San Francisco SFO Airport car rentalPhoto Credit: Shutterstock

Flying into to San Francisco International Airport (SFO)? Located 13 miles south of downtown San Francisco, SFO is the second largest airport in California, the seventh largest in the United States and a gateway to Northern California's gems, from the Redwood forests to the Napa Valley.

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The airport has four terminals, named 1, 2 and 3 for domestic travel plus an international terminal. The AirTrain connects the terminals to each other and to the consolidated rental car center.

 

Rental Cars at SFO Airport

 

Want to rent a car at SFO? You'll find nine rental car companies located in a consolidated rental car terminal on airport grounds or you can catch a shuttle from the rental car center to five off-site rental locations. Note that the latter option means first getting to the rental car center and then another shuttle off-airport.

Regardless of which terminal you're in or which rental car company you choose, you will head from baggage claim to the AirTrain station located across the skybridge. Then catch the AirTrain's Blue Line to the rental car center.

SFO's rental car center houses nine companies:

Alamo Rent a Car (844) 370-8302
Available Services: Online check-in and self-service kiosk. Online check-in offers the option to "skip the counter" and go straight to your car.
Return Location: 780 N. McDonnell Rd, San Francisco. Put the address into your favorite GPS application. As you near the airport, follow the signs for "Car Rental Return" and look for the Alamo drop-off area.
After-Hours Returns: Location is open 24/7.

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Avis Rent a Car (650) 877-6780
Preferred Services: Avis Preferred available. Check your smartphone or the Preferred board inside the rental car facility to find your preassigned vehicle. You have the option to change your pre-selected vehicle for a similar one in the Select & Go Exchange Area, or get a nicer car in the Select & Go Upgrade Area. Prices are on the cars' hangtags.
Return Location: 780 N. McDonnell Rd, San Francisco. Put the address into your favorite GPS application. As you near the airport, follow the signs for "Car Rental Return" and look for the Avis drop-off area.
After-Hours Returns: Location is open 24/7.

Budget Car Rental (650) 877-0998
Preferred Services: Look for the Fastbreak line or kiosk. Show your ID, and you will receive the rental agreement, keys and instructions for finding the car.
Return Location: 780 N. McDonnell Rd, San Francisco. Put the address into your favorite GPS application. As you near the airport, follow the signs for "Car Rental Return" and look for the Budget drop-off area. Fastbreak members do not have to go to the counter to return the car.
After-Hours Returns: Location is open 24/7.

Dollar Rent a Car (866) 434-2226
Return Location: 780 N. McDonnell Rd, San Francisco. Put the address into your favorite GPS application. As you near the airport, follow the signs for "Car Rental Return" and look for the Dollar drop-off area.
After-Hours Returns: Location is open 24/7.

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Enterprise Rent-a-Car (833) 635-0431
Return Location: 780 N. McDonnell Rd, San Francisco. Put the address into your favorite GPS application. As you near the airport, follow the signs for "Car Rental Return" and look for the Enterprise drop-off area.
After-Hours Returns: Location open daily 5 am-12 am. For drop-offs outside these hours, leave keys in the dropbox.

Fox Rent a Car (415) 917-2713
Return Location: 780 N. McDonnell Rd, San Francisco. Put the address into your favorite GPS application. As you near the airport, follow the signs for "Car Rental Return" and look for the Fox drop-off area.
After-Hours Returns: Location open 24/7.

Hertz (650) 624-6600
Available Services: Self-service kiosks.
Preferred Services: Gold Canopy Service, Gold Choice and Prestige Service are available.
Return Location: 780 N. McDonnell Rd, San Francisco. Put the address into your favorite GPS application. As you near the airport, follow the signs for "Car Rental Return" and look for the Hertz drop-off area.
After-Hours Returns: Location is open 24/7.

National (888) 826-6890
Preferred Services: Emerald Aisle and Drop & Go are available.
Return Location: 780 N. McDonnell Rd, San Francisco. Put the address into your favorite GPS application. As you near the airport, follow the signs for "Car Rental Return" and look for the National drop-off area.
After-Hours Returns: Location is open 24/7.

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Thrifty Car Rental (877) 283-0898
Return Location: 780 N. McDonnell Rd, San Francisco. Put the address into your favorite GPS application. As you near the airport, follow the signs for "Car Rental Return" and look for the Thrifty drop-off area.
After-Hours Returns: Location is open 24/7.

 

Off-Airport Rental Cars at SFO

 

Several rental car companies—including Payless, Silvercar and Sixt—have off-airport locations at SFO reachable by shuttle from the consolidated rental car center. Shuttles stop at the south curb of the Rental Car Center upon customer request. These off-airport locations are all in Burlingame and South San Francisco.

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