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Tuesday, November 15, 2022 at 1:09 PM - For Immediate Release

Flying out of SMF for Thanksgiving? Here are some travel tips.

From coast to coast, people are ready to gather with family and friends for Thanksgiving.

According to Hopper, 70 percent of Americans have travel plans over Thanksgiving weekend. That means, it will be busy on the roads and in the airports so the team at Sacramento International Airport (SMF) has some tips to make sure your holiday travels will be safe, secure and fun.

If you haven’t already booked your flight, you should do that right away.

A few helpful hints for booking:

Travel experts recommend booking the first flight out if you can so you are less likely to be impacted by airline delays.
Consider adding in a buffer day to your travel plans so you have some wiggle room to get to your destination.

When you get to SMF, these simple steps can help your trip run smoothly:

Arrive early. This is important any time of year, but especially on holiday weeks when our security lines are busiest. SMF recommends arriving at least 2.5 hours before a domestic flight and 3.5 hours before an international flight.
Plan ahead for your trip by checking out the SMF parking availability tracker. If you are choosing to park at SMF, please allow enough time to park in one of the lots and then have time to catch a shuttle to the terminals.

SMF’s current parking rates

  • Hourly: The hourly lot near Terminal B is $2 per ½ hour with a maximum of $29/day. 
  • Daily: The daily lot is conveniently located for both terminals and is $2 per ½ hour with a maximum of $18/day.
  • East Economy: The economy lot is $10/day. Shuttles run every 25 – 30 minutes, but travelers should be prepared that it could take 60 minutes from the time you park till they get to the terminal. There is no walking path.
  • West Economy: This economy option, also known as the “Overflow Lot,” is $10/day. Travelers will need to pay when they park by entering their license plate number at the pay station (located inside the bus shelters) and providing electronic payment. Shuttle service is provided at 25-30 minute intervals. It can take 60 minutes from the time they park until they arrive at the terminal.

For additional questions about parking at SMF, please email

Don’t drive if you can avoid it. Lots can fill up and close: Finding an alternate way to the airport is the best way to avoid the parking crunch!

  • Public Transportation: Sacramento Regional Transit District’s (SACRT) route 142 runs express service between the airport and downtown seven days a week. YoloBus also offers daily routes throughout the region.
  • App-Based Ride-Sharing: Lyft, Uber and Wingz all service SMF and have designated areas for pickup at both terminals
  • Taxis: Taxi service is provided by the Sacramento Independent Taxi Owners Association. Travelers can make reservations by calling 916-444-0008. Taxis can be found outside of baggage claims at both terminals. Parking lot options and rates at SMF
  • Use the PassioGo App to track shuttle bus status: For travelers parking in either the Daily or Economy Lots you can track the status of your shuttle by downloading the PassioGo app on your smartphone.

Please pack your patience: Like many businesses, our concessionaires and TSA have suffered from a staffing shortage. That, coupled with an anticipated high volume of travelers, could mean long lines. Allow extra time for every part of your travel journey, just in case.

Self-Check-in: There are check-in kiosks throughout the terminal before security, not just near the airline counters, so travelers can avoid the crowds at the main desks.

Consider TSA Pre✓: SMF’s enrollment center is open. The TSA Pre✓ expedited screening process reduces time spent waiting in the security line. If travelers pre-enroll on the Pre✓ website, they can go through the entire process at SMF in five minutes or less.

Use CLEAR: SMF has expedited lanes for CLEAR subscribers that speed up the identification process in the security line. CLEAR uses your eyes to confirm your identity, moving you faster through the line. There is an annual membership fee and you need to be subscribed before getting to SMF. 

Once you’re through security, sit back and relax! SMF’s restaurants and retailers make your time in the airport entertaining. Our retailers are open daily, selling everything from souvenirs and gifts to unique Sacramento products. An array of local restaurants will be serving signature cocktails and delicious meals to help pass the time.

If you are feeling a bit stressed out, be sure to stop by and say hello to the wonderful pups that make up SMF’s BARC (Boarding Area Relaxation Corps) team. These dogs and their handlers are there to help calm nerves and relax passengers before and after flights.

The Sacramento County Department of Airports is responsible for planning, developing, operating and maintaining the county’s four airports: Sacramento International Airport, Executive Airport, Mather Airport and Franklin Field. Sacramento International Airport offers more than 155 daily nonstop flights on 12 domestic and international carriers to 36 destinations. The regional economic impact of the Sacramento County Department of Airports is more than $4 billion annually. For more information, visit