The Oakland Airport

Archived Responses: 

Airport Transport between OAK and SFO

May 2006

Can anyone recommend the best way for a young teenager ( 14 years old), arriving from the East Coast, to get from Oakland Airport to SFO on a Saturday morning? I'm thinking that one of the shuttle vans would be best--but there are tons! Any recommendations?

You can take a shuttle from OAK to the Oakland Colliseum BART and then BART all the way to SFO. It's pretty easy, the shuttles are all just hanging around outside OAK Jill
I think you can take BART all the way now? Maybe look on the BART website for info on shuttles from OAK to the BART station? Good luck! Anon

Transportation from Oakland airport to SF Union Sq

March 2006

My dad is coming to town for a convention. Any recommendations on best way for him to get from OAK to his Union Square hotel? BART, a particular shuttle company, cab? He is nimble and travels light, and doesn't want to pay too much or spend too much time schlepping around. Thanks.

BART is very easy from the oakland airport. There's a shuttle ($2) to the BART station, then BART all the way to Powell Street, walk to Union square. We've had all our out of town visitors take that route, then we meet them at a cafe near union square to get them to our place. anon
Take either the AC Transit bus or BART shuttle from the airport to the Coliseum BART station, then catch either the Daly City or Millbrae train into SF, get off at Powell Station and it's a 5 minute walk up Powell Street to Union Square. The bus is $2 or less, the BART ride about $5. Buses run every 15 minutes, BART runs about every 15 minutes. Total travel time about 1:15. If your dad is nimble and travels light, this is the way to go. A shuttle or a cab would be much more expensive and, depending on traffic on the Bay Bridge, might take just as long.

Park and Fly at Oakland Airport on Christmas Eve

Nov 2005

I'm flying out of Oakland Airport on Christmas Eve day and would like to leave my car in a lot there until New Year's Day. Can anyone recommend a lot where I'd be able to make a reservation in advance? I realize that space will be at a premium at that point. Thanks!

Back in March, we used Expresso Parking, on Doolittle, when we took a trip to DC. As I recall, there was a coupon for CSAA members in the monthly AAA magazine, so it ended up being the cheapest of all the other parking lots ( Not sure if you still need the coupon, as I see a notation on their website to just show your card for a discount. The un-discounted price is $7.95/day for outdoor parking. We were pretty satisfied with the service. Oh, and they take reservations. Jim
I'd suggest: I think they're about the cheapest, and they take reservations online. -Mike
Have you considered taking BART? You can take it to the Coliseum station, then take the $2 AirBART shuttle to the airport. If you don't have someone to drop you off at your home station, some BART stations have long term parking for airport passengers. Check out their website at for specifics. May as well not use your car if you can help it. adaking88
Sounds silly, but you should try some of the airport hotels' ''stay-park-fly'' packages. You pay for just one night hotel, you can park with no extras charge for 10 days. They shuttle you right to your terminal. R.K.
Have you considered spending the night before at one of the airport hotels that offers a ''Park and Fly'' special? It's sure a lot less stressful and it ends up being about the same price.

We recently stayed at the Quality Inn near Oakland Airport and had a very nice experience there. Good breakfast, nice staff, prompt shuttle pickup and dropoff, and safe car parking.

If you do a Google search on ''Park and Fly'' and Oakland, you should come up with a list of hotels that offer special deals. Katy

When flying out of Oakland Airport I strongly recommend using Airpark for your off airport parking. The service is fantastic, the shuttles are clean and run often, the staff is nice and everything is so convenient. You can make a reservation online at: Hope this helps! Constantly Flying Mom of 2

Best way to get a family of 4 to the Oakland airport?

July 2004

We travel very infrequently by air, so I'm clueless about the most convenient and most economical way to get our family of four from the El Cerrito area to the Oakland Airport. We're leaving on the red-eye, so BART is not an option, and anyway, schlepping all our luggage on the BART train doesn't sound too appealing. Are we better off driving and parking in the long-term lot (prices I've been quoted range around the $10/day rate) or taking a cab or a shuttle? Shuttles seem to charge by the person, so that seems very steep. Cabs are in the $35-$50 range each way, so it seems about a wash with the long term parking. Will we wish we had our car right there when we get home, or will we be glad to be dropped off right at the gate when we first leave. For those of you who travel often, which do you prefer, and why? We'll be gone for eight days, so I guess we're looking at $80-$100 whichever way we do it. I just wonder if there are some things to consider when making this decision that I've not thought of. If parking in a long term lot is our best bet, is one better than another? Does one have to reserve a spot, or is parking always available? Clueless traveler

We just flew out of Oakland in live in El Cerrito. Well, obviously, we came back to Oakland too. :) We travelled with 4 kids and 4 carseats and decided to take our own car. I think we paid $74 for 7-8 days. Daddy picked up the car while we picked up luggage (out of 9 pieces, they only lost one) and it was really simple to wait at the curb for him. On the way out, he dropped us (me and the 4 kids) off at the curb and then he went to drop off the car (and used the shuttle to get back to the airport). He was back by the time we were ready to hit security. Kathy
I don't know when you're traveling but I was just told that PCA at the Oakland airport had opened a new lo, and to encourage new customers they were offering FREE parking until August 31. I tried it out and left my car for 8 days...was a bit nervous upon departing as I thought this sounded too good to be true, but low and behold, it was 100% free. You need to call or email to make a reservation before. Here's the info from the oakland chamber of commerce site:
''What could be better than knowing that a no-hassle, reserved parking space is waiting for you as you rush toward Oakland International Airport to begin your summer vacation or business trip? How about a FREE, reserved parking space? Parking Company of America Airports (PCA) has opened a new, convenient, secure, 2,400-space parking lot within one mile of the Bay Area\xc2\x92s most convenient, lowest-fare airport, and that\xc2\x92s what they\xc2\x92re offering \xc2\x96 totally FREE PARKING all summer long. The huge new PCA-Hegenberger lot is located at the intersection of Pardee Drive and Swan Way, just off Hegenberger Road near the entrance to the airport. For more info and to make a reservation, visit www.PCAFreeParking.c! om or by calling toll free (877) 888-PARK (877-888-7275). PCA doesn\xc2\x92t charge for reservations.''
Happy travels...! rabinm
I just got a free week of parking at PCA near Hegenberger (right onto Pardee near Francesca's restaurant). I believe they are offering free parking to everyone during July and August. It's a new lot and was a completely smooth (and free) experience for me. You should go on-line and make a reservation. Your printed reservation gets you out free. After August I think it's a much better rate than the on- airport lots but I'm not sure of the prices. Mary
My husband travels extensively (50-75% of his job). He takes a cab every time to the (Oakland) airport, unless I have an hour to spare to take him to the airport and back with my two kids in the backseat (in other words, not very often!). He calls the night before to reserve a cab and it always goes very smoothly. From our house (San Pablo and Ashby) it is a $30 cab ride. Super Shuttle charges the same, is often late, and you often have stops along the way to pick up other passengers. Call a cab. business travel widow
This may seem obvious, but the cheapest and easiest way is to ask a neighbor or nearby friend with a suitably large vehicle to take you and pick you up. Then you can return the favor next time they fly, and you both save a lot of money for a modest expenditure of time. David
We travel a couple of times a year with our child, and we always take our car to one of the off-site long term parking lots (not Oakland economy parking -- they now! charge $17 a day). By the time we get off the plane, we are so frazzled that we don't want to deal with getting a cab, making sure we have enough cash, etc. We just want to get in our own car and go home. Karen
personal opinion -- we like being able to come home, grab the shuttle to the parking lot, and get on home. too many times on bayporter etc. being driven to other people's houses first. the $$ are not really any issue at that point.
Here's a short term solution, only good until Aug. 31st 2004. You can park for free at the new PCA lot. See link below for coupon. . Jennifer
We used the free PCA lot at Oakland airport last month. Just go to for more information. It is located at Pardee Drive and Swan Way. When driving down Hegenburger towards the airport, make a right at Francesca's restaurant and drive to the end of the road. The free offer ends in August so take advantage of it while you can. I just recommend giving your van driver a bigger tip! Tora
When BART is not an option, we usually use Bayporter (see Being driven door-to-door is great. While they do charge per person, it is full price ($27 from El Cerrito to OAK) for only the first adult. Each additional adult is $12, and kids through age 12 are $7. I'm not sure if they charge for under-2's (though of course you will need a seat for the car seat). You don't say how old your kids are, but you can do the math. Also consider what time you will return, and where you've been. If your trip is to the Eastern time zone, and you return late in the evening, your body will feel like it's the middle of the night. Will you feel up to driving then? If you get back to Oakland earlier in the day, BART may be a money-saving option on your return (including a few dollars for a taxi from the BART station to your home). If you plan to consider BART, be sure to get a children's BART ticket (only $4.00 for $16.00 worth of travel) before you leave home. You can buy i! t lots of places, including Safeway - but not at the BART station itself. R.K.
If a cab is an option for you, it will actually be much easier when you get home. If you park your car offsite you have to wait for the shuttle, lug your own bags up the steps, and then walk to your car from wherever the shuttle drops you off in the lot. Then you generally have some hassle with paying as you exit. Cabs at Oakland Airport are frequent and plentiful, and you'll be able to pile in and head straight home. The only issue I can think of is carseats. I guess it depends on whether you're taking them with you on your flight. Have a great one whatever you decide. frequent flier
I've taken the shuttle, cabs, and used longterm parking at Oakland airport. I make my decision based on how many of us are going and for how long. If we'll be gone less than a week, and all of us are going, it's usually cheapest to drive the car and park at the airport. Just allow time for getting from parking lot to airport. Airport shuttles are convenient because they pick you up at your house and deliver you right to the departure area. They usually give discounts for additinal family members. There's one on the BPN website that has carseats and specializes in families with little kids. The downside is they may want to fetch you 2 hours before departure time to allow for picking up other passengers. My older kids and visiting relatives sometimes take BART to/from the Oakland airport. It's pretty convenient if you don't live too far from a BART station but I think it would be a hassle with little kids and/or a lot of luggage. My son and I recently took a cab from the Oak airport to our home in Berkeley, and it was about $37, which was cheaper than taking the shuttle and a heck of a lot more convenient. Ginger
Expresso Parking on Doolittle has a shuttle (they all do) to the airport. Self-Park outdoors is I think $6.95/day. They also have self park indoors - don't know cost, and valet $10.95/day. They also honor AAA for a 15% discount, and the shuttle drivers are pretty nice. I use them a lot and have been happy every time. I think they have a website as well. I found out about them from the AAA magazine I get. They also have a frequent parker program for free days on your next trip after 7 days (not sure if only valet days or not.) Anyway, happy parking. PS, I used to use VIP on Hegenberger, but they only have outdoor (got bird droppings on my car), and I really like the indoors in the rain. frequent Oakland airport parker
Easy - rent a car one way. Most of the name brand car rental companies let you rent a car in one place in the Bay Area and return it in another with no extra fee. I've done it several times both to OAK and SFO. You do have to pick the car up but there are enough name brand rental places around so that shouldn't be a problem. Jon
I highly suggest using Airpark Oakland on 98th Avenue. Their website is and there is a coupon on the webpage. They are just great. You drive you car there - you can even make a reservation online - park and their shuttle will take you, your family and all of your luggage to the airport. The people who work there are nice and very, very helpful - especially with your kids and their stuff. Definitely check them out - I cannot give them higher praise. Very Frequent Family Flier
I hope I'm replying to the right post--about how / where to park at the airport. The best deal in town this summer is free airport parking at the new PCA at Oakland Airport! Just go to and enter your name and dates of travel. You will get a coupon to print out. The lot is really close to the airport and it seems to be very well organized and running smoothly. I traveled for a few days and it could not have been easier--and it's FREE, all summer, through Aug. 31! Tracy
My husband sorted out this issue for us a while ago. He rents a car here in Berkeley and we drop it off at the airport. Generally, it runs about $30-40. We have done it coming home from the airport as well. good luck! frequent flyer

Should we drive or take a cab? How early to arrive?

Dec 2002

We'll be travelling out of Oakland International Airport next week (United Airlines). I'm be interested in advice from others who have travelled recently (particularly over the Thanksgiving holiday) on how long to expect check-in and security to take. Also, any advice on whether to take a cab to the airport (we are a family of four including two little ones in car seats) or whether we should just drive ourselves and park in long-term parking (we're travelling one week before Xmas so I imagine there will still be long-term parking available). Thanks! Margaret

I highly suggest parking at off-airport parking (less expensive and easier in & out). Taking their shuttle is quick and easy (even with kids) and they will assist you with getting your luggage on & off of their shuttle. Check out this link - it is for Airpark - right off Hagenberger. There is a coupon attached as well. Have a great trip! A Seasoned Traveling Mom
Hi - We travel frequently out of Oakland International with our two year old child. What we generally do is park at an off-site long term parking lot (PCA) on 98th Ave. They use shuttles and help get luggage off and on for you so you can manage the children. We just leave our son in his stroller for the shuttle to the airport since there are no seatbelts to attach a car seat with. The cost is significantly less per day than parking in the airport's long term lot. We try to do this about 30-45 minutes before we are due at the airport. In terms of check-in, security, etc while inside the airport - I suggest getting there about 1-1 1/2 hours prior to your departure. The lines move swiftly at Oakland, in my experience. Hope this helps. A Travellin' Mama
I travelled on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, and had no problems whatsoever. It all seemed scarily easy. We ended up with over an hour to kill at the gate because check-in took 5 minutes and security less. And Dulles was the same coming home. Long term parking isn't bad, but at $12 a day you could pay for a cab, which is easier all around. I waited over 45 minutes at midnight (with my 5 y/o) for a shuttle to LTP, and finally asked one of the traffic cops and she laughed and told us to walk to our car, five minutes away. During which three shuttles passed us, in a row. Kean
I travel out of Oakland International regularly. Depending on the day of travel, the security line can be long, but it moves quickly. Don't plan to bring wrapped gifts through security--it will slow you down. Expect to remove shoes and jackets. Parking at Oakland is terrible--even if long-term is available, it will probably be way, way, way in the back of the lot. There is a shuttle that runs through the lot, but it is sporadic at best. I've never managed to catch it--or even see it moving through the parking lot, for that matter. A better bet is to park at one of the off-site lots (they are listed on the airport website). They are cheaper and the shuttle will let you off in front of the terminal. (They also feel safer to me. I have never seen a security guard in the airport lot.) I've found this to be a much better option than circling through the airport lot frantically looking for a space in long term. Long term parking is about 15 dollars a day, whereas the off-site parking is about 9 dollars a day. Even with kids, the off-site parking is easier; you won't have to lug your car seats 1/2 mile through the parking lot. anon
It really depends on what time your flight is and what airline you are using. Generally, the earlier the flight the better. I have found that the line to check in can take anywhere from 10 minutes to 30 min. Another 15 to 35 minutes for the security line. You might want to add another 30 min. to your timeframe because it will be getting more and more crowded with the holidays. The long term parking in the airport is a little pricey and you can get a better deal by using the lots on Hegenberger or on Doolittle- $8 to 15 a day- I'd find out how much the taxi will be to and fro (or an airporter van) and see which one works better for you. Add in a little hassle factor for parking yourself and then taking a shuttle over to the airport and back (plus extra time) whereas a taxi will bring you there right away. Just a thought. Good luck! Juliette
Allow yourself plenty of time to deal with the airport. 2 hours is not unreasonable. Even if the lines are moving, you'll need the extra time to deal with your kids, luggage, car seats etc. and the extra time will help you to not feel as pressured and to therefore maintain your cool. I have found that the United lines are very long so if it's possible for you to do curbside check in, I highly recommend it. The lines are shorter and move faster, only problem may be if you do not have your seats already, not sure if they can provide you with seat assignments. If you already have, shouldn't be a problem then. The security lines at terminal one now seem to be incredibly long and slow now that they have turned securty over to the federal screeners. What had been a ten minute line now seems to easily take over 30 minutes. As for parking, I highly recommend the off site parking lots. They are only a little further out than long term and the shuttles pick you up and drop you off right at your car. They are also patient with you if you are loading a lot of stuff. I believe that at long term parking you need to lug all your stuff to one of the pick up places for the bus to get you to take you to the terminal. I have also had the bus pass me by on several occasions which was very frustrating. One last bit of information. When I flew United recently with my son who was seven months at the time, United did not allow prebaording any more for families with children or if you were disabled. They claimed it had something to do with 9/11. It was terribly frustrating because we were lugging the car seat, stroller etc. Fortunately the flight attendants seemed equally frustrated with the policy because it actually makes boarding more difficult for everyone so they were very helpful once we were one board in helping us to get situated. We have also recently flown American and Southwest and they still have a preboarding policy so I think it's just a United thing. Hope this info helps. have a great, safe trip! Arquelle
I would like to recommend one more option for getting to the Oakland (or SF) airport. We almost always use BayPorter Express. They send a 7-passenger van to pick you up at your home, and drops you off right at the terminal. When you call to reserve, they let you know a pick-up time, and they are always on time (sometimes early), and handle all the luggage. All of the seats have seat belts (though only the two window seats and front seats have shoulder belts). The one-way charge is around $18-$22 (depending where you live) for the first adult passenger, but only $10 per additional adult and $5 per child from the same address (free for the youngest ones - be sure you let them know you'll need a seat for the car seat). In my experience, they make only 2-3 pick-up stops - all in the same general area- before heading to the airport. Returning from the airport, the wait may be a little longer, and you may end up travelling farther to drop off other passengers, so a cab may be a better bet for that trip, if you are in a hurry. The drivers have always been very curteous, & don't smoke in the van. My only complaint is that they seem to drive a bit faster than I'd prefer, but no worse, I think, than taxi drivers (and many of you out there). We love that it saves the hassle of driving, parking, shlepping luggage, etc. R.K.