Sacramento International Airport

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 [sacramento] This is also a Sacramento topic covered at the [WWW]Sacramento Wiki.

baggage.jpgBaggage Pillars

  1. Getting to the airport
    1. Driving yourself
    2. By Bike
    3. Other forms of transportation
  2. At the airport
    1. Food
    2. Wifi
  3. History
  4. Terminals, airlines, and destinations

Airport Codes
6900 Airport Boulevard
Sacramento, CA 95837-1109
(916) 929-5411
NOAA Weather

Sacramento International Airport (SMF [WWW]airport code), is the main commercial airport in the Sacramento region. It is located in North Natomas in the northwest corner of Sacramento County, which runs it.

The Sacramento International Airport is the primary choice of jet-setters who want to save money—and a great deal of time—by avoiding the Bay Area airports. SMF has its own exit from Interstate 5 (Exit 528) & has free wifi connections throughout all the terminals and boarding gates. The parking, rental car returns, and passenger pickup and drop-off are much more accessible than the airports in Oakland, San Jose, or (worst of all) San Francisco. Fares to or from Sacramento are usually less expensive than their Bay Area competition. Several carriers are noticing the increase in passenger traffic; it is now possible to fly nonstop from Sacramento to Hawaii, unlike Oakland which now has no non-stop flights to Hawaii, with the ending of Aloha and ATA. On their "About" page, they boast that "Sacramento International has set itself apart from other airports by adding four new air carriers to its rosters after September 11, 2001."

SMF now uses millimeter wave full body scanning technology in the newly-renovated Terminal B.

Getting to the airport

Driving yourself

The Sacramento International Airport is northeast of Davis about 20 miles driving distance and northwest of [sacramento]downtown Sacramento about 10 miles driving distance.

The shortest routes from Davis are:

[WWW] is a commercial site with additional driving directions and airport information. You might want to open a new window before using or you may not be able to go back to this window. Also beware that the I-80 route doesn't say to take the I-80 exit in West Sacramento.

By Bike

It is a 17 mile ride from Davis to SMF, all flat except for the I-5 overpass. At the time of this writing (10/2011), Google maps does not recognize that the stretch of I-5 crossing the Sacramento River is open to cyclists, making the route fairly simple: Take Pole Line north to Woodland, take a right on E. Main street and head east until you see the on-ramp for I-5, which will take you over the Sacramento River. The freeway shoulder is wide and bicycle friendly (if you are insane... the raised portion has a slim shoulder) if you don't mind fast cars and massive air turbulence as big rigs are going past you. The next exit is a rest stop (which is landlocked). Continue to the 2nd exit from the freeway, and you are at the Airport. Note that E. Main may be flooded during the Winter.

Other forms of transportation

At the airport

termbnew.jpgTerminal B at night

If you park for 4 hours or less, you'll pay about $3 in Hourly B. If you're parked there for more than 4 hours, you will pay the daily limit of $27 in Hourly B and $29 in hourly A. There are also two daily lots, which are cheaper: Daily B parking is $13/day, while Daily A parking is $15/day. (Note: as of Summer 2009, the Daily B lot is under construction so there is less Daily B parking available than usual.) The two daily lots are further away from the airport than the hourly lots, and are serviced with shuttle buses that run every 10-15 minutes. Economy parking is also available, at $9/day. It's even further away from the terminals, but serviced continuously with shuttle buses. Be sure to leave lots of time to catch your flight if you intend to park in economy, however; it can sometimes take up to 30-40 minutes to get from the parking lot to the airport, since the shuttle buses tend to get out of sync and pile up behind each other, especially at the end of the day. When it is busy an attendant will tell you where to park in the economy lot — if you listen to them and drive straight to the row at the end of the lot that they indicate it saves time. Another tip for the economy lot is to write down the row number that you are in on your ticket. It's a huge lot, all the rows look alike, and invariably there is some person on the late-night shuttle bus who can't remember where they left their car because they were too stressed out when leaving to write down their row number.

Getting through security tends to be pretty zippy, but getting your luggage is not. On a recent (2010) trip, some weary travelers waited and waited for their luggage carousel number to appear on the flight arrival board, but their flight rolled off the board before the carousel number ever appeared. Inquiries to an overworked employee for the airline were made, and the employee assured the travelers that the carousel number would be announced. Luckily, the travelers did not wait for that announcement (or they might have been waiting forever), but instead used the tried and true method of looking for people who had been on their flight, in the hope that those people might know more than they did. Their luggage did eventually arrive.

It [WWW]appears that materials abandoned at the security checkpoints in SMF may be donated to a local Goodwill store. Exact one yet to be determined. To keep up with what is and isn't allowed in carry-on or checked baggage, visit [WWW]TSA's [WWW]Prohibited Items page.


The airport has a fairly large selection of food options after passing through security. The new Terminal B also contains some local eateries those from Davis might recognize: Burgers and Brew and Dos Coyotes


Free Wifi is available throughout the airport using a browser based authentication system. In addition in the 'new' Terminal B, almost all clusters of seating have regular and usb power ports at a density of about 1 plug per seat.


theterms.jpgThe first thing you'll see (outdated)

af1.jpgpresidential preferred parking (2006-4-22)

The airport first opened on October 21, 1967 as Sacramento Metropolitan Airport.

In 1996, coinciding with the opening of a new terminal building, Terminal A is gorgeous by airport standards. The usual services of shopping, ticketing, and baggage check are present, but the building is easy to navigate. Plus, the baggage claim has gigantic pillars that look like they're made of baggage! These pillars are titled "Samson" and are by artist Brian Goggin. It was renamed Sacramento International Airport; though it didn't receive its first international flights until 2002 when Mexicana initiated nonstop service to Guadalajara. The airport was officially designated a port of entry on October 5, 2006.

In the next couple of decades, SMF hopes to become HUGE! Check out [WWW]their website for all the juicy details. The video is neat, but takes a few minutes to download. Somewhere out there is a map/blueprint type picture, that shows what the B Terminal looks like now, and what it's going to look like, (which is a HUGE BOX over a tiny looking two-concourse building.) The new Terminal B is scheduled to be completed in late 2011. The airport will surely be amazing in the future. More information can be found on the project's website: [WWW]

Terminals, airlines, and destinations

The following airlines fly to Sacramento International Airport:

Terminal A

Terminal B


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2005-02-05 13:44:09   I've not only found good fares from SMF, security is also much less painful than other airports (LAX, cough cough). If you are preprinting your boarding pass and not checking bags, life is even easier. —ArlenAbraham

2005-02-05 20:25:46   What's the difference between Sacramento International Airport and Sacramento Executive Airport? I believe the latter has airport code SAC. —KenBloom

2005-02-06 23:34:21   Are SAC and SMF in different geographical locations? —ArlenAbraham

2005-02-18 18:43:03   The cheaper flights to Sac vs. SF are very interesting... I was once looking at two itineraries to Detriot; one direct from SF the other from Sac -> SF -> Detriot. Both itineraries had the same exact flight from SF -> Detriot, but the one starting from Sac (with the extra flight) was cheaper. —JevanGray

2006-02-22 22:56:07   I recently took the Yolo Bus; it took a while, but the lady didn't charge me. She asked "... you a student?" then just let me ride for free. I wonder if I'll be so lucky when I come back. —SS

2006-04-10 08:27:50   If anyone is interested to know...there are at least two play areas for kids in the airport. We have found it very useful from the time our little girl was 8 months old and even now at 18 months. Makes the whole experience of travelling with a child that much easier! —RoyWright's wife

2007-01-11 20:44:58   I've been taken to the airport by Supershuttle I think 3 times and brought home many more times and not once have been taken to Sacramento before going to my destination. —JimEvans

2007-05-05 23:50:15   A flight or two to mexico doesn't an international airport make. But it lets them sound super snazy —StevenDaubert

2007-10-24 18:40:35   Davis Airporter is preferable over superShuttle; you won't have to detour through Sacramento & spend an additional hour waiting to get dropped off. Plus they're local. DA rocks. Lastly, I am not affiliated in any way with DA, just trying to help... —bartbart

2007-12-25 13:31:34   I am sitting in the airport, waiting for a SuperShuttle. They promise pickup within 15 minutes, but it's been 45. Most vans are leaving with only one passenger, and the SuperShuttle representative on the phone said to me, and I'm quoting here, "You can complain all you want, it's called van availability." —PleaseDoNotUseANickname

2009-01-04 17:58:29   I have used Yolo Airporter both to Sac and to SFO and their rates were reasonable. Sac $20 and SFO $80 I thought this was decent pricing. They also pick you up on time and they do not charge for luggage like other airporters do. I highly recommend them. —manlike

2010-07-13 13:54:33   As a hotel receptionist and fairly frequent traveler I'm quite familiar with SMF. I've come to appreciate it enormously because of its relatively small size (I think the only other airport of similar size I've been to was that in Long Beach) and fast-moving lines. I've gotten through security very quickly every time, under half an hour from drop-off to the gate. They still recommend coming in at least two hours before boarding but I've never had it take that long. —KBathory

2011-12-10 11:56:31   New Terminal B is pretty nice, though I question the efficiency of the layout - The automated tram you have to take is before security, even though the entry building is much larger and could easily accomodate. Also there is no alternate way to walk yourself, and if 2 planes land at the same time there are now several hundred people waiting for a tram that holds maybe 30 people and comes every 5 minutes(yes thats counting both trams since they alternate every 5 minutes). Also unhappy about the placement of ashtrays exactly 20 feet in between 2 sets of doors where all the benches for waiting are. So if you don't want to inhale smoke you have to stand in front of the exit doors. They really ought to designate the smoking area down at the end. —AlexMandel

2012-01-23 22:16:28   Does anyone know if there is good bike parking? By good I mean well lit, preferably covered parking —ElliotMarshall

2012-12-26 14:15:38   If your battery goes dead there, DO NOT call the airport for help. The person who "helped" me last night was completely incompetent and blew some fuses and who knows what else in the process. Don't know yet what else was fried (I'm hoping the car computer is OK) because I haven't gotten it towed yet, but seriously. Call AAA if you have it, or a friend who knows how to properly jump a car. —MeggoWaffle

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