I am Flying to Vegas for a friends wedding first week in May.
Some of the indirect flights from London to Vegas & the return journey have stops of up to 6 or 7 hours in San Fransico or Washington. Does anyone know if you are allowed out of the airport to do a bit of sight seeing?
Personally I wouldn't even think about it. Whilst it might be possible in theory, US security is not a pleasant process these days and takes a lot longer than anywhere else. I've known people (flying from Manchester to Vegas) miss connecting flights (in Washington) due to the poorly organised security. And thanks to Richard Reid, you will be singled out for being English - we were.
Just sit tight and get where you're going, then relax!
I assume you mean Washington DC. I would not advise getting out of either SFO or DC airports - 7 hours may seem long - but they are not long enough to get out, sight see and come back - all in time.
If you had 12 + hours, a different story ....
I'm going to go ahead and agree with the above posters...leaving the airport is not a good idea with only seven hours. Just sit tight and enjoy your down time as much as possible in those maddening airport lobbies! Have a great trip!
It is true that if you are in transit to the UK from Vegas, you will be at Washington DC's Dulles airport, which is far from just about everything so it's not really worth the time to get out, get transport and return in time to make your flight. Security lines can be unbearably long there as well.
I take exception, however, to the advice about San Francsico. I have transiteed through there en route to Asia with about 7 hours between flights and the beauty of that airport is that the local rail line, BART comes right to the international terminal. You can walk out the door, onto the train into SF and be there within 30 minutes. If you've never been to SF, I'd say DO IT!!! You can go to the Powell or Montgomery stops and get out and walk and walk and walk and really enjoy the city. You can take a cable car over to Ghirardelli Square from there, see the Bay, enjoy Union Square...it'd be worth it. Ensure you give enough time when you get back for security lines but you should be OK!
Enjoy...hope this was helpful.
I don't know why people make going through US security sound like such a terrible process. I had an 8-hr layover in LAX not long ago. I had PLENTY of time to get out of the airport, take public transit to Santa Monica, spend the afternoon lying in the sun and shopping, until I got bored and got the bus back to LAX in afternoon ruch hour traffic (!!!) and still made it to my flight with hours to spare! I could have stayed out longer if I wanted to. In retrospect, I should have gone to Venice after I got bored in Santa Monica. One thing I know is this: I got bored after a few hours of killing time in Santa Monica, imagine trying to kill 6-7hrs at an airport!! That would just kill me.
Definitely get out of the airport. Don't worry about making your connection; you'll make it if you keep your eye on the watch and if you be reasonable and don't stray too far from the airport. Don't listen to other people's horror stories; everybody knows somebody who had problems at the airport and missed a flight, but the likelihood of it happening to you is very minute. I know that it never happened to me...