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Is 2 hours transit time in SFO enough for a NZ-citizen flying Kelowna,BC - SFO - Auckland? and How long does it take to transfer from Terminal 3 to Terminal 1 at SFO? are not duplicates because my situation is different — no customs to worry about. However, if I fly into SFO on a domestic flight, get off at an ‘F’ gate, and have to check in for an international flight, can that be done without going through TSA again? If both are on time I'd have three hours, seven minutes. The flight to SFO is a hundred dollars cheaper than anything else I've found so far.

From the far end of 'F' to the far end of 'A' is more than a kilometer, but I don't know where check-in is for China Eastern, or whether I can check in/print tickets in advance online.

  • "and have to check in for an international flight" Are you sure you can't check in for all the flight segments when you check in for your first flight at the point of departure? – user102008 Dec 10 '17 at 23:25
  • "can that be done without going through TSA again" China Eastern seems to be in International Terminal A gates, and I believe that there are currently no airside connections between International Terminal A gates and anywhere else in the airport, so you will have to go through security again. There is a airside corridor between Terminal 3 and International Terminal G gates, but not A gates. – user102008 Dec 10 '17 at 23:31
  • I may be able to check in for the SFO flight in IND, but they are separate ticket purchases. Haven't bought the IND yet due to this question, but the price is very attractive. – WGroleau Dec 10 '17 at 23:37
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You will have to go through TSA security to get to the A gates, as that side of the international terminal does not have a secure connector. The China Eastern check-in area is in the area marked "International Terminal Main Hall" on the airport map. You'll then walk the rest of the way across that hall to the security checkpoint, then down to the A gates.

This is doable in three hours, even more so if you do not need to retrieve baggage, but it doesn't provide a ton of safety margin if your flight is delayed. If you miss your connection, the replacement flight will likely be at your expense since you've bought separate tickets, and a last-minute purchase will be expensive. And China Eastern only operates one flight a day to Shanghai (3/week to Qingdao), so missing the connection will likely mean an overnight stay unless you buy last-minute tickets on United's afternoon Shanghai flights.

Whether or not the risk to your time and wallet is worth it is your decision.

  • Not only was the three hours not worth the risk (given the above information), I found a cheaper flight three days earlier. – WGroleau Dec 11 '17 at 21:59

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