I review the best airline club lounges available at San Diego Airport, California, SAN, which includes the Delta Sky Club, Airspace Lounge, USO Lounge, and the United Club At San Diego Airport.
San Diego International Airport, formerly known as Lindbergh Field, is an international airport 3 mi northwest of Downtown San Diego, California, United States. Many of the incoming passengers were visiting for a San Diego convention, so we have also outlined the best hotels near San Diego Convention Center for those passengers.
Interestingly, San Diego County may soon have a multi-level Grand Central Station and underground people mover that would whisk passengers between the airport and city center within just two to three minutes, offering a transit solution that has eluded the region for decades. The proposed cost is just $4 billion USD (or more).
With the volume of passengers expected to travel through the airport expected to grow to 40 million by 2050, the airport will definitely be building a new mass transport system. The only question is the shape that it will take.
In the meantime, San Diego Regional Airport Authority is moving forward with a $3 billion USD plan to redevelop the airport, focusing largely on an overhaul and expansion of the aging Terminal 1.
We have already investigated the best hotel club lounges in San Diego. Now we look at the airport lounges and make a similar comparison.
1. Delta Sky Club At San Diego Airport SAN
Delta Sky Club can be found in Terminal 2, Airside, next to Gate 37. This is the best airline lounge in San Diego airport. The Delta SkyClub is conveniently located just past the security checkpoint up an escalator near “Sunset Cove” dining area.
The lounge is decorated as a Delta’s SkyClub. You can access this lounge if you are flying in international Business Class or if you have a Platinum Card® from American Express, which comes with SkyClub access when flying Delta on the same day.
The seating area includes a number of lounge-style seats on a carpeted section, a bar area with high-top seating, a cafe area with dining table seating, and some booths.
In addition, there is an open-air but indoor terrace or balcony, which remains inside the airport building, which has high-top seating and rocking chairs that look down at the rest of the airport. There is also a small business center with a printer, some computer chairs, and bathrooms within the lounge.
Breakfast is very good here. Starbucks coffee and a Starbucks espresso machine with syrups. For breakfast food, there are fresh bagels and mini-muffins, greek yogurt (blueberry and strawberry), cereals, and oatmeal and hard-boiled eggs.
The bar serves all sorts of alcohol. You’ve got a few free options, and premium options are paid for. The Wi-Fi in the lounge is free and fast, and it is a pleasant place to sit and relax. While the decor and ambiance are only slightly better than the above the United Club At San Diego Airport SAN located in Terminal 1, the food is much better than any of the competitor lounges at San Diego airport. Domestic lounges do not get much better.
Customers that have The Platinum Card® from American Express or The Business Platinum® Card from American Express can access Delta Sky Clubs complimentary when traveling on a same-day Delta-operated flight, or Delta marketed WestJet operated flight booked through Delta (tickets starting with the number 006).
2. United Club At San Diego Airport SAN
The United Club At San Diego Airport SAN is located in Terminal 1, Airside on the Mezzanine Level and near the departure gates. United Club. To gain entry, you’ll need a United Club membership or eligible elite status. If the lounge isn’t too busy, you may be able to pay at the door if you’re flying United.
Travelers who are Star Alliance Gold members also gain entry to this lounge when traveling on Star Alliance flights. The interesting thing, though is that Business Class and First Class passengers traveling within the United States do not get lounge access at all. Instead, United sells annual and day passes to the lounges. You can, however, access this lounge if you have a United Club membership from your credit card.
What do you get? This United Club℠ includes the following complimentary amenities:
- Personalized travel assistance
- Beverages including select beer, wine, and spirits
- Breakfast and afternoon snacks
This lounge is really well designed and light and airy, with a super wall mural featuring the Boeing Stratocruiser. The ambiance is top drawer for a United Club, but the food and drink offering is very limited, and you need to pay for alcoholic drinks. Heritage photos of old airplanes are particularly nice and are scattered around the lounge.
There is also a bar, a flat-screen TV, and a semi-outdoor patio that overlooks the glass atrium and food court below.
Two separate seating areas are set around the bar, one with the mural and a long bench and dining or work tables and a magazine rack stuffed with a load of newspapers and magazines at the end.
Snacks can be found on the counter area and include cookies, apples, and bananas. Beverages iced water in plastic cups (not bottles), an espresso machine, and a good selection of teas by Numi. The bar counter sells alcoholic drinks and free soft drinks there. While there was an improvement in the lounge ambiance, the food and beverage are just basic at best.
As a United Club member, you can actually enjoy access to more than 45 United Club locations, Copa Club locations, and participating Star Alliance® affiliated airport clubs worldwide.
3. Airspace Lounge At San Diego Airport SAN
Airspace Lounge can be found in Terminal 2, Airside, between East Security and the new bridge to Terminal 2 West, near Gates 22 and 23. The Airspace Lounge is operated partly as an American Airlines Admirals Club.
This means that the lounge can be accessed the same way as any Admirals Club using Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® card, which has an Admirals Club membership, so you can access the lounge regardless of which airline you’re flying. If you have the Citi Prestige Card, you can access any Admirals Club within 12 hours of your American flight, including this lounge. In either situation, you can also bring in either two guests or immediate family members.
This is also the lounge that British Airways and Japan Airlines use for their premium passengers. Access to the lounge can be purchased for $25 USD, which includes a $10 USD gift card.
The lounge has pine floors and floor-to-ceiling windows with great views. A bar sits in the center and has lots of seating; sofas, cafeteria-style, and bar stool seating. There is also a decent bathroom in this lounge, but no showers.
There are a variety of newspapers and magazines, including British tabloids and Japanese newspapers, but the food is rather poor, with a coffee machine, fruit (oranges and apples), and cookies as the snacks. Drinks are by a fountain, so there are no cans or bottles here, just flat cola and water, etc.
Most people entering this lounge receive a $10 USD gift card, which can be used towards food and drinks, including alcoholic drinks. $10 USD doesn’t get you very far, but at least you can order food to the table, be it rather average. You can see some examples of what is on the menu here:
- Egg cheese and bacon breakfast roll for $6.50 USD
- Cheese board $8 USD
- Marinated vegetables $8 USD
- Antipasta Platter with roll $8 USD
- Charcuterie plate $8 USD
- A glass of wine ranges from $8 – $13 USD
- Most spirits are more than $10 USD
This lounge has a nice atmosphere but very limited food.
4. USO Lounge Terminal 2
The third lounge within Terminal 2 on the East Floor, Gate Parking Lot, is the USO Lounge. If you are an active member of the military, you and your family can access this lounge free of charge. This lounge is large, with plenty of snacks and free Wi-Fi.
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