Your Guide to SFO

Table of Contents

Section I - ATC Guide

» Airport Information

» Frequencies

» SIDs and STARs

Section II - Pilot Guide

» Arriving

» Departing

» Terminal Information

Section III - Featured Routes

» SFO Commerical Flights

» GA Commutes

Section I - ATC Guide


Class Bravo
Airport Elevation 13ft
Magnetic Variance 13° E
Total Stand 103
RWY °T Dimensions Approaches
28L 284° 11,381 ft × 200′ ILS, RNAV, RNP
28R 284° 11,870 ft × 200′ ILS, RNAV, RNP
1L 14° 7,650 ft × 200′ RNAV, RNP
1R 14° 8,650 ft × 200′ RNAV, RNP
10L 104° 11,870 ft × 200′ RNAV, RNP
10R 104° 11,381 ft × 200′ RNAV, RNP
19L 194° 8,650 ft × 200′ ILS, RNAV, RNP
19R 194° 7,650 ft × 200′ RNAV, RNP

ATIS Remarks

Remark Authorized Reason
No Intersection Departures No Must always be allowed because they do not block the only taxiway for aircraft to access full length and it does not affect the departure/arrival flow rate.
No Pattern Work No You must always allow pattern work if traffic volume allows for it.
No Light Aircraft Yes The airport is for large airliners and light aircraft should not be allowed.
Size Restrictions No The airport can accommodate the largest aircraft and no restrictions are in place.


As the ground controller, your goal is to efficiently cross aircraft across runways 1L/R and deconflict before conflicts occur, not after. The ground controller should be handling all crossings with the exception of exit crossings (28L/R) which should be taken by tower at all times using “exit and cross” or “exit and hold”.


As the tower controller, you should be using a systematic pattern that maximizes the ratio between arrivals and departures. Once you get a flow going, SFO is very thrilling to control. More information can be found here.

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28L/R Departure Procedures Direction
SNTNA2 North / East
WESLA4 South
1L/R Departure Procedures Direction
TRUKN2 North / East
SSTIK4 South
OFFSH2 South


28L/R Arrival Procedures Direction
SERFR4 South
BDEGA3 North

Section II - Pilot Guide

Credit to

SFO almost always uses the well known “28-1” runway configuration. When arriving, your choices will be limited to only runways 28L and 28R. This is due to terrain, runway length, winds, and other factors. It is very rare for conditions to favor anything but 28L/R for arrivals.

After landing, exit the runway at either Echo, Delta, or Tango. Aircraft rarely use Kilo and Quebec to exit.

When departing SFO, keep in mind that runways 28L/R and 1R are the only runways that allow departures for heavies, while lighter aircraft may take off from any runway that is active.

If taxiing to runways 1L/R and 1R, exit your ramp and proceed right to join taxiway Alpha. If taxiing to 1R, continue straight ahead and taxi behind runway 1L on taxiway Alpha 1. When taxiing to runway 28L, exit your ramp and proceed to Alpha. Take Alpha to Foxtrot or Foxtrot 1 to cross 1L/R. Continue down Foxtrot to 28L/R.

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Credit to

Airline Assignments
Airline Terminal
AeroMexico1 International
Air Canada International
Air China International
Air France International
Air New Zealand International
AirTran Airways Terminal 1
Alaska Airlines Terminal 1
Alaska Airlines (Mexico arrivals only) International
American Terminal 2
ANA (All Nippon Airways) International
Asiana International
British Airways International
Cathay Pacific International
China Airlines International
Delta (domestic) Terminal 1
Delta (international) International
Emirates International
EVA Air International
Frontier Terminal 1
Hawaiian Airlines International
Japan Airlines International
JetBlue International
KLM International
Korean Air International
LACSA International
LAN International
Lufthansa International
Philippine Airlines International
Singapore Airlines International
Southwest Terminal 1
Sun Country International
SWISS International
TACA International
United (domestic) Terminal 3
United (international) International
US Airways Terminal 1
Virgin America Terminal 2
Virgin America (Mexico arrivals only) International
Virgin Atlantic International
WestJet International
XL Airways France International

See for more terminal information.

Destination Airline Aircraft Flight Time
Burbank (KBUR) United Express CRJ2 / CRJ7 1:15
Burbank (KBUR) Southwest B737 1:20
Fresno (KFAT) United Express CRJ2 / CRJ7 1:00
Palm Springs (KPSP) United Express CRJ2 / CRJ7/E170 2:00
North Bend (KOTH) United Express CRJ2 / CRJ7 1:00
Redding (KRDD) United Express CRJ2 / CRJ7 1:10
San Diego (KSAN) United Express E170 1:25
San Diego (KSAN) United A319 1:30
San Diego (KSAN) Southwest B737 / B738 1:40
Route Flight Time
Santa Barbara (KSBA) - Van Nuys (KVNY) 2:38
Stockton (KSCK) - Palo Alto (KPAO) 0:23
Santa Monica (KSMO) - Montgomery Field (KMYF) 0:39

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Featured routes from the ATC Schedule.

banner made by @Henry


Very informational and well put together Luca! Excellent work. I will for sure be using this tomorrow!!


Love this guide! Always great to see people being realistic at my home airport

Just one thing, many Hawaii-bound flights can depart 1L, even heavies such as the A330 or 767. Anything larger is not permitted, but these are

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Nice guide, will use this next time I am visiting SFO :)

Love the details in this thread!

Very Nice! Thank you so much for making this. Annoys me so much when I see a SWA at the International Terminal or a United at the Alaska/American gates… Hopefully this will help a little

I really like this guide!

Thank you so much! I’m headed over from Boston & I’ve bookmarked this so I know how to get to the gate without bothering the 200 inbounds.


Very good guide @lucaviness! I like how your thread is structured :)

Very good thread! Cannot wait too be flying GA soon!

Wow great tutorial!! Keep up the good work!

Brilliant topic ! Thanks for all your work !

Great guide and fantastic work!

You forgot to put SWISS airlines in the airline list :)

Thanks guys, means a lot!

@Philippe_Gilbert SWISS has no designated terminal, which is why I didn’t include it. They’re mostly in International Terminal G though.

I did some research and it says they are based out of International Terminal G. I still think you should add it so people know SWISS flies to SFO

Added! Thanks Philippe!

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This Guide Is amazing! SFO is one of my favorite airports and I LOVE the Arrival which takes you parallel to the golden gate bridge (BDEGA3). I’m flying in right now from Phillie and I’m super excited (Until I destroy my A321 on R28R :D. Hope this guide is helpful for everyone flying in/out. Good job @lucaviness

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Great service at SFO earlier - now currently 5h40mins into a marathon 19hr ULH from KSFO to FAOR in the IF A350-900.

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I think I may have spotted you near the eastern seaboard.