2 International Airports in San Diego - Airport Details, Terminals, Facilities

San Diego, the city, located alongside the Pacific Ocean boasts of its all times perfect weather and various extensive beaches.  Its lavish culinary choices and adventurous attractions also contribute to making it a popular tourist destination in America.

The main International Airports in San Diego are the San Diego International Airport and it has two non-commercial airports, namely Montgomery-Gibbs Executive Airport and Brown Field Municipal Airport. The Tijuana International Airport, although located in Mexico, has a terminal in San Diego called the Cross Border Xpress that connects the city with the airport.

1. San Diego International Airport (SAN)

San Diego

The airport is about 3 miles from downtown San Diego and covers more than 663 acres (268 ha) of land. Previously, it was known as the Lindberg Field, a namesake of a well-known airman in 1928. In 2019, the airport crossed 25 million passengers, among which over one million were international.  In the same year, they also became the second airport to be certified as carbon neutral in North America. It is also known to be the busiest single-runway airport in the United States.
Operating airlines: Alaska, Southwest, Delta, British Airways, Japan Airlines, Air Canada, Edelweiss, Hawaiian, Lufthansa, Frontier, Allegiant, Sun Country, Spirit, WestJet, and JetBlue.

Airport Details

Delta Airlines
San Diego Airport consists of two terminals- Terminal 1 and Terminal 2- with four concourses in total. Terminal 1 has gates 1-18 with airlines including Southwest, Frontier, and WestJet, whereas Terminal 2 has gates 20-51 with airlines Alaska, British Airways, and Delta. However, there is a pedestrian walkway that connects both these two terminals. The airport remains open for 24 hours, but departures only take place between 6:30 a.m. and 11:30 p.m. to reduce noise pollution. Also, the ticket counters open two hours before the first flight takes off.
Distance and transport
Distance: 3 miles from downtown San Diego
Bus: MTS Bus route 992 stops at both terminals and operates from 5:00 a.m. – 11:30 p.m. It costs $2.50 ($1.25 for seniors/disabled/Medicare)
Taxi and Shuttles: Off-airport companies for Taxis and shuttles are available to book at the transportation plaza in front of both terminals. You can also book ride-hailing companies from there. A taxi ride to downtown usually takes 10 minutes and costs $12.
Rental Car: The pick-ups and drop-offs for the rental cars take place at the Rental Car Center. Free shuttle buses are available to take you from the airport terminals to the rental car center.

Services and Facilities at the San Diego Airport

San Diego Airport Inside
1. Food and drinks:  From dine-in options to grab and go, the airport has a good combination of popular and locally owned eateries. You can find almost all the culinary favorites of the city here including Phil’s BBQ, The Prado, and Elegant Desserts along with some local liquid options like Ballast Point Bar, Stone Brewing. However, each has its own opening and closing time. The AtYourGate app can bring food from any restaurant at the airport to your gate.

2. Shopping: Apart from the best buy vending machines and other standard stores, some well-known shops include MAC Cosmetics, MindWorks (toys and games), and Gaslamp Marketplace (local products and souvenirs). However, at Terminal 2 near the gate of 20-21, shops are available for duty-free shopping.

3. Lounges: With an entry fee of $25, the Airspace Lounge comes with showers, restrooms, complimentary food, and drinks. However, the American Express Platinum cardholders and their guests will get the luxury of free access. The Be Relax Spa at Terminal 2 offers services including massages, facial, and oxygen and light therapy.  Besides, there are also Delta sky club and united club.

4. Wi-fi: The airport provides free and fast wi-fi service. Each gets a free session of two hours but to continue using it, log back in for another 2-hour free session.

5. Lactation rooms: 3 lactation rooms are available after post-security. Two of them are in Terminal 1 and another in Terminal 2. These rooms offer amenities like a handwashing station, a children’s seat, and comfortable seating.

6. Bicycle lockers: There are free bicycle lockers are accessible from both terminals, but a deposit of $25 is necessary. It will get refunded when the key is returned.

2. Tijuana International Airport (TIJ)

Cross Border Terminal (CBX)

Located in Tijuana, this airport is about 22 miles away from San Diego. It is capable of carrying 10 million passengers per year and 360 flights per day. The terminal bridge at the cross border Xpress in San Diego gives easy access to the US passengers to reach the airport. However, one needs to pay an amount of $20 to cross the bridge.
Operating airlines: Aereocalafia , Aeroméxico , Hainan Airlines,  Interjet, Viva Aerobus, Volaris.

Airport Details 

Tijuana International Airport
Although it has two terminals, Terminal 1 is known to be the main one. All the commercial flights take place here.  The other one is the cross-border terminal which is the Cross Border Xpress (CBX). One end of the terminal is at the US side, and the other end lies at the airport. Parking options are available on both sides of the terminal. The main terminal is divided into concourse A and B and has a total of 23 boarding gates. This airport ranks the 20th busiest airport in Latin America.
Distance and transport
- Distance:  The CBX terminal is 22 miles south of the San Diego airport and takes about 30-40 minutes
- Bus: Many local city buses are running to and from the airport and downtown in Tijuana with a cost of 11.00 MXN (USD 0.60).
- Shuttle:  Shuttle options are available to ride from San Diego to the Tijuana airport.  To access the shuttle, take a local bus from San Diego airport to Depot Amtrak Station. From that depot, take a CBX shuttle that departs every two hours with a fee of $10.
- Taxis: Taxis are available for drop-offs from the city to the airport but not for pick-ups due to Mexican law. 

Services and Facilities

Tijuana International Airport
1. Food and drinks: It has a mixture of both the local and well-known shops, but they all operate under varying schedules. The ones that are available for 24 hours include Mini Market, Subway, and Wings. Some options on the CBS terminal are Starbucks and Wetzel’s Pretzels.

2. Wi-fi: They have free wi-fi under the name of the “GAP” network.

3. ATMs:  The ATM outlets are operated under Banamex, Bancomer, and HSBC bank. Their currency exchange remains open 24 hours.

4. Lounges: There is a VIP Lounge available that is located after the security checkpoint in the main terminal. To get access, you can either pay an entry fee or purchase an online ticket beforehand. It is free for the Lounge Club, and Diners Club members.

Now that you are aware of all the airports in San Diego with all the required details, go and book a flight to explore America’s finest city- San Diego.

This post was published by Konika Datta

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