Crowds at Terminal 2
Passengers crowd baggage claim at Terminal 2. Photo courtesy San Diego International Airport.

As San Diegans prepare for a busy holiday travel season, San Diego County Regional Airport Authority leaders Monday announced a post-pandemic milestone.

In October, around 6,000 more people traveled through the San Diego International Airport’s TSA checkpoints compared to the same month in 2019. SAN is seeing a 3% increase in passenger volume this year compared to last year.

“The San Diego County Regional Airport Authority estimates as many as 84,000 passengers will arrive and depart each day during the busy Thanksgiving holiday travel week,” according to a statement released Monday. “The Tuesday and Wednesday prior to Thanksgiving Day and the Sunday and Monday following are historically the busiest travel days of the Thanksgiving holiday week.”

With the increased number of travelers and the new Terminal 1 construction in full swing, the airport authority on Monday encouraged passengers and those picking up and dropping off to plan ahead.

Passengers can expect congestion in front of the existing Terminal 1 and on the roadways approaching the airport. Also, with construction underway on the New T1 Parking Plaza, on-airport parking is extremely limited. Parking is currently available at the Terminal 2 Parking Plaza.

To help avoid holiday travel woes, the airport authority offered some tips:

  • Arrive at least two hours early to avoid the busiest times. Busiest times curbside are 4 a.m. to 6:15 a.m., 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and 8 p.m. to 12 a.m.;
  • Make parking reservations at;
  • Take the free San Diego Flyer shuttle service between the Old Town Transit Station and SAN. The electric shuttle buses operate seven days a week, with an average arrival time of every 20 to 30 minutes. The first pick up is at 4:45 a.m. and the last pick up/drop off at 12:30 a.m.; and
  • Have family or friends drop you off or use rideshare services.

–City News Service