Flying Christmas Eve
Heading to the airport for that last-minute trip to see family and friends? First, our condolences for what's likely to be a long and stressful day of travel, but we admire your grit and commitment.
San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose airports recommend arriving 90 minutes prior to domestic flights, and two or three hours before international flights.
Mineta San Jose International Airport spokeswoman Vicki Day says, "That's probably a minimum," especially if you're trying to catch one of the first flights out of any given terminal. She says it's not just the higher traffic that could slow things down.
"The passengers are not our normal weekly travel warriors," she says. "They’re the more occasional traveler. Or they may be traveling with family members, with children they have to assist. Or they’re traveling with more luggage because they have presents they want to bring with them."
Expect Delays and Arrive Early
One major change that could make things easier: You can now take BART all the way to Oakland International Airport, after transferring to the Oakland Airport Connector at Coliseum Station. The first train on Christmas Eve leaves the Coliseum at 4:45 a.m. and arrives at OAK at 4:53 a.m. See the rest of the schedule here.
The first BART train arrives at SFO tomorrow morning at 5:28 a.m., too late for the earliest flights. The airport has a guide with additional options. Here's a similar guide for getting to San Jose International.
Closer to Home
Maybe your holiday travel plans are as simple as a short trek across town or the bay.
BART is running a regular weekday schedule Christmas Eve, but trains will be on a Sunday schedule Christmas Day.
511.org has a master list with links to holiday schedules for various Bay Area transit systems.
Christmas Day means a holiday from parking tickets, mostly. San Francisco will not enforce residential permits, any street sweeping restrictions or parking meters.