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Travel time from San Francisco to Atlanta



San Francisco to Atlanta airports and flights

How long does it really take to fly from San Francisco to Atlanta? Here's a sample itinerary for a commercial flight plan. If you want to know the total travel time to reach Atlanta, you need to include time at the airports. Eventually, you'll be able to customize this itinerary to select other nearby airports and choose your preferred airline.


Thursday, 4:47 am:  start in San Francisco
drive for about 33 minutes
most airlines recommend you get to the airport at least 90 minutes before your flight, so arrive by 6:15 am at the latest

5:20 am:  San Francisco International (SFO)
if you need to check luggage, make sure you do it at least 30-60 minutes before departure, or in this case, by 6:45 am

5:50 am:  get your boarding pass and go through TSA security
allow enough time for long security lines during busy travel seasons or holidays, and prepare for the wait time

6:50 am:  arrive at the gate
once you're ready to board, you can get something to eat in the airport or just relax near the gate

7:20 am:  prepare for boarding
check your boarding pass for your group number or listen to the gate agent as they announce boarding, some airlines require you to be in the boarding area 10-15 minutes before departure or risk losing your seat

7:35 am:  board Delta Air Lines Inc. flight
you can scroll down to view other airlines that fly this route

7:45 am:  this is your scheduled departure time
but this flight is usually delayed by an average of 3 minutes

7:48 am:  so this is your actual departure time
it takes the plane an average of 20 minutes to taxi to the runway

8:08 am:  wheels up! take-off from SFO
fly for about 4 hours in the air

3:08 pm (local time):  Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International (ATL)
Atlanta is 3 hours ahead of San Francisco
so the time in San Francisco is actually 12:08 pm
taxi on the runway for an average of 7 minutes to the gate

3:15 pm (local time):  arrive at the gate at ATL
deboard the plane, and claim any baggage
if you're renting a car, check if you need to take a shuttle to car rental agency, otherwise you can ride in a cab, limo, or Uber for about 24 minutes to your destination

3:38 pm (local time):  arrive in Atlanta

Total travel time: 8 hours




Flying non-stop from San Francisco to Atlanta

How far is Atlanta from San Francisco? Here's the quick answer if you have a private jet and you can fly in the fastest possible straight line.

Flight distance: 2,140 miles or 3444 km

Flight time: 4 hours, 5 minutes

Compare this to a whole day of commercial travel with the airports and waiting in line for security, which ends up taking a total of 7 hours, 51 minutes.

Flying private is roughly 2x faster, and saves you about 4 hours in your total travel time.

Because of the curvature of the Earth, the shortest distance is actually the "great circle" distance, or "as the crow flies" which is calculated using an iterative Vincenty formula. For a long distance, this appears as a curve on the map, and this is often the route that commercial airlines will take so it's a good estimate of the frequent flyer miles you'll accumulate as well.

This is a fairly long flight, so unless you have a Gulfstream G650 or your own Boeing or Airbus, you might be booking a commercial flight. In that case, your travel time would really need to include how many minutes to get to your local airport, wait for security, board and taxi on the runway, land at the other airport, and get to your destination. The flight itinerary at the top of the page takes into account all these factors to get a more accurate estimate of your actual flight time.



Best day of the week to fly to Atlanta

Looking at flights on Delta Air Lines Inc. from SFO to ATL, here's a breakdown of the number of flights available each day:

  • Sunday
  • Monday
  • Tuesday
  • Wednesday
  • Thursday
  • Friday
  • Saturday

Based on these statistical results, we chose Thursday for the flight itinerary above.




Alternate flights from San Francisco to Atlanta

The most common route is SFO to ATL, so that's what we used in the sample itinerary. However, you may want to explore travel alternatives, you could try one of these routes:

  1. SFO to ATL
    San Francisco International to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International
  2. SJC to ATL
    Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International




Airlines that fly to Atlanta

We picked Delta Air Lines Inc. for your main flight, but there are other airlines that you should check if you're looking for the cheapest flight, or you need a different schedule. Check the websites of these airlines:

  1. Delta Air Lines Inc. (DL)
  2. United Air Lines Inc. (UA)
  3. Frontier Airlines Inc. (F9)




Plan a trip to Atlanta

Trippy has a ton of information that can help you plan your trip to Atlanta, Georgia. Start by reading the Trippy page on where to stay in Atlanta. If you're looking for a place to stay, you might want to check out W Atlanta - Midtown. A great place to eat might be The Varsity. Trippy members can suggest things to do in Atlanta like Georgia Aquarium. Check out some of the questions people have asked about Atlanta like Great, reasonable places to eat. . Click the button below to explore Atlanta in detail.






What about the return flight?

The distance is the same either way if you're flying a straight line. But for a real trip, there can be plenty of differences so go ahead and check the reverse flight itinerary to fly from Atlanta to San Francisco, or go to the main page to calculate other flight times.

You can also compare the travel time if you were to drive instead. Get the full itinerary for a Atlanta to San Francisco road trip. Or if you're more interested in the distance, How far is it from Atlanta to San Francisco?

If you happen to know San Francisco, don't forget to help other travelers and answer some questions about San Francisco!






Return to top of page
At a Glance
without making any stops
flight distance is 2,140 miles
flight time of 4 hours, 5 minutes
Atlanta is 3 hours ahead of San Francisco
589 San Francisco travel answers
100 Atlanta travel answers

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Atlanta Airports
  1. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport



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