San Diego International Airport Offers Helpful Tips for Navigating the Airport this Holiday Season

Photo courtesy of San Diego International Airport

Some useful information from the folks at San Diego International Airport

Plan Ahead

Arrive at least 1½ hours before departure for domestic flights and 2 ½ hours for international flights.  The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) website provides helpful tips on how to reduce wait times at security checkpoints during the busy holiday travel season, such as how to pack and what items are permitted and prohibited. For more information, visit

Construction Update

Construction on the airport’s Terminal 2 Parking Plaza is ongoing.  Access to limited Terminal 2 parking is available off McCain Road from Harbor Drive. Travelers can visit for any and all parking needs while the Parking Plaza is under construction, including the ability to find the best parking lot based on the airline they’ll be flying.


  • Reserve Parking Online. Save time and money by reserving a parking spot in advance for Valet or the airport’s Long-Term or Economy lots by visiting

Short- and Long-Term Parking.  The parking options available at SAN include color-coded short- and long-term lots for ease of use:

Green is for the Long-Term Lot, located east of the airport

Blue is for the Economy Lot, located north of the airfield

Free shuttle buses from these short- and long-term lots to all airport terminals are also color-coded and feature images of popular destinations from San Diego.

Valet Parking.  The valet service was created to aid travelers in situations where time, convenience and parking availability are a concern.  When coming to the airport, drive into the designated valet areas in front of Terminal 1 or Terminal 2.  When coming back to San Diego, pick up luggage first on the way to the valet cashier.  The drive-up rate is $40 per 24-hour period, or save $5 on the daily rate by reserving online at Take the receipt to curbside valet and your vehicle will be brought to you, or text (619) 888-6675 with your information once you’ve landed.

Cell Phone Lot.  Located east of the airport on Harbor Drive, motorists can wait in this parking lot for up to 60 minutes free of charge.  Once cell phone contact is made between the driver and incoming passenger, the motorist can drive over to the terminal for quick, convenient traveler pick-up.

Disabled Parking.  Parking for travelers with disabilities is available at all airport lots. For additional information call (619) 291-2087.

Treat Our Troops

The Airport Authority and dozens of airport shops and restaurants are partnering with the Neil Ash USO Airport Center to deliver food packages to an estimated 3,000 service members who will travel through the airport the week before Christmas. Through December 21, travelers can purchase a $10 “Treat Our Troops” package at participating retail shops and restaurants. Each purchase provides a service member traveling through the airport USO with a small bundle of pre-packaged food, water, and other snack items.

On a normal day, roughly 330 service members and their families pass through the Neil Ash USO Airport Center. That number more than doubles the week before Christmas.

Expedite Security

TSA Pre™ at San Diego International Airport.  TSA Pre ✓™ offers expedited screening for eligible participants. TSA Pre✓™ lanes are available for passengers traveling through SAN on the following airlines:

Terminal 1 Alaska Airlines, Southwest, Frontier Airlines

Terminal 2 – Air Canada, Jet Blue, Hawaiian, American, Delta, United, Virgin America, Sun Country Airlines and US Airways

Active duty military are also eligible for TSA Pre ✓™

Shops and Restaurants

The Airport Authority increased its shopping and dining options from 55 to 84 as part of its Concession Development Program. Offerings include favorite local, national and international concepts such as Phil’s BBQ, Stone Brewing Co., Prado at the Airport, Einstein Bros. Bagels, Jack in the Box and many more.  Before arriving at the airport, please take a look at the list of current shopping and dining options by visiting

Lactation Rooms

Nursing mothers traveling through the airport this holiday season can take advantage of any of San Diego International Airport’s three lactation rooms. The rooms are located post-security – two in Terminal 1 and one in Terminal 2 – and include a hand washing station, electrical outlets, comfortable seating, artwork, a children’s seat and soft lighting. The rooms are an addition to the many customer amenities in place at the airport to make passengers’ experience more convenient, comfortable and enjoyable.

Useful Websites to Scroll Prior To Arriving at the Airport