San Diego’s Lindbergh Field is the most tourist friendly airport in the country. The San Diego airport ranks #2 in the United States for customer service and is conveniently located adjacent to the tourist attractions in downtown San Diego. Flying non-stop to San Diego is a convenient option for most visitors, including those coming from Toronto, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Dallas, San Francisco, and Maui.
San Diego has near perfect weather. As a result, San Diego is the home to many firsts in aviation. In 1928, the San Diego Airport became the first federally approved airport in the country. It was named after Charles Lindbergh because his plane, The Spirit of St. Louis, was built in San Diego and flew from here to St. Louis and on to New York before making its history making flight over the Atlantic Ocean to Paris, France. The people of San Diego carry on this rich tradition of aviation excellence by providing unparalleled service to visitors from all over the world.
San Diego is a destination airport. As a result, you will not see big crowds connecting to other flights. There are three terminals:
- Commuter Terminal for short flights, mainly to Los Angeles.
- Terminal One, also known as the ‘Old Terminal’, hosts Southwest Airlines, the largest airline in San Diego.
- Terminal Two, also known as the ‘New Terminal’ is the largest terminal at the San Diego Airport.
There are several food options in each terminal. There are also gift shops in each terminal but no shopping mall stores. Wi-Fi internet service is available and free. The security lines are usually short, allowing you to get through within 10 minutes. The busiest time for the security lines is prior to the first morning flights so it behooves you to plan for a half hour wait, possibly more. Those leaving on Southwest Airlines flights around 1PM on weekday afternoons will also find a longer security line than normal. For all flights, it is always wise to plan for extra time to pass through security.
San Diego International Airport – Visit the official San Diego Airport web site to find answers to any of your airport questions. If you need help with accessibility issues, visit the accessibility services page. If you are unable to find answers to your questions, you can submit a question or contact a customer service agent . You will find a link to some of the more popular airport pages below.
Direct Flights to San Diego – Check out the list of cities offering non-stop service to San Diego.
Airlines Serving San Diego – Check out the list of airlines serving San Diego. Recent additions include Jet Blue and Virgin America.
San Diego Airport Food – Local favorites include Yan Can Asian Bistro & Bar (opened by Chef Martin Yan of PBS fame) in Terminal One, California Pizza Kitchen in Terminal Two, and local brewer, Karl Strauss, in both terminals.
Car Rentals – Hertz, Avis, and National Car Rental have facilities across the street from the San Diego Airport. All other major car rental companies are about a mile away. Visit the car rental page on the San Diego Airport web site for a listing of all rental car companies serving Lindbergh Field.
San Diego’s Airport is centrally located next to downtown and the San Diego Bay. The Airport is just minutes away from the major tourist attractions, including the San Diego Zoo, SeaWorld, Balboa Park, Old Town, Gaslamp Quarter, and the beaches.
You can get a birds eye view of San Diego County as your plane approaches the airport for landing from the east. As the pilot announces that it is time to put up the tray tables and seat backs to prepare for landing, visitors traveling from anywhere east of San Diego will get to see the desert and then mountains before reaching the urban area. Everyone will get to see downtown San Diego. Those on the left side of the plane will get to see Tijuana, Mexico, the Coronado Bay Bridge, Petco Park (home to the San Diego Padres), and the downtown skyline, while those on the right side of the plane will get to see Qualcomm Stadium (home to the San Diego Chargers), Balboa Park, and the northern San Diego region. The height of buildings in downtown San Diego are limited to 500 feet / 152 meters (about 34 stories) because of their proximity to the San Diego Airport.
If you find yourself needing to kill some time because you don’t want to get to the airport too early but you don’t have enough time to explore one last San Diego attraction, you are in luck. Right across the street from the San Diego Airport is Harbor Island. It is a quiet area where you can take a 1.5 mile stroll along San Diego Bay and enjoy spectacular views of Downtown San Diego. The sidewalk along San Diego Bay is just a quarter-mile from the Harbor Island entrance.
Harbor Island shares a traffic light with Terminal 1 and is just west of where most rental car companies are located.