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I will be flying to the states soon, however, I will be flying into SFO and transiting to domestic (both United on the same ticket to the final destination). I have never transited before and am quite unsure of what to do when I eventually land in San Francisco.

From what I gather, since the final destination is on a single ticket: I should clear immigration, collect bags at SFO international arrival and just proceed to the domestic bag drop. Where is that located and do I need to check in again?

I'm assuming I do not have to check in again as my bag tags are printed for the final domestic destination in the US and I will also receive the boarding passes for the domestic flight before I board the flight to the US. Is that correct?

Is there anything else I need to take note of?

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Yup, that's pretty much it. The domestic bag drop is to your left as you exit Customs after baggage claim and well signposted, you can't really miss it. All major airlines including United are covered, for smaller ones it's possible you'd need to drag your suitcases over to the regular checkin counters but I've never run into this (my domestic US flights are almost always United).

As long as you've received all your boarding passes you do not need to check-in again. The one thing to beware of is that you will need to pass through TSA security screening again, which can be quite time-consuming on a bad day, so allow time for this in your plans. SFO immigration can also be quite slow (1 hr+) on a bad day.

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  • Haven’t been in a while, but the bag drop is actually for all connecting flights, right? No difference between international and domestic in any US airport I can remember of…
    – jcaron
    Mar 15, 2023 at 7:43
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    "so allow time for this in your plans"? What exactly should the OP do here? United sold them the ticket so they think it can be done. United has vast amount of data about transferring in SFO so their judgement is the best you can get.
    – Hilmar
    Mar 15, 2023 at 12:05
  • @Hilmar - well, the last time I went through SFO from Singapore United's plan didn't work out too well. But, indeed, I should perhaps have chosen a different connection later in the day, the one I actually got...
    – Jon Custer
    Mar 15, 2023 at 12:37
  • Fair enough. Connections are never guaranteed but the airlines will typically make sure you have a 98%+ chance since handling a missed connection costs them time and money.
    – Hilmar
    Mar 15, 2023 at 14:27
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    @Hilmar It means don't plan on eating, shopping, going to the USO, or visiting observation decks outside security unless you have plenty of time. It also limits your use of arrivals lounges in places that have them. (None left at SFO)
    – user71659
    Mar 15, 2023 at 20:35

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