|This is also a Sacramento topic covered at the Sacramento Wiki.|
|IATA: SMF, ICAO: KSMF, FAA LID: SMF|
|6900 Airport Boulevard|
|Sacramento, CA 95837-1109|
Sacramento International Airport (SMF 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.
- News: The new, shiny Terminal B is open as of October 6, 2011. The location of many airlines will change then, along with parking and pickup/dropoff traffic flows. See http://www.sacramento.aero/smf/about/news_and_events/smf_central_terminal_B_details_directions/ for details.
Getting to the airport
The Sacramento International Airport is northeast of Davis about 20 miles driving distance and northwest of downtown Sacramento about 10 miles driving distance.
The shortest routes from Davis are:
- North on Pole Line Road or Highway 113 through Woodland, turning on I-5 South which goes straight east to the airport! (There is almost never traffic on this route.)
- I-80 East and I-5 North by Sacramento (more likely to hit traffic).
ifly.com 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.
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
Davis Airporter — $23 for one person for door-to-door service from Davis or Woodland, plus tip. $5 per bag over 2 bags. Their policy is to book your reservation one hour before your arrival (i.e. 10:00am pick-up for an 11:00 drop-off for a noon flight), so you may be in the van for an hour. On the return, the van waits for passengers arriving on different flights so you might have to wait up to one hour to depart, and you will be in the van for an additional 25 minutes to 1 hour depending on your turn in the drop-off line. Depending on where you live in Davis, you can get home at the same speed or faster via Yolobus.
SuperShuttle costs $23 for one person door+to+door, plus tip. However, on pickup from SMF they tend to go to Davis first, then Sacramento, then the airport, and on drop-off from SMF to Sacramento then Davis, so you might be looking at an hour minimum for transportation; check with them in advance.
Taxis to/from Davis are available for a minimum of $46 per vehicle load, plus tip. It's cheaper if you book a Davis taxi!
Yolobus — At $2, its cheap, but takes just under an hour. UCD Undergrads: flash your Aggie Card for a free ride. And remember, route 42A for Airport, 42B for Back to Davis~
The Yolo Airporter offers door-to-door service from Davis. [As of 8/17/13, this service seems to be nonexistent.]
At the airport
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 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 TSA's 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.
Terminals, airlines, and destinations
The following airlines fly to Sacramento International Airport:
Delta Air Lines (Atlanta, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City)
JetBlue (Long Beach, New York-JFK)
United Airlines (Chicago-O'Hare, Denver, Eureka/Arcata, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington-Dulles)
US Airways (Phoenix, with seasonal destinations; Charlotte, Las Vegas, and Philadelphia)
- Alaska Airlines/Horizon Air (Boise, Palm Springs, Portland (OR), Seattle/Tacoma, Spokane)
- American Airlines (Dallas/Fort Worth)
- Hawaiian Airlines (Honolulu)
- Southwest Airlines (Burbank, Chicago-Midway, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Ontario, Orange County, Phoenix, Portland (OR), San Diego, Seattle/Tacoma)
- Volaris Airlines
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.
Starting in 2006, ground was broken for the new Terminal B, in a project called the Big Build. The terminal was finalized in October 2011, and became the new home of Southwest. In future, the airport is going to get even bigger; a hotel project has been approved.
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
- Sacramento Executive Airport is a general aviation field. It's where lots of traffic reporter-type helicopters, student pilots, and private jet owners take off. SMF, on the other hand, is all about commercial aviation. Should it have its own entry in the wiki? —JeffLeCates
2005-02-06 23:34:21 Are SAC and SMF in different geographical locations? —ArlenAbraham
- SAC and SMF are in very different locations. SMF is in a largely rural area, sandwiched between Woodland and Arco Arena; northwesterly outskirts of the city of Sacramento. SAC, on the other hand, is south of downtown Sacramento. (I apologize in advance if the links don't work.) —JeffLeCates
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
- I think students (undergraduate) can ride Yolobus for free. —RohiniJasavala
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
- What makes an airport international? Does it have to have a certain amount of flights out of the country? Number of passengers on and off those flights? Is it somewhere in some IATA or ICAO guideline for international classification? —MichelleAccurso
- I'm just judging off how they want to be a hub, but aren't SFO ^__~ Daubert
Here is a good quantifier: Are you flying over an ocean? Daubert
- Hawaii? :P Also, the only non-US destination from this airport is Guadalajara, Mexico, it looks like. In 2009, this airport had 4,400,880 passengers on domestic flights. 54,937 for 'international.' That averages to about 4.5 thousand international travellers a month, compared to 366.7 thousand domestic travelers. Guadalajara is not in the top 10 list of destinations, obviously. This airport is certainly no SFO, though how much of a hub SMF 'wants' to be I have no idea. -ES
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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