Lactation Rooms


Automated Passport Control Kiosks


All-Gender Restrooms

Making Customer and Tenant Satisfaction a Priority

At San Diego International Airport (SAN), we take customer satisfaction seriously. That’s why we’re proud to participate in the Airport Council International’s Airport Service Quality (ASQ) survey, the world’s largest airport passenger satisfaction benchmark.


Based on the 2015 annual results, SAN achieved an Overall Satisfaction rating of 4.13 out of 5. From the third to the fourth quarter, SAN’s score increased by 0.10 points, the greatest quarter-to-quarter increase since 2013. Of the passengers surveyed, 78 percent were satisfied with their experience at SAN.


Key areas of importance to San Diego passengers in which SAN continues to exceed expectations include wait time and efficiency at check-in and security, walking distance inside the terminal, and courtesy and helpfulness of check-in and inspection staff.


SAN is on the cutting edge when it comes to customer amenities.


In 2014 and 2015, SAN:

  • Opened three lactation rooms for nursing mothers
  • Unveiled eight new Automated Passport Control kiosks, which allow passengers to submit their customs declaration and personal information electronically
  • Started the “Ready, Pet Go!” program in which dogs and their handlers roam the terminals and provide stress relief and comfort to passengers who would like to interact with them
  • Provided 12 all-gender restrooms throughout the airport
  • Began testing app-enabled beacon technology which soon will assist passengers with everything from finding their luggage to locating a latte


We have also undertaken a comprehensive program to review and update Wi-Fi service throughout the terminals. We know that reliable, fast Wi-Fi service is a must for today’s airport passengers, and we are working hard to improve our service in 2016.


We also strive to ensure our airport tenants – the airlines, concessionaires and other vendors who work hard to make the airport run as efficiently as possible – are satisfied, too. We hold regular tenant meetings to pass on information and take feedback, and work to ensure tenants meet the myriad local, state and federal workplace requirements.

Ground Transportation Update: Improving Access to ‘Point A’

At San Diego International Airport, we spend a lot of time and effort thinking of the best ways to get our passengers from Point A to Point B. But what’s just as important is getting them to Point A in the first place.


Enhancing access to and from the airport has been a key focus for the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority over the past decade. We made a series of improvements – both large and small – in 2015 that demonstrated our commitment in this regard.


To expand customer access to the airport, the Airport Authority signed permits for ridesharing companies Lyft, Wingz, Opoli and Uber to begin operations as part of a pilot program.


The Airport Authority initiated the program in July 2015 and recorded more than 240,000 total trips that year by ridesharing companies. The airport in 2015 also received $914,672 in cost-recovery fees from these companies.


The Airport Authority also launched the Trolley to Terminals Shuttle service, which allows Green Line passengers to get off the train at the Middletown Station and catch the blue airport Economy Lot shuttle a block away at a new transit shelter on Admiral Boland Way. The shuttle transports them on an on-airport roadway around the airfield before merging onto Harbor Drive near the Coast Guard station.


The airport has also installed MTS ticket kiosks in the terminals and created a transit outreach program in coordination with the California Coastal Commission.


It’s also worth mentioning that a trip on MTS’ convenient Airport/Downtown Shuttle (aka the 992 bus) from the America Plaza Station at Broadway and Kettner Boulevard to the airport takes about 10 to 12 minutes.


Due to the current political environment, we know the airport isn’t going anywhere. And we know that connecting the airport directly to public transit has its challenges, given its location. SANDAG’s Intermodal Transit Center could go a long way toward solving that problem.


The transit center, which would help provide direct access to the airport, is a good solution to the age-old problem of connecting transit to SAN. More than just the trolley, the center would potentially provide easy airport access for riders of Amtrak, the Coaster, MTS buses and, potentially, a high-speed rail line if it ever becomes a reality.


As of this writing, funding for the transit center is still an unknown. Over the years, many have asked why the Airport Authority itself doesn’t build a connection to the trolley. Since the proposed transit center would serve more than just the airport, the Airport Authority is restricted under federal law in its ability to fund such a project. Therefore, SANDAG is appropriately leading the effort, with the Airport Authority serving as a willing and able partner to develop the specific improvements needed to link the center to airport property.


SANDAG, working with the Airport Authority, also envisions new off-ramps from Interstate 5 that would lead directly to Pacific Highway adjacent to the airport, reducing congestion on surface streets.


Meanwhile, the Airport Authority is preparing to begin work on a long-term ground transportation plan which will allow efficient, effective and seamless access to and from the airport.


Working in conjunction with the Airport Development Plan, the long-term ground transportation plan will ensure roadway design, vehicle circulation, commercial ground transportation services, mass transit and airport parking meet the needs of a land-constrained urban airport, while minimizing environmental impacts and leveraging passenger preferences.



Security Remains a Team Effort

The terrorist attacks in Paris, Brussels and much closer to home in San Bernardino served as stark reminders of the importance of vigilance.


When these kinds of attacks occur, the media often asks airport officials what we are advising passengers to do. The answer is, invariably, the same as any other day: Always be watchful. Always be aware of your surroundings. If you see something, say something.


Security is one of the cornerstones of the Airport Authority’s mission, values and organizational strategies. In addition to the dedicated team in our Aviation Security department, we partner with local, state and federal security and law enforcement agencies to ensure passengers are as safe as possible.


The Airport Authority and its law enforcement partners utilize a wide range of security practices and procedures; ranging from traditional police patrol techniques to advanced surveillance systems.  We try to tailor our protective approach around each specific area and the most appropriate system or measure for that area, be it public or secured aviation-worker accessible area.


This involves constant training, not only with law enforcement professionals, but also with all Airport Authority workers, who need to know how to react in a crisis.


In a perfect world, all of this security would be invisible to the average passenger. One of our constant challenges is to weigh passenger convenience with the need for vigilance. We’ve introduced TSA Pre-✓ lanes at most of our security checkpoints, which has decreased wait times.


As Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said, “ ‘If You See Something, Say Something’ is more than a slogan. Public awareness and vigilance are vital to our homeland security efforts, and have in fact prevented terrorist or criminal acts in the past. In today’s environment, we urge the public to continue to travel, visit public events and places, and continue with their daily lives, but at all times be aware and vigilant.”


Suspicious activity at the airport should be reported to San Diego Harbor Police at (619) 686-8000.

Concessions Program Emphasizes Local Businesses
and Creates a Sense of Place

The Concessions Development Program (CDP) transition at San Diego International Airport, completed in 2015, revamped the shopping and dining offerings at the airport and provided more and better options for travelers.


The CDP has increased the number of restaurants and shops from 55 to 84. The program has significantly expanded the square footage dedicated to shopping and dining at the airport with the addition of a new concessions core known as Sunset Cove. Part of The Green Build Terminal 2 expansion, Sunset Cove is home to six different restaurants and features floor-to-ceiling windows, views to the airfield, seating and public art.


The CDP has created more opportunities for a number of local, small and Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBEs). In fact, 26 percent of the businesses involved in the program were DBEs. In addition, the program created more jobs for local workers (i.e. those residing in San Diego County). The number of concessions employees at the airport nearly doubled, increasing from about 625 to approximately 1,200 in 2014.


One of the goals of the new program was to create a sense of place that was uniquely “San Diego” by incorporating more local San Diego flavor. So we sought out local concepts that pay homage to the kinds of things that make San Diego special. As a result, travelers are now able to enjoy a number of local restaurants and shops, including Phil’s BBQ, Saffron, Warwick’s of La Jolla, Jack in the Box, Jer’s Chocolates, Pacifica, Tommy V’s, Banker’s Hill, Emerald, and Pannikin.


Other concepts pay homage to San Diego’s golf culture (PGA Tour Shop, PGA Tour Grill), craft beer scene (Craft Brews on 30th Street, Stone Brewing Co.) and Mexican influence (Qdoba).

Local Concession

Airport Arts Program Reaches New Heights in 2015

San Diego International Airport’s Arts Program realized two major accomplishments in 2015: The opening of three major permanent art pieces in the new Rental Car Center (RCC) and the successful opening of the airport’s largest-ever temporary exhibition.


The RCC’s three large-scale permanent art pieces focused attention on the cutting-edge facility, which houses 14 rental car brands and measures more than 2 million square feet in total area.


“Swarm” by Atlanta-based artist Amy Landesberg is made up of 801 Hyundai Elantra tail lights. The piece evokes the image of a busy cloud of insects crisscrossing an expansive vertical space, drawing a parallel between the industrious insect world and the Rental Car Center as a busy hub of activity where multiple modes of transportation and travelers converge.


“Hive,” also by Landesberg, is comprised of 2,200 side view mirrors used on the Ford F-150 truck. These suspended forms evoke the architecture of a productive bee colony. The reflective surfaces send scattered light across the wall below.


Swarm and Hive adorn walls in the two main entrance areas.


“MetroGnomes,” by Christian Moeller, a Los Angeles-based artist, features two 54-foot sculptures situated in one of seven bioswales at the RCC site. Relying on an internal pivot mechanism developed by the oldest clock maker in Europe, the two kinetic sculptural forms take inspiration from a number of sources, including aircraft marshals, musical metronomes, garden gnomes and the site’s proximity to San Diego Bay. It is intended to have viewers to draw their own conclusions about its meaning.


A fourth major piece of public art, titled “Dazzle,” will be on the exterior northeast façade facing Pacific Highway. It’s scheduled for completion in late 2016.


Meanwhile, last spring SAN unveiled Balboa Park & the City: Celebrating San Diego’s Panama-California Exposition; the largest and most ambitious year-long exhibition offered by the airport’s Arts Program.


Intended to support and enhance the City of San Diego’s Balboa Park Centennial celebration, the airport-wide exhibition included original artwork and historic images, collectibles, and artifacts that brought the 1915 Panama-California Exposition to life.


The exhibition, which closed in December 2015, included historic items, replicas and images from seven local institutions and collectors, including: City of San Diego, Parks & Recreation Department; San Diego History Center; the Committee of 100; David Marshall, American Institute of Architects; and Sandor W. Shapery, Shapery Enterprises.


The exhibition’s images included historic photographs and postcards presented in large format documenting the unique history, landscape and architecture of the park.


The Arts Program solicited local artists for original artwork that is representative of or inspired by Balboa Park and the city of San Diego. Ten participants were selected to exhibit their work based on their aesthetic and creative representation of the Park and unique use of media.


Exhibition highlights included:


  • A replica of the famous wicker “Electriquette,” which transported fairgoers at the 1915 Exposition
  • Lighting designs by Jim Gibson, inspired by the ornate fixtures at the 1935 Exposition
  • Original works by Guillermo Acevedo, a celebrated illustrator and documentarian of San Diego’s landmarks and historic sites


For more information about the Airport Arts Program, visit www.san.org/Airport-Art.

Meanwhile, last spring SAN unveiled Balboa Park & the City: Celebrating San Diego’s Panama-California Exposition; the largest and most ambitious year-long exhibition offered by the airport’s Arts Program.

Ensuring ADA Compliance

At San Diego International Airport, we are committed to ensuring that all passengers, regardless of ability, have a seamless experience.


We work hard to ensure all of our facilities are up to date with the latest requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). We hold regular meetings with our airport business partners, such as airlines, concessionaires and contractors, to ensure they are familiar with ADA standards. We also discuss with them new and innovative ways of making the passenger experience as convenient and efficient as possible.


Additionally, we offer personal assistance to veterans with disabilities who might need help passing through the security screening process or accessing airport services.

Easing Air Travel for Passengers on the Autism Spectrum

Navigating an airport can be challenging for anyone, even on the best of days. Think about it: You have to park, check in, pass through a security screening and then find your way to your gate. Now imagine how much more difficult this would be for someone on the autism spectrum, who might be sensitive to crowded places, loud noises, bright lights and lots of hustle and bustle.


San Diego International Airport makes it easier for these travelers and their families through its Blue Horizons for Autism program.


SAN partners with the Autism Tree Project Foundation (ATPF), TSA and JetBlue on Blue Horizons, which invites families with children on the autism spectrum to have a “dry run” experience at the airport. The family comes to the airport on a date prior to their departure date and interacts with airline staff at the ticket counter, undergoes a TSA screening, walks through the terminal and eventually boards an empty aircraft.


To further help prepare families for the sights and sounds of an airport environment, a social map was created by two talented boys from ATPF, Joel Anderson and Vincent Ghio. The pair created 10 Steps to Happy Flying, a video describing the program and offering encouragement through the process.