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San Diego Int'l Airport offers tips to deal with holiday travels amid flight delays, cancellations

Luggage from Southwest Airlines pilling up at the baggage claim area at San Diego International Airport, Dec. 26, 2022.
Roland Lizarondo
Luggage from Southwest Airlines pilling up at the baggage claim area at San Diego International Airport, Dec. 26, 2022.

With a record-setting cold snap canceling or delaying flights and stranding travelers over much of the nation, San Diego International Airport is trying to make things as easy as possible for those planning to make trips this season.

Airport officials offered the following holiday travel tips:

  • Don't cut it close. Plan to arrive two hours before flight departures for domestic and international flights.
  • Due to Terminal 1 construction, expect traffic and changes to airport roadways especially during peak times from 4 a.m. to 6:15 a.m., 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. to midnight.
  • Peak screening hours at airport checkpoints are 5-7 a.m. and 4-6 p.m. With holiday delays, passengers could see extended wait times up to an hour.
  • Free shuttle buses run 24 hours between the Rental Car Center and airport terminals.
  • Parking is limited and the Terminal 1 Parking Lot is permanently closed, so reservations are strongly recommended.
  • The Terminal Loop Shuttle efficiently transports passengers between both terminals.
  • Curbside pick-up is available every 10 minutes.
  • To get to the airport, take the Coaster to Santa Fe Depot Train Station Downtown or take the MTS Trolley to Old Town Station.
  • MTS Route 992 stops at Terminals 1 and 2 from 5 a.m to midnight, every 15 minutes on weekdays and every 30 minutes on weekends and holidays.
  • Taxi, Lyft, Uber, shuttles or other airport-permitted commercial transportation options are great ways to get to and from the airport.
  • Use the Cell Phone lot at the Terminal 2 West Parking Lot on McCain Road when picking someone up. It is a great way to avoid circling the airport and further congesting terminal roadways. The Cell Phone lot is free and a convenient place to wait for arriving passengers.

Owned and operated by San Diego County Regional Airport Authority, San Diego International Airport is one of the busiest single-runway commercial service airports in the world and the third-busiest airport in California.


In November 2021, the Airport Authority began construction on the New Terminal 1, which includes replacement of the current terminal, improvements to the airfield, improved transportation connectivity to the airport and a new administration building.