San Francisco is the city at the beginning and the end of many journeys. Crossing over the Golden Gate Bridge or flying in over the bay can be a homecoming, or the beginning of your next big adventure.
When you fly to San Francisco with British Airways, you can be assured that you’ll get great service every step of the way. Fly down through the bay area’s atmospheric swathes of fog and sunshine to land in one of America’s most welcoming cities – a multicultural, permissive and often glamorous high-tech wonderland. We fly twice a day from London to San Francisco every single day of the year. When are you going to visit this holiday paradise? We’ll take you there.
Madrid to San Francisco: Flight time
flight time to San Francisco
Flights to San Francisco
With two direct daily flights to San Francisco from London Heathrow you can choose flights to suit you and your travel plans. Whatever shape your trip is taking, from an extended road trip to a whistle-stop city break, we have flights to San Francisco for everyone.
For inspiration on what to do when you arrive, make sure you check out our San Francisco travel guides, which are packed with expert tips from on-the-ground locals and award-winning travel writers.
Everything you need to know about flying to San Francisco with British Airways
What’s the cheapest time to fly to San Francisco?
San Francisco is a very popular destination with more than 18 million tourists visiting annually. The summer months of June, July and August are particularly popular times for tourism in San Francisco, so airfares can be higher. To find our cheapest flights to San Francisco, use our lowest fare finder.
How long is the flight time from London to San Francisco?
The flight takes just over ten and a half hours. British Airways operates two direct flights to San Francisco a day: fly from London Heathrow to San Francisco International Airport (SFO).
Where is San Francisco International Airport and what is the best way to get into the city?
San Francisco International Airport is situated 12 miles south of the Downtown area of the city. Hiring a car is an easy way to get around this city and to and from the airport, and gives you the freedom to take day trips to the coast or road trips.
There are several taxi ranks at the airport, and the cost to San Francisco is between $50-$70 (don’t forget there may be an airport surcharge on taxis). Take the hassle out of your airport transfer by pre-booking a Shuttle Transfer with us, simply choose the best option for you when you make you flights or holiday reservation. The cost is around $17 and the time they take to reach your destination will depend on the number of passengers.
A no-reservation-required bus, the SAM Trans, costs just $2-$5 and runs from the airport to various destinations en route to Downtown. Or prebook the BART bus on its website, it departs from outside the International Terminal and costs from just $8.40 for a trip into the city.
Do I need a visa to travel to San Francisco?
If you’re travelling on a British passport, there’s no need to get a visa in advance – but you do need to apply for an ESTA at least 72 hours before you travel. There is a $14 fee for registration and, once approved, your ESTA is valid for multiple journeys for two years or until your passport expires.
Which cabins can I book when I fly to San Francisco?
Our economy cabins are great value for those looking for cheap flights to San Francisco. You can select your seats in advance for an extra fee – the quieter seats are towards the front of the plane, while those directly above the wings reduce the intensity of turbulence. Alternatively, free seat selection is available 24 hours in advance when online check-in opens*.
*Free seat selection 24 hours in advance is not available if you are travelling on a hand baggage only (Basic) fare.
How many bags can I check in on my flight to San Francisco?
Choose to fly with hand baggage only or pick a price that includes a 23kg checked baggage allowance and free seat selection 24 hours before you fly. There is an additional baggage allowances for those travelling in premium economy (two 23kg bags), business class (two bags at 32kg each) and first class (three bags at 32kg each). If you have any additional baggage requirements, read our baggage guide to find out more.
Three long-haul flight tips for San Francisco
Travelling can be very tiring, but there are a few simple steps you can take to make sure you arrive feeling as well as possible.
Drink plenty of water to keep yourself fully hydrated throughout the flight and beforehand. Limiting your alcohol and caffeine intake during the flight and before it will aid this, and could also help you sleep.
You can beat jet lag by adjusting to your new time zone as soon as you board the plane to LA time. Use our jet lag calculator to find out more.
Move around regularly during the flight and do some simple stretching exercises to keep blood flowing. The slowing of blood circulation is one of the most common side-effects of jet lag.
Plan your perfect San Francisco trip
Where to stay
Whatever type of hotel you are looking for and in whichever neighbourhood, from the waterside location of Fisherman’s Wharf to hip hangout of Hayes Valley, near local attractions or on the bay, our carefully chosen San Francisco hotels suit every budget.
While you’re in San Francisco make the most of the great scenery, both in the city and outside it. Walking the length of the iconic Golden Gate Bridge is a must, and why not also take an urban hike underneath the bridge from the Marina to Fort Point.
Apart from the ever-growing restaurant scene, San Francisco is also lucky enough to have an amazing number of bars. From those for the young and hip to classic cocktail bars, you’re spoilt for choice here.