Updated: May 21, 2015
San Diego International Airport - SAN:The San Diego airport is located right near downtown San Diego right off the bay. Flying into this airport gives you an excellent view of the city skyline and beautiful waters that make this coastal city so popular among residents and tourists alike. I have found that the airport is perhaps one of the most convenient in the United States in terms of getting from the airport to the downtown area. You don't need to get on any major freeways and it takes roughly 10 minutes to reach downtown San Diego from the airport. Since the weather in San Diego is temperate year round, there are very few flight delays because of bad weather. The airport code for San Diego International Airport is 'SAN' so when you are booking flights be sure to enter it correctly on sites like Expedia or Travelocity. San Diego airport offers daily departures to all the major cities in the U.S. and several other international destinations. You can visit the airports official website online at San.org.
Driving Directions to San Diego International Airport:I-5 is the major interstate that passes right through the downtown San Diego area and the most likely road you will be on to approach the airport. The address to the airport is 3665 N. Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA 92101. You can also approach via State Route 163, I-8, and I-15. With traffic conditions in San Diego heavy at times, make sure you give yourself plenty of time to get to the airport - 2 hours before a domestic flight and closer to 3 hours for an international departure. You will need time to check-in and then proceed through airport security which can be tedious these days with heightened restrictions. You can view a general map of the airport and surrounding area down below.
Just follow the airport exits as you get close and the signs will lead the way to rental car returns and the terminals. Keep in mind that the San Diego Trolley and the Coaster commuter train unfortunately do not stop at the airport. The only option for public transportation to and from the airport is Flyer Route No. 992 that goes between the downtown area and the airport. The transit bus will connect you with the Amtrak station, the trolley line, and the Coaster stations on their route. Once at the airport the bus stops at Terminals 1 & 2 and the Commuter Terminal. Parking is ample at the airport (see details below).
San Diego Airport Terminals - Airlines Served:San Diego airport has 3 terminals which serve most of the major airlines in the United States. You can find some excellent maps of the San Diego airport terminals HERE. The maps show you where you can find ATMS, service counters, restaurants, currency exchange, elevators, mail drops, restrooms, security, and waiting areas. They also list baggage claim areas, gates, and shuttle bus stops. San Diego has done a good job of having a 'commuter' terminal to help speed things along for those that are traveling for work. Overall, you can fly to 55 airports direct from San Diego airport. Some of the more popular non-stop flights are to Washington DC (JetBlue, United), Boston (JetBlue, American), Atlanta (AirTran, Delta), Chicago (American, United), Dallas (American), Honolulu (Hawaiian), Las Vegas (Southwest), JFK (JetBlue, Delta, American), Portland (Alaska Airlines), and San Francisco (United, Southwest). Down below you will find the basic details of each terminal and what airlines are served:
Commuter Terminal - Gates 1-4 - Airline Served are Alaska Airlines, American Eagle, Continental Express, Delta Connection, ExpressJet, Northwest Airlink, and United Express. There is even a special parking area for the commuter section.
Terminal 1 - Gates 1-19 - Airline Served are Air Canada, Alaska Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and United Airlines.
Terminal 2 - Gates 20- 41 - Airlines served are Aeromexico, AirTran Airways, Aloha Airlines, America West Airlines, American West Express, American Airlines, Continental Airlines, Delta, Delta Connection, Frontier Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Midwest Airlines, Northwest Airlines, Skybus Airlines, Sun Country Airlines, US Airways, WestJet.
Parking - Short Term vs Long Term:No matter whether you are flying overnight or going on a week long vacation, parking at an airport can get costly. San Diego airport is really no different, their parking fee start at $.50 for the first 1/2 hour and go up to $18 for the first day and go up to $24/day in the short term parking area. Using the long term parking is at least somewhat convenient and is much cheaper. You can see all the parking rates online HERE. When you leave you can pay with cash, VISA, Mastercard, AMEX, or Discover cards. Long term parking at San Diego airport is roughly $12/day with one lot only $10/day. All locations offer free shuttle service to and from the airport terminals. If you are ok with parking off-site, consider looking at the website Longtermparking.com. They offer long term parking coupon discount rates, just print out the coupon and redeem at the parking lot.
Airport Shuttles, Rental Cars, Taxi, and Limousines:
Rental Cars - Car rental shuttles pick you up at the designated stops just outside the terminals at the San Diego airport and take you off site to the rental car companies location. Each rental car has it's own bus, so be sure to hop on the right one. You can get websites and phone #'s for each rental car company in the area HERE. Advantage, Alamo, Avis, Dollar, Enterprise, Fox, Hertz, National, Payless, Thrifty, and Rent4less are some of the more popular companies to consider. I was recently in San Diego and rented with Alamo, the bus service was prompt, the check-out was easy and the car worked fine. It was maybe a 10 minute ride on the bus to the rental car office on Kettner Blvd.
Limousines - There are dozens of limousine companies that service San Diego airport and they must all be pre-arranged. You can find a complete list of limousines service HERE.
Taxis - Estimated taxi fare from the airport to downtown San Diego is roughly $12 to $15 each way. If you put a few people into the cab then it's totally worth the convenience of not having to get onto one of those shuttle buses that stops at all the hotels and wastes your time. You are literally just minutes away from the downtown area when at the airport. More details on taxi fees is available HERE.
Door to Door Shuttles - If you are looking to get downtown from the airport and want to take an airport shuttle service, we suggest taking a cab instead. The San Diego airport is very close to the major hotels and businesses downtown, so paying for a shuttle may not be worth the ride. You can get a cab to take you downtown for less than $15. Many of the hotels also offer shuttle buses since the airport is so close. If you are set on taking a door to door shuttle bus, you can find sample fares and phone #'s for all the shuttle services at the airport HERE.
Hotels near San Diego Airport:There are quite a few quality hotels to choose from near or around the San Diego International Airport. We have listed the top 5 below with names, addresses, phone numbers, and website addresses for your convenience. Rooms are priced from $100-$200 night.
- San Diego Marriott Hotel & Marina - 333 West Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA 92101, Phone # (619)234-1500. A few miles from airport. You can find them online HERE
- Embassy Suites San Diego Bay - Downtown - 601 Pacific Highway, San Diego, CA 92101, Phone # (619)239-2400. They have complimentary shuttle service to the airport. Website located HERE
- Hilton San Diego Resort - 1775 East Mission Bay Drive, San Diego, CA 92109, Phone # (619)276-4010. 6 miles from airport Website located HERE
- Courtyard San Diego Downtown - 530 Broadway Street, San Diego, CA 92101, Phone # (619)446-3000, Website located HERE
- Holiday Inn - San Diego Downtown - 1617 First Street, San Diego, CA 92101, Phone # (619)239-9600, Website located HERE