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Traveling for the holidays? How to navigate San Diego International Airport during construction

Travelers waiting to claim their baggage inside Terminal 2 of the San Diego International Airport on May 30, 2022.
Carlos Castillos
Travelers waiting to claim their baggage inside Terminal 2 of the San Diego International Airport on May 30, 2022.

San Diego International Airport is one year into a renovation that will eventually replace Terminal 1. There will be more gates, more restaurants, including outdoor dining and a play area for kids. A larger space for security is expected to allow for more efficient passenger processing, getting them on planes quickly.

But that is a long-term goal. Now, airport travelers will encounter the telltale signs of a major construction project. The roadway construction, temporary fencing and cranes may have passengers wondering: is the airport ready for this upcoming busy holiday travel season?

The Wall Street Journal thinks so. The paper recently ranked San Diego International Airport as the second best mid-size airport in the country despite the ongoing project. Airport spokeswoman Sabrina LoPiccolo said the airport is working hard to ensure a smooth passenger experience. She said passengers can help with a little planning ahead.


LoPiccolo said arriving two hours before domestic flights, and three hours before international flights is ideal.

“Parking is limited, so make a reservation early if you’re planning on parking at the airport. Or better yet, consider alternatives, like having a friend drop you off, or taking public transit,” LoPiccolo said.

The renovation will be finished in stages. A new parking structure for Terminal 1 is expected to be completed in late 2023.

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