United playing musical gates at SFO, again.

Earlier this summer, The BAT reported on United’s surreptitious move into Terminal 1 at SFO. At the time, United said it would move a handful of flights (mostly to Southern California) into Terminal 1, and transport passengers from United’s main Terminal 3 via 20 passenger shuttle buses. But over the summer months, United begain using Terminal 1 willy-nilly—we heard from cranky passengers forced to use Terminal 1 when flying to or from cities all over the country.

Now that’s all changing. Again.

Starting this week, United is moving at least 100 United Express flights to Terminal 1. The move is designed to free up space in Terminal 3 (and on those tiny short-bus shuttles) so United can have all its mainline flights there.

Here are the details the United has confirmed with The BAT:

>Most (but not all) United Express flights moved to Terminal 1 on September 5.

>All mainline flights will now use Terminal 3

>United still wants all customers to check in for ALL flights at Terminal 3, then walk to gates 71A or 87A for a shuttle ride over to Terminal 1. (However, we’ve learned that some wily frequent fliers just print boarding passes at home and go straight to Terminal 1 when they see that their gate number is 71A or 87A.)

>Gate 92 in the international terminal will no longer be used for shuttle transfers.

>There will be no more mainline United flights using Terminal 1

Eventually, all this will change again. All United operations will be happily reunited in Terminal 3 when boarding area E in re-opens after a massive renovation, which an airport spokesperson said is  expected to be completed in November 2013.  (Boarding area E is the old American Airlines space.)

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UPDATE: Sept 7: Here’s the official notice about this now appearing on United’s website:

United flights from San Francisco International (SFO) depart from Terminal 1, Terminal 3 and the International Terminal. Ticketing, check-in and baggage drop for all flights are located at Terminal 3.

You may proceed through security at Terminal 3 and, if you are departing from Terminal 1, take the shuttle bus from Terminal 3 to Terminal 1. If you are departing from Terminal 1 and have already checked in, do not need to see a United representative, and do not have any bags to check, you may proceed through Terminal 1 security with your boarding pass.

Shuttle buses depart every five minutes from Terminal 3 (Gates 71A and 87A) to Terminal 1 (Gate 39). For elevator access to a bus stop, please use Gate 87A.

Have you been faced with United’s musical gates routine at SFO yet? How did that go for you? Please leave your comments below. 

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