San Diego Airport Guide
Southwest Airlines San Diego Flights
United Airlines San Diego Flights
US Airways San Diego Flights
Continental Airlines San Diego Flights
American Airlines San Diego Flights
Delta Air Lines San Diego Flights

Your Complete Guide to San Diego Airport

San Diego Airport is an important American airport serving the Greater San Diego area, and is commonly referred to as the Lindbergh Field Airport. It is also recognised by its IATA code of SAN, and its ICAO code is listed as KSAN. The airport is a focus city of Southwest Airlines and Alaska Airlines, and is served by other prominent airline carriers as well. It is not far from the city centre of San Diego, and passengers will find a number of convenient options for ground transportation. The airport’s three terminals are also well equipped with all facilities required by arriving and departing passengers.

SAN is located approximately 3 miles, or 4.8km to the northwest of San Diego’s Central Business District. The southern perimeters of the airport grounds are just off the waters of San Diego Bay, and the areas of Point Loma Heights, Mission Hills, Hillcrest and North Park are in the nearby vicinity. The city of San Diego and its airport lie in the southern region of California, a state along the western coastline of America. It is to the south of San Francisco and Los Angeles, and just 15 miles north of the border between Mexico and the US, at Tijuana. The main roads leading into San Diego and to the San Diego Airport include the Interstate 5, the Interstate 8 and the Interstate 805. Interstate 5 is especially relevant for airport access, as is it connected to North Harbor Drive, the main airport road. Several parking areas are available for passengers. There are three terminal car parks and a number of long-term car parks that are linked to the terminals by free shuttle buses. A new Cell Phone Lot is available as well.

Alternatively, passengers could head for this airport in a taxi, from any area of San Diego, or by public buses operated by MTS (Metropolitan Transit System). The public buses have stops at the train stations of Santa Fe Depot and American Plaza in downtown San Diego, effectively linking the airport with the popular Coaster trains, Amtrak intercity trains and ‘Trolley’ (light rail system) of the city. There is currently no direct railway connection to the airport. Private shuttles are available as well from several companies that offer door-to-door transport services. All forms of transport are available in the alternative direction as well.

The airport of San Diego was initiated in 1928 when plans were made to build a two-runway municipal airport. It was then known as the San Diego Municipal Airport – Lindbergh Field. The airport is named after Charles Lindbergh, who made the first ever solo transatlantic flight. The airport first served as a testing facility for early US sailplane designs, as it was designed to serve all aircraft including sea planes, and in 1934, it gained its international status. For World War II activities it’s runway was lengthened, which made it ‘jet-ready’ long before the larger jet airliners were put into service. Commercial activities were once again established at the airport after the war, and it became the headquarters of Pacific Southwest Airlines. In 1957 the airport was handling approximately 42 departures a day, some of which headed for Dallas and El Paso. American Airlines joined the airport in 1960, with Boeing 720’s to Phoenix, and United Airlines became presence as well, with flights to San Francisco.

By this time the original terminal building was at its full capacity, and new facilities were required. In 1967, Terminal 1 was opened on the south side of the airport grounds, and in 1979, Terminal 2 was complete. Both terminals are still in operation at the airport, and were designed by Paderewski Dean & Associates. Later, in 1996, the airport also received a third terminal building, referred to as the Commuter Terminal, specifically for flights between San Diego Airport and Los Angeles. Expansions were made to Terminal 2 in 1998, and around this time the airport was officially named as the San Diego International Airport, even though it is still commonly referred to as the Lindbergh Field by local residents. Another change to the airport was the closing of one of its runways due to the development of downtown San Diego. This did not significantly affect airport operations as it was rarely used and not of an adequate length for commercial aircraft.

SAN today, is therefore a single-runway airport, handling approximately sixteen million passengers per annum, and almost seventeen million in 2011. It is therefore regarded as the second busiest airport with only one runway in the world. In the United States, it is rated as the 28th busiest in terms of passenger traffic. It is served by sixteen airline carriers, of which Southwest Airlines holds the greatest percentage of passengers, and these carriers offer non-stop flights to approximately fifty destinations throughout the year. On a daily basis, the airport handles approximately 50,000 passengers, and over five hundred arrivals and departure flights. San Diego Airport is open twenty-four hours a day, but the majority of its flights operate between 06:30am and 11:30pm due to its close proximity to heavily populated areas.

The top ten carriers of the airport are Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, Delta Air Lines, American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, US Airways, SkyWest Airlines, Frontier Airlines, American Eagle and Virgin America, with flights to a wide variety of US locations, of which the most popular are San Francisco, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Denver, Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Atlanta and Orlando. Terminal 1 is the main terminal for domestic operations, and consists of an East and West side, and 19 airline gates. International departures and arrivals are handled at Terminal 2, by airline companies such as Air Canada, WestJet, Volaris and British Airways. A new flight to Tokyo will begin shortly as well, by Japan Airlines. Terminal 2 has 22 gates, and also an East and West side similar to Terminal 1. The Commuter Terminal has 4 airline gates. All terminals are connected by free shuttle buses, and are also linked to the San Diego International Airport car rental companies by free shuttle services.

Facilities within the airport complex include a great variety of shops and restaurants, wireless internet connections, currency exchange services, 9 Bank of America ATMs, pay phones and shoeshine services. Several airline lounges are available as well, including the American Airlines Admirals Club, Delta Crown Room, United Club and the Neil Ash USO Centre, complete with children’s play areas, a library, restrooms and showers and a lounge area with Big Screen TV. The airport complex is equipped for disabled passengers, with elevators, pavement ramps and accessible restroom facilities. A number of volunteers can be found in the terminals as well, in green golf shirts with ‘Airport Information’ emblazoned on the back.

San Diego Airport is currently busy with its largest improvement project to date, which is known as ‘The Green Build’. It is a $1 billion project, and will equip the airport to handle the future demand for air travel, whilst improving customer service. Ten new gates will be constructed to reduce terminal congestion, enhanced check-in options will be implemented and a dual-roadway will be built to ease the flow of traffic by separating arriving and departing passengers. Details for San Diego International Airport information is available at 619-400-2404.