airport Travel Agency, located on the Departures/Ticketing Level of the International Terminal, near the entrance to Gates G91-G102. The Airport Travel Agency is open daily from 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. No reservations are required for baggage storage. All baggage is x-rayed prior to storage. Rates are assessed per each 24 hour period that an article is in storage (articles in storage for less than 24 hours will be subject to the 24 hour rate), and vary according to the size of the object. Please contact the Airport Travel Agency at 650.877.0422 or [email protected] for additional information.
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Old Jul 29, 19, 1:45 am
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Originally Posted by lsquare View Post
It is the same day. As I said in the OP, I'll be arriving early in the morning and then fly out in the evening. I think the part that confuses me is how do I tell UA to let me pick up my suitcase at SFO after arriving from PVG? At PVG, they'll be giving me the boarding passes to SFO and then onward to YVR right? FYI, I've never tried to do this at SFO before.
You will* go through US Customs at SFO, even though your final destination is outside of the US. You'll need to pick up your bags at baggage claim and walk them through customs. You can then drop them off again at a special re-check station that's set up just outside of customs. If you need to put something in your bag, or take something out of it, or whatever, you can do it there. You could also just walk away with your bag and bring it back to the United counter later.

And, yes, you should expect to get your SFO and YVR boarding passes both in PVG.

* Barring a significant change of procedure, anyway. There are some US airports where international-to-international bags do not have to be re-checked, but SFO isn't currently one of them. This isn't a major worry, in my opinion, but I mention it for completeness.
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Old Jul 29, 19, 1:53 am
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Originally Posted by lsquare View Post
how do I tell UA to let me pick up my suitcase at SFO after arriving from PVG?
You don't, because you have to collect your bag, there is no alternative option. For some reason the US doesn't have airside transit, unlike the rest of the world, perhaps they think an archaic policy will match their ancient airports...
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Old Jul 29, 19, 2:03 am
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Originally Posted by skywardhunter View Post
You don't, because you have to collect your bag, there is no alternative option. For some reason the US doesn't have airside transit, unlike the rest of the world, perhaps they think an archaic policy will match their ancient airports...
SMH...

I guess in this case, it'll work in my favour.

Thanks guys!!!
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Old Jul 29, 19, 2:07 am
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Originally Posted by skywardhunter View Post
For some reason the US doesn't have airside transit, unlike the rest of the world
Most countries have one or two major international airports. Some countries with a lot of air traffic have four or five. The US has well over 20 airports with scheduled international service -- in fact, it's close to 50, although many of them (e.g., ONT) don't exactly have a ton of connecting traffic.

I-I transfers are too small a part of the US traffic profile for airports to want to invest in ways to make them work (e.g., international-only terminals).
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Old Jul 29, 19, 2:29 am
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
Most countries have one or two major international airports. Some countries with a lot of air traffic have four or five. The US has well over 20 airports with scheduled international service -- in fact, it's close to 50, although many of them (e.g., ONT) don't exactly have a ton of connecting traffic.

I-I transfers are too small a part of the US traffic profile for airports to want to invest in ways to make them work (e.g., international-only terminals).
I suppose it also has to do with lack of exit immigration in the US, hence no sterile area for departures. Most small international airports simply have a passage-way from arrival to the sterile departures area, not a major infrastructure need, but since there is no sterile departures area in the US this affects it. Surely for a few major airports, especially JFK and MIA with the connecting traffic to South America, it would make sense, but then there's the additional issue that terminals and gates in the US belong to airlines so each airline would have to have their own arrangement for this, as opposed to a common terminal
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