San Diego Airport (SAN) Guide
Welcome to San Diego Airport, the gateway to Southern California's sunny beaches and vibrant city life. With its convenient location just a few miles from downtown San Diego, this airport is a popular choice for both business and leisure travelers. Whether you're flying in for a weekend getaway or a longer stay, our guide has everything you need to know to make your trip smooth and stress-free.
Planning your journey to or from SAN? Look no further than our comprehensive guide, packed with helpful information and insider tips. From real-time flight updates and airline departure terminals to parking options and food directories, we've got you covered. Plus, our detailed terminal maps will help you navigate the airport with ease. Let us take the hassle out of your travel experience so you can focus on enjoying your trip to sunny San Diego!
When to Arrive
When traveling through SAN Airport, it is recommended that you arrive at least two hours prior to your scheduled departure time for domestic flights and three hours prior for international flights. The busiest times at the airport are typically early morning and late afternoon, so if possible, try to schedule your flights for midday to avoid the crowds.
Getting to the Airport
The airport is conveniently located just three miles northwest of downtown San Diego. The best ways to get to the airport are by car, taxi, or ride-sharing services such as Uber or Lyft. If you are driving, be sure to check the airport's parking options and rates ahead of time to ensure a stress-free arrival.
Once you arrive at San Diego Airport, use iFly.com's interactive airport maps to get oriented and find your way around. The airport has two terminals, Terminal 1 and Terminal 2, which are connected by a pedestrian bridge. The maps can help you locate your gate, restaurants, shops, and other amenities.
To avoid delays at San Diego Airport, be sure to check the status of your flight before leaving for the airport. You can do this by visiting the airport's website or by downloading the airport's mobile app. Additionally, be sure to pack your carry-on bag according to TSA guidelines to avoid any delays at security checkpoints.
Security Wait Times
At SAN, TSA Security wait times can vary depending on the time of day and the season. During peak travel times, such as holidays and summer months, wait times can be longer than usual. However, on average, the wait time is around 20 minutes. It's always a good idea to arrive at the airport at least 2 hours before your flight to allow enough time for check-in and security. You can check TSA Wait Times now, so you can budget how much time you need to get to the airport.
Navigating SAN's Terminals
San Diego International Airport, with the airport code SAN, has three terminals: Commuter Terminal, Terminal 1, and Terminal 2. Commuter Terminal is used for flights to and from smaller cities in Southern California. Terminal 1 has 19 gates and is used by Southwest Airlines, America Airlines, and JetBlue Airways. Terminal 2 has 32 gates and is used by Alaska Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, and other international airlines.
When navigating the airport, it's important to know which terminal your airline is using. You can check this information on your airline ticket or by contacting your airline. Once you know your terminal, follow the signs to get to the correct entrance. After entering the terminal, look for the flight information displays to locate your gate number. If you have any questions or need assistance, airport staff and volunteers are available to help.
San Diego International Airport offers a variety of food, services, and shopping options throughout its terminals. Use our interactive airport map to locate food, services, and airline departure gates.
Connecting Between Terminals
San Diego International Airport has three terminals: Commuter Terminal, Terminal 1, and Terminal 2. The Commuter Terminal is located west of Terminal 1 and is accessible via a short walk. Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 are connected by a pedestrian bridge, which takes around 10-15 minutes to walk between. If you have limited mobility or heavy luggage, there are shuttle buses available to transport passengers between the terminals. The shuttle buses run every 10-15 minutes and are free of charge.
Dining, Shopping & Enjoying the Airport
SAN Airport offers a variety of dining options, from American cuisine at Bankers Hill Bar & Restaurant to Thai dishes at Saffron Thai. And if you're in the mood for shopping, there are plenty of stores to choose from, including Bay Books of Coronado and MAC Cosmetics. Keep in mind that this is just a sample of what the airport has to offer. For a complete list of restaurants, bars, shops, and newsstands, please see your options here.
When traveling, finding the right accommodation near your arrival airport can make all the difference for a stress-free trip. Whether you're on a business trip, a family vacation, or a solo adventure, we've got you covered. Our comprehensive guide provides an overview of some of the best airport hotels to help you make an informed decision. From luxury options like the Grand Hyatt to budget-friendly choices like the El Rancho Inn SureStay Collection by Best Western, there's a hotel to suit every traveler's needs. These hotels are conveniently located within a mile or two from the airport, ensuring you won't have to worry about missing your flight. They offer a variety of amenities such as free WiFi, fitness centers, restaurants, and complimentary airport shuttle services. Check out our the airport Hotels page for more information.
Picking Up and Dropping Off Passengers
San Diego Airport provides several options for picking up and dropping off passengers. If you are picking up a passenger, it is important to note that curbside parking is not allowed at any terminal. Instead, you can use the cell-phone waiting areas located near each terminal. These waiting areas are free and provide a convenient place to wait for your passenger to arrive. Once your passenger has arrived, you can proceed to the terminal's designated passenger pick-up area.
If you are dropping off a passenger, you can use the designated passenger drop-off areas located at each terminal. These areas are located near the terminal entrances and are clearly marked. It is important to note that parking is not allowed in these areas, and vehicles must be attended at all times. If you need to park your vehicle, you can use the airport's parking facilities located near each terminal.
Overall, San Diego Airport provides convenient options for picking up and dropping off passengers. By using the cell-phone waiting areas and designated passenger drop-off areas, you can ensure a smooth and hassle-free experience for both you and your passenger.
Parking Facilities & Options
SAN offers a variety of parking options to suit every traveler's needs. There are several parking lots and garages located within walking distance of the airport terminals. Terminal 1 and 2 both have their own parking garages, while the Commuter Terminal has an adjacent parking lot.
If you're waiting to pick up a passenger, there are cell phone waiting areas available near each terminal. These areas are free to use and allow you to wait in your car until your passenger is ready to be picked up.
Handicapped parking is available in all parking lots and garages. Accessible parking spaces are located near the elevators and shuttle stops for your convenience.
For those looking for a more economical parking option, there are several off-airport parking lots available. These lots offer shuttle service to and from the airport and can save you money compared to parking in the on-site lots and garages.
Get details about SAN Airport parking options and rates, along with more economical off-airport parking here.
The airport offers a variety of ground transportation options to get you to your final destination. If you prefer to drive, there are several car rental companies located on-site, including Avis, Budget, Enterprise, Hertz, and National. You can easily access the rental car center by taking the free shuttle bus outside of baggage claim.
If you would rather take a taxi, there are designated taxi pick-up areas outside of each terminal. The fares are metered and vary depending on your destination and time of day. You can expect to pay around $20-$30 for a ride to downtown San Diego.
Shared ride services, such as Uber and Lyft, are also available at San Diego Airport. The pick-up areas for these services are located at the Transportation Plaza, which is a short walk from the terminals. Keep in mind that there may be restrictions on the types of vehicles that can be used for shared rides.
If you prefer a more cost-effective option, airport shuttles are available to take you to your hotel or other destination. These shuttles can be found at the Transportation Plaza and fares vary depending on your destination. It is recommended that you make a reservation in advance to ensure availability.
Finally, public transportation options are also available at San Diego Airport. The Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) offers bus and trolley services that can take you to various locations throughout San Diego. The bus stop is located at the Transportation Plaza and the trolley station is a short walk from Terminal 1. Fares vary depending on your destination and mode of transportation.
SAN offers a range of services to make your travel experience comfortable and convenient. Whether you need to connect to the internet, find lost items, or access medical help, the airport has got you covered.
For those who need to stay connected, free Wi-Fi is available throughout the airport. Simply connect to the "SAN-Free-Wi-Fi" network and start browsing. If you lose something during your travels, head to the airport's Lost and Found department, located in Terminal 1. The department is open from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm on weekdays, and closed on weekends and holidays.
If you're traveling with children, the airport has several play areas to keep them entertained. The Commuter Terminal has a Kids' Zone, complete with a play structure and interactive games. Terminal 2 has a similar play area, located near Gate 47. Additionally, nursing rooms are available in all terminals for mothers who need to breastfeed or pump.
For travelers with special needs, SAN Airport offers a range of services to ensure a comfortable and safe journey. Wheelchair assistance is available upon request, and all terminals are equipped with accessible restrooms and elevators. Service animal relief areas are also available in each terminal. If you require additional assistance, contact the airport's Customer Service department at least 72 hours before your travel date.
Banking services are available in Terminal 1 and Terminal 2. ATMs can be found throughout the airport, including near the baggage claim areas. If you require medical assistance, the airport has a Medical Clinic located in Terminal 2.
Flight Status Info
As an air traveler, it's important to stay informed about the status of your flight. Luckily, there are several ways to get flight status updates at the airport. One of the most common ways is to use the in-airport flight displays (FIDS) located throughout the terminal. These displays provide real-time information about flight departures, delays, and gate information.
Another convenient way to stay informed is to download the mobile app of your airline. Most airlines offer apps that allow you to receive push notifications about departure delays, cancelations, or gate changes. You can also sign up for text or email alerts through the airline's website.
Passengers can check the status of their flight departure at San Diego Airport by visiting the flight departures page on ifly.com, which provides real-time updates on flight departures, delays, and gate information.
Airport Facts & Stats
San Diego Airport, also known as SAN, is located in the United States and serves the San Diego area. The airport has three terminals: Commuter Terminal, Terminal 1, and Terminal 2.
The top airlines with the most daily flights at SAN are Southwest Airlines, Alaska Airlines, and Delta Air Lines. On average, the airport handles around 60,000 passengers daily and has approximately 500 daily flights.
SAN Airport serves over 70 destinations on a regular basis. The top 5 destinations served from the airport are Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Francisco, Denver, and Seattle.
Several air carriers use the airport as a hub, including Alaska Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and Delta Air Lines.
San Diego International Airport is the busiest single-runway commercial airport in the United States. Here is a brief overview of its history:
- 1928: The City of San Diego buys 135 acres of land to build an airport.
- 1930: The airport officially opens as San Diego Municipal Airport.
- 1935: The airport is renamed Lindbergh Field in honor of Charles Lindbergh.
- 1940s: The airport serves as a military base during World War II.
- 1950s: The airport undergoes major renovations and expansions.
- 1979: The airport's runway is extended to accommodate larger aircraft.
- 1980s: The airport becomes a hub for Pacific Southwest Airlines (PSA).
- 1990s: The airport experiences significant growth in passenger traffic.
- 2003: The airport's Terminal 2 is expanded and renovated.
- 2013: The airport is renamed San Diego International Airport.
- 2020: The airport experiences a significant decrease in passenger traffic due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Today, San Diego International Airport serves over 25 million passengers annually and offers non-stop flights to over 70 destinations worldwide.
Airport Contact Info
Where are the Spirit Airline gates?
Asked by Susan - Mon, 24 October
Spirit Airline is located in Terminal 1.
Why is it requested to arrive at the airport 3 hours early if the wait times are less than 30 minutes?
Asked by Evelyn - Wed, 19 October
We show the recommended arrival time as 2 hours before scheduled flights due to increased security measures.
Do I have to reserve parking for a long term stay? Or can I just arrive at the airport, park, and pay my parking fee when I land back in San Diego?
Asked by Bianca - Fri, 30 September
You can choose to make a reservation or pay at the airport.
Where is the AA check in desk?
Asked by Larry Edward Renner - Tue, 20 September
The American Airlines check-in desk is located in Terminal 2 near the security checkpoint.
How to get wheelchair assistance for departing passenger?
Asked by Janice - Mon, 12 September
You will want to contact your airlines directly when booking your flight to have wheelchair assistance ready for the departing passenger.
Is there a pet rest area in Terminal 2?
Asked by Shannon - Mon, 5 September
There are multiple pet relief stations in Terminal 2.
Which Terminal is Southwest Airlines located in?
Asked by herman lopez - Tue, 23 August
Southwest Airlines is located in Terminal 1.
Does Southwest air have their own customer service phones?
Asked by Heidi - Sat, 20 August
You can contact Southwest Airlines directly at 800-435-9792.
Are there lockers to leave luggage in for 4-5 hours?
Asked by Deanna - Sat, 6 August
There are no luggage lockers available at this airport.
How much time should I arrive at airport ahead of flight departure, August 2, 7am?
Asked by Hugh - Mon, 1 August
It is recommended to arrive 2 hours before your scheduled departure time.
Does terminal 2 have TSA security?
Asked by Cheryl - Thu, 12 May
Yes, Terminal 2 does have a TSA security checkpoint.
Where is the entry to the cell phone lot?
Asked by Richard - Tue, 5 April
The Cell Phone lot is located at: 2311 McCain Road, San Diego CA 92101. We recommend putting this into your GPS.
Where are car rental shuttles located?
Asked by Kenneth (Ken) Ohlemacher - Mon, 4 April
Free shuttle busses run continually between the airport terminals and the Rental Car Center. After you get your luggage, simply follow signs for the Rental Car Center to find the shuttle.
Can you move between terminals 1 and 2 inside the security area?
Asked by Donald - Sun, 3 April
While there is a shuttle that will get you from Terminal 1 to Terminal 2, this is outside security. Once you go through security, you are not able to access the other Terminal.
Which terminal is Southwest Airlines in?
Asked by Beth - Sun, 3 April
Southwest operates out of Terminal 2 at this airport.
Where do I pick up someone on United Airlines?
Asked by julie - Thu, 10 March
How many loading gates does Alaska Airlines have? Have to change planes and my layover time is short, worried may miss connection.
Asked by janyce geistdorfer - Tue, 8 March
I will be arriving several hours before I pick up passengers returning from Hawaii. Is there a place for me to wait for them inside the airport without going through security?
Asked by Lorrie - Fri, 4 March
We recommend picking them up curbside. You can wait at the free Cell Phone Parking Lot, at 2311 McCain Road, San Diego CA 92101. You can also park and meet them at baggage claim.
Does SAN Airport has smoking area?
Asked by Misha - Sat, 26 February
No there are no smoking areas other than designated smoking areas located outside of the terminals where smoking is permitted as SAN is a smoke-free facility.
Which Terminal does Air Canada use?
Asked by Merly - Thu, 24 February
Air Canada typically uses Terminal 2.
Does Alaska Airline have a sidewalk kiosk for baggage check-in?
Asked by Thomas - Fri, 18 February
Alaska Airlines does not offer curbside check-in at this airport.
Is there a Cellphone Lot?
Asked by Mylie - Fri, 18 February
United Ailrines lost my luggage. What number do I call?
Asked by Denil - Tue, 15 February
On the first floor of the baggage claim area in Terminal 2 west, the airport Lost and Found office is located. The phone number is 619-400-2140 and the daily office hours are 6:00 am to 11:00 pm.