If you’re looking for a relaxing and comfortable place to wait for your flight, San Diego International Airport’s lounges are a great option. With several lounges scattered throughout the airport, there’s sure to be one that fits your needs. In this guide, we’ll provide an overview of the different lounge options available at San Diego Airport, as well as tips on how to make the most of your time in them.
What is an airport lounge?
An airport lounge is a private space within an airport terminal that offers travelers a place to relax, work, or sleep during their layover or wait for their flight. Airport lounges typically have comfortable seating, plenty of outlets for charging devices, and sometimes even showers and bedrooms. Some lounges also offer complimentary food and drinks, though this varies by lounge and airport.
Types of lounges – airline vs non-airline lounges:
There are two main types of airport lounges: those that are part of an airline’s loyalty program and those that are available for purchase by any traveler. If you’re a member of an airline’s loyalty program, you may have access to that airline’s lounge at no additional cost. For example, if you’re a member of United’s MileagePlus program, you can access any United Club lounge at no charge. Alternatively, if you’re not a loyalty program member or your preferred airline doesn’t have a lounge at the airport, you can purchase a one-time pass to an independent lounge.
Independent lounges typically cost between $30 and $60 per day, though this price can vary depending on the lounge and the airport. If you plan on traveling often, it may be worth considering a lounge membership program like Priority Pass, which gives members access to over 1,200 airport lounges worldwide for an annual fee of $99.
About San Diego Airport and Map:
San Diego International Airport is located just minutes from downtown San Diego and is the busiest single-runway airport in the United States. The airport serves over 20 million passengers annually and offers non-stop service to more than 60 domestic and international destinations.
There are two main terminals at San Diego Airport: Terminal 1 (West) and Terminal 2 (East). Terminal 1 houses all domestic and some international flights, while Terminal 2 is home to all other international flights. A free shuttle bus runs between the two terminals every 15 minutes.
On a map, San Diego Airport is located at 32.733556, -117.189667.
San Diego Airport lounges in Terminal 1:
There are no lounges located in Terminal 1. As shown in the map of San Diego airport’s terminals above, the closest lounge to Terminal 1 is the Airspace Lounge. If you want to use a lounge and you’re alighted on Terminal 1, use the free shuttle bus to cross to Terminal 2.
San Diego Airport lounges in Terminal 2:
SAN’s Terminal 2 is divided into Terminal 2 West(T2 West) and Terminal 2 East(T2 East). Airspace lounge is located in T2 East which lies close to Terminal 1 and two lounges – the Delta Sky Club and United Club are located at T2 West.
The Airspace Lounge, located in the space between Terminal 2 East and West at the San Diego Airport, is a common-use lounge for passengers of Alaska Airlines, American, British Airways, JAL, and Edelweiss. I read around to check reviews by passengers that have used this lounge and i wasn’t impressed. One of them noted ‘I have never felt comfortable in there– it’s always full and quite loud’. He went further to say ‘The seating set-up doesn’t help either; many seats face each other which makes for an awkward experience. And to top it all off , there is very little free food available.
If you’re entering from the T2 West security checkpoint, turn right immediately and stay on that side. Keep walking towards gate 33 until you reach the end of the gates, which signals the beginning of a corridor leading to Terminal 2 East. Once you’re halfway down this passageway, look for an entrance on your left-hand side – this will be to Airspace Lounge.
The airport image below shows the location of Airspace lounge on the map;
The Airspace lounge at San Diego airport is one of the most accessible of all the three lounges. All you need to have to get in is a business or first class ticket on American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, British Airways, Japan Airlines, or Edelweiss. If you don’t have a qualifying ticket though, you can always purchase a day pass for $35.
The American Express Platinum card is also another easy way into this lounge (as well as all other Airspace lounges). You and two guests can get in for free. It’s a great perk, even if the SAN Airspace lounge isn’t that impressive.
When I tried accessing Airspace lounge website in October 2022, it returns an error but you can check if the site is back up now using this link.
The United Club is a small but fashionable lounge located on the mezzanine level in Terminal 2 west. Although it’s not large, it’s popular among travelers and usually fills up quickly. There is a full bar with acquainted food options, plus excellent views of the airport below.
- Amenity Kit
- Assistance with delays
- Beverages (alcoholic – $)
- Beverages (non-alcoholic)
- Conference Rooms
- Power outlets at every seat
- Printers and Scanners
How to get to United Club Lounge:
The United Club lounge is located on the second level above the food court, so you will need to take either the elevator or escalator to reach it. It’s a small lounge, so it can be easy to miss. Look for the signs that say “United Club.”
If you’re coming from the main entrance of T2 West, head towards your left and take the escalator up to the mezzanine level. When you get to the top of the escalator, turn right and walk towards the end of the hallway. The United Club will be on your left, just before the food court.
As seen in the image below, the United Club is located next to Burgers & Beer between Gate 23 and 33 but not far from Gate 48;
To enter the United Club, you must have a same-day boarding pass for a United-operated or -marketed flight. You can also access the lounge if you have an eligible United MileagePlus credit card, such as the United Explorer Card. If you don’t have a boarding pass or qualifying credit card, you can purchase a one-time pass for $59.
Delta Sky Club:
The Delta Sky Club is located in Terminal 2, Airside, Mezzanine Level, between Gates 47 and 48. It’s a fairly small lounge- similar to United’s above but it’s very popular so it can get crowded quickly. The lounge has several seating areas, a full bar, and an impressive food spread.
Below is an image of this lounge with around 700 sq ft.;
- Beverages (alcoholic)
- Beverages (non-alcoholic)
- Fax, Photocopiers & hot spot printing
- Newspapers and Magazines
- Personalized Travel Assistance
How to access delta Sky club:
You can enter the Delta Sky Club if you have a first or business-class ticket with Delta, or any other Sky Team partner airline. Another way to get in is by being a member of the Sky Team Elite Plus. I don’t hold either of these statuses, but I do use my American Express Platinum Card which allows me access.
The USO Lounge is located in Terminal 2, on the Mezzanine Level, near Gate 47. It’s open to all active duty military personnel, reservists, National Guard members, and their families.
- -Beverages (non-alcoholic)
- -Conference Rooms
- -Internet Access
- -Power outlets at every seat
How to get in:
To be eligible, you need to be an active military member. Read more about the eligibility of the USO lounge pass here.
San Diego Airport Priority Pass:
If you hold a Priority Pass membership, you can take advantage of the following lounges, spas and eating spots at San Diego Airport;
- Aspire Lounge
- PGA Tour Grill
- Be Relax Spa
The lounge is located in Terminal 2 of San Diego Airport, after East Security Checkpoint. To get there from the checkpoint, take an immediate left and walk towards Gate 33. The lounge will be between Gates 33 and 23.
This airport is open daily from 5 am to 10 pm and below are the amenities in this lounge;
- Disabled Access
- No Smoking
- Air Conditioning
- Flight Information
- Digital Card Accepted
If you have Priority Pass card, all you need to do is show your card to the reception and they will give you access to the lounge. If you don’t have a Priority Pass card, you can purchase a day pass. It’s also important to note that some credit cards offer complimentary or discounted Priority Pass memberships. The American Express Platinum Card offers complimentary membership for the cardholder and up to two guests.
Be Relax Spa Priority Pass
Another lounge that your Priority Pass will get you in is the Be Relax spa which is also located in Terminal 2, Airside, near Gate 23. The spa has massage chairs, neck and shoulder massagers, and foot baths. It’s a great place to relax before your flight or if you have a long layover.To access the Be Relax Spa, simply show your Priority Pass card to the receptionist and they will give you a pass to use the facilities.
The reviews of this Be Relax spa obtained using priority passes are very positive. Read the reviews on Tripadvisor here to learn why it has received an average of 5/5 from over 150 customers.
Eat at PGA Tour Grill using the Priority Pass
Another lounge that you can access with your Priority Pass membership is the PGA Tour Grill. PGA Tour is located in Terminal 2, Airside, near Gate 48. The PGA Tour Grill is a full-service restaurant with a bar. You can find American comfort food here such as burgers, fries, and chicken wings.
PGA Tour Grill lounge customers with a Priority Pass Card can use their visit entitlement to receive US$28 off their bill. The discount applies to each individual visit within the customer’s allocated number of visits.
San Diego airport lounges Amex:
There are two key lounges that your Amex card will get you into and they are the Aspire Lounge and the Airspace Lounge. You can also access the Be Relax Spa and get a $35 back massage for free. It is important to note that Priority Pass has partnered with Delta and United to offer its members access to their lounges.
Some of the Amex cards that can give you free entry into these lounges are:
- The Business Platinum Card from American Express
- The Platinum Card from American Express
- Centurion Card from American Express
Priority Pass App:
If you have a smartphone, you can download the Priority Pass app which will give you access to over 1,400 airport lounges worldwide. The app will also allow you to find the lounges that are available at your specific airport.
What is the best airport lounge in San Diego?
I believe that the best lounge in the San Diego airport is the United Club. Even though it is painfully small compared to Airspace and Delta Sky Club with not many food options, it has varied seating choices which set it apart from other lounges like Delta Sky Club and Airspace Lounge. There are also small nooks and crannies to hide away in if you’re looking for some peace and quiet.
I should, however, warn you that United Club members can be so many and may almost overrun the airport. If you are at this airport during peak hours, be cognizant of this. You may have more spaces at Airspace or at Aspire lounges if the United Club lounge is fully occupied.
And the worst airport lounge at San Diego Airport?
I think the Airspace lounge is the worst one. It gets full easily because it’s mixed-use, and there aren’t many food options unless you’re willing to pay for a meal.
This Airspace lounge is never stocked with anything other than bruised fruit, snacks, and cheese wedges on the snack bar. If you’re looking for more substantial fare, look elsewhere- this isn’t the San Diego airport lounge for you.
Is San Diego a nice airport to hang out in?
Yes, San Diego is a great airport to relax in before your flight. There are plenty of amenities such as lounges, restaurants, and shops to keep you busy. If you have a long layover, you can also explore the City.
Q: Can I use my Priority Pass card to get into any lounge?
A: No, you can only use your Priority Pass card to get into the Aspire Lounge and the Airspace Lounge.
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Name: Alex Mutuma
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