Business Traveller’s Guide to USA: San Francisco

San Francisco is the 14th most populous city in the United States of America. It’s part of the Bay Area, the largest metropolitan area of Northern California which contains the 2nd most number of Fortune 500 Companies in the United States.

The city has a diversified service economy ranging from financial services, construction, tourisim and high technology. It’s known as the “Wall Street of the West”, being the corporate headquarters of Wells Fargo, fourth largest bank in America and it is the city where Bank of America was founded.It’s also home to an increasing number of “new” technology companies like Twitter,, Dropbox and Instagram as compared to maturing neighbours, Silicon Valley.

San Francisco International Airport

The 22nd busiest airport in the world in 2013, by passenger count of 40.9million, San Francisco International Airport (SFO) is a hub of United Airlines and the only maintance hub for the carrier. It is is considered a major international gateway to Asia and Europe and the destination of 22 airlines.

SFO has three terminals and contains the lounges of American Airline, Delta and United – the latter owning 5 lounges in the whole airport itself, 3 of which are United Clubs and the other 2 United Global First Lounge and a United Arrivals Lounge. United customers are sure to find a lounge at any part of the airport with such good coverage within the precinct.

The newly renovated United Club lounge at Terminal 3 SFO.

For more information of Club access, please click here.

The airport is 21km south of San Francisco. Here are some public transit  to get to the city: 

By Trains

Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) trains board at the International Terminal and make several stops throughout the City. A ride from SFO to the major stops in San Francisco costs USD$8.65 per person and USD$16.20 for round trips. The journey to downtown takes about 27-32 minutes and train departs every 15 minutes. The stations in downtown one can exit from the BART are: the Civic Center station, which is near the city hall and United National Plaza. Powell Street Station- near Union Square and many of San Francisco's most popular hotels and stores. Embarcadero Station, for San Francisco Bay, or Montgomery Street exit, if you are heading to the Financial District.

By Cabs/Taxis

Taxis give value when travelling in groups of 4 or more since fares are charged by vehicle rather than by passenger. In addition to traditional sedans, SUV and minivan taxis are also available for larger groups or groups with more luggage than normal.

Taxi fares are dependent upon travel time and distance. Typical fares from SFO into the City, excluding tip and any time spent waiting in traffic, are on the order of:

• Union Square & Nob Hill (using Union Square for the estimate) - $42 to $46

• Fisherman's Wharf (using Pier 45 for the estimate) - $50 to $55

• Marina (Lombard Street Motels) - $60 - $65

Rates above start from the flag-down/drop amount of $3.50 for the initial, $0.55/fifth of mile or minute of wait time, and a $2 SFO surcharge. Do note that the Bay Bridge is prone to congestion so taxi fares escalate rapidly when passing through.

By Shuttles

Several shuttle companies, also known as shared ride vans, serve SFO (see list of operators). From SFO, you can locate them at the center islands of the airport’s departure (upper) level, and fares generally amount to $15-20 per person.

If you have queries on the most suitable mode of transport for you from SFO, do not hesitate to ask any of our travel consultants for their recommendation.


The Destination 

Union Square is downtown, the heart of San Francisco. It’s a heritage site in California, earning its name from the multiple pro-Union rallies before the American Civil War. Today it’s a district of retail, arts and culture and many upscale hotels have sprung up in this area. Getting around by public transport is relatively easy, aside the regional serving BART, there is a city-wide MUNI Metro (Municipal Railway). Both are centrally located at Market Street where Union Square is.

When using the MUNI within San Francisco, visitors can call 311 at any time from any phone and speak with a live operator for information on Muni and other City services.

The MUNI will take you everywhere within the city to touristic spots as well as to the Financial District at Montgomery Street Station – also a BART stop. You will certainly know when you are in the Financial District when you see the iconic Transamerica Pyramid, Merchant and Exchange buildings in the skyline. The other MUNI stops that are within the Financial Districts are Embarcadero and Powell Stations. 


Hotels – The Fairmont San Francisco

Situated centrally on Mason Street, The Fairmont San Francisco hotel is a short cable car trip from the Financial District, Union Square and Fisherman’s Wharf. It’s the only spot in San Francisco where each of the City’s cable car lines meet.

The hotel sits on top of Nob Hill with a panoramic view of the City and Bay. It has 591 rooms, a business centre, 55,000 square feet of function space, elegant meeting spaces, working desks in common areas, 24-hour reception and room service, leisure amenities available are lap pool, tennis court and gymnasium and three renowned food and beverage venues.

With SmartSTAY, you’ll be entitled to complimentary Local Calls and Internet Access and free room upgrades*. To read more details about this hotel, click here.

When booking through FCm’s SmartSTAY, you get to enjoy 3 extra added benefits that non-SmartSTAY guest do not have access to. For more information regarding SmartSTAY participating hotels in your destination city, visit this page, or you may contact our Travel Experts directly. Benefits included in the stay vary across different lodgings.

*Upgrades subjected on room availaiblity upon arrival.