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Sydney to Vancouver Via San Fran

Canberra, Australia
posts: 258
reviews: 33
Sydney to Vancouver Via San Fran


We are flying Sydney to Vancouver with a change in San Fran. We are with United, all on the one ticket.

Can anyone tell me if we will have to get our luggage, go through customs and immigration then re check our luggage for the flight to Canada.


Travelling with my 89 yo Dad so need to be organised.


4 replies to this topic
Phoenix, AZ
posts: 12,839
reviews: 187
1. Re: Sydney to Vancouver Via San Fran


I have not done the trip that you are taking, and also travel on a USA Passport, but we have done SYD - SFO - PHX a few times. Here is how that works.

Arrive at International Arrivals at SFO. Deplane and go immediately to USA Immigration. Pass through, then to the International Baggage Arrival, where we retrieve luggage. Pass to USA Customs, with Nothing to Declare line (make sure that if you DO have something to declare, you choose the other line). Outside of USA Customs, there is a UA baggage re-check. Being on one ticket (you ARE on one ticket, right?), you bags will already be tagged appropriately. Hand in bags. Go out to front of the International Terminal (we, of course are domestic, so we go to T3 - think that Vancouver is out of International, but check this out). Go through TSA (USA) Security w/ carry-ons, and go to gate. If you ARE flying out of International (or even T3) to Vancouver, there is a brand new TSA check-point, and we have found it to be very expedient.

There are two nice United Clubs in International, though one is First Class International. If you are going out of T3, it is immediately adjacent to International, and one can use the TSA check-point at International/T3. There are two United Clubs in T3, with one near the "hub" where the piers radiate, and one is in the upstairs at T3-East Pier. Right between International and T3 there is a new AMEX Centurion Club, but I do not think it has opened yet - had not two weeks ago.

Plenty of food options in T3, such as Yankee Pier, and Gordon Biersch. There are some in International, but we are usually going to one of the United Clubs, so have not checked those out.

Here is a map of SFO, that might be useful: http://www.flysfo.com/maps It's very well designed, so just choose the Terminal (either International or T3), and get an idea of the layout.

Fly safely, and we find SFO an easy airport to manage, but fly through there about 3x per mo.


Brisbane, Australia
posts: 2,085
2. Re: Sydney to Vancouver Via San Fran

Apparently you can't actually transit through the USA without going through immigration so don't forget you ESTA.


Toronto, Canada
posts: 5,545
reviews: 33
3. Re: Sydney to Vancouver Via San Fran

Yes you will have to do enter the USA, formally which means clearing customs and immigration. If it is not too late to change flights, Air Canada flies direct Sydney to Vancouver so it certainly would be less hassle

Edited: 11:55 am, August 31, 2014
Canberra, Australia
posts: 258
reviews: 33
4. Re: Sydney to Vancouver Via San Fran

Thanks guys. Sounds much nicer the LAX.

And thanks Hunt for so much detail. Perfect. Yes we are on one ticket and yahhhhhhh we are first class! Cannot believe it.

What club/lounge did you use in Sydney?

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