Our Customer Strategy

Achieve the highest level of internal and external customer satisfaction.


SAN Starts Construction on Terminal 2 Parking Plaza

Parking at Terminal 2 over the past few years can best be described as "challenging." Well, travelers spoke and we listened.

Construction has begun on the highly anticipated Terminal 2 Parking Plaza. Nearly 100 elected officials, Airport Authority Board members, business and community leaders, and members of the construction team launched the project with a groundbreaking celebration on Sept. 14 in the parking lot outside Terminal 2.

The cutting-edge Parking Plaza will have three floors with approximately 3,000 parking stalls. It will replace the existing surface parking lot for Terminal 2.

"There is great demand for more close-in parking at the airport," said Thella F. Bowens, then-President/CEO of the Airport Authority. "Kicking off the Parking Plaza construction was an important milestone to help improve the short-term parking customer experience."

The Parking Plaza will enhance customer service by integrating state-of-the-art parking technology that will allow motorists to reserve spaces in advance, find available parking spaces, and streamline payment.

The Parking Plaza will also offer environmental benefits by reducing air emissions from vehicles that would otherwise be circulating and idling while searching for an available parking space. Additionally, it will have an aesthetically pleasing design with open light wells, glass-front elevators, and public art.

One particularly innovative feature is a below-ground rainwater storage system with a capacity of almost 100,000 gallons. The Parking Plaza is located next to the airport’s central utility plant, which currently uses almost 30,000 gallons per day of potable water in a non-potable process to manage the air temperature throughout the terminals. Once the Parking Plaza is completed, rainwater which falls on the 7.6-acre Parking Plaza will be captured and used to replace some of the potable water currently used at the central utility plant. Given that San Diego receives about 10 inches of rain per year, the Parking Plaza’s stormwater capture and reuse system will capture almost 2 million gallons of rainwater per year for use at the central utility plant.


The Airport Authority has begun an extensive community outreach program to keep the public informed on construction activities and to take feedback.

Look Ahead

Parking Plaza construction will take approximately 20 months to complete and is expected to open for summer travel in 2018.

Travelers can visit UpgradeYourParking.com for any and all parking needs while the Parking Plaza is being built.


Passengers with Disabilities Have a Variety of Access Options at SAN

San Diego International Airport (SAN) offers a variety of services for passengers with disabilities. These include TDD telephones, visual paging monitors, and courtesy carts operated by the Volunteer Airport Ambassadors.

Travelers with disabilities, medical conditions, and other special needs can receive additional assistance as needed during the security screening process. SAN even works with the San Diego Paws’itive Team to help service animals acclimate to an airport setting as part of their training program.


The Airport Authority is constantly striving to make sure that it addresses the full spectrum of disabilities in regards to access. In addition, the Authority closely monitors the numerous contractors working on airport construction projects to ensure that all Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards and best practices are met.

The Airport Authority also has a formal grievance process if there are issues with access to programs, services, or facilities. In 2016, the Airport received and resolved two accessibility grievances, which all dealt with airline operators.

Look Ahead

Looking ahead, the Airport Authority will again collaborate with JetBlue, TSA, and the Autism Tree Project Foundation on a “Blue Heights for Autism” event in 2017. The event provides an opportunity for autistic children and their families to practice traveling through the airport in advance of a future trip.


The Airport Authority will again collaborate with JetBlue, TSA, and the Autism Tree Project Foundation on a “Blue Heights for Autism” event in 2017. The event provides an opportunity for autistic children and their families to practice traveling through the airport in advance of a future trip.


A Commitment To Customer Satisfaction

San Diego International Airport (SAN) participates in the Airport Service Quality (ASQ) survey on a quarterly basis. The ASQ is the world's largest airport passenger satisfaction benchmark and has 283 participating airports globally.

SAN achieved an average passenger satisfaction rating of 4.20 (out of 5) throughout 2016. Of the passengers surveyed, 81 percent stated that they were “satisfied” with their experience at the airport. Key areas in which SAN scored high included:

  • Wait time and efficiency at check-in and security
  • Walking distance inside the terminal
  • Ease of wayfinding
  • Courtesy and helpfulness of staff

In addition, SAN ranked third-best in 2016 among 30 of the busiest airports in the country, according to a study by ThePointsGuy.com. The study looked at factors impacting a passenger's airport experience, including timeliness, accessibility, and amenities.

New amenities were also added in 2016 to enhance customer experience. The SAN Arts Program, which offers diverse and site-specific arts programming, officially launched a Performing Arts Residency Program. The yearlong residency supports the ongoing development and performance of new content for the enjoyment of patrons. Fern Street Circus was selected as the first performance group to participate in the program. Fern Street Circus is San Diego's original single-ring, social circus that uses acts to build community and teach performance and life skills to low-income youth.


The Terminal 2 Parking Plaza construction, which will be completed in summer 2018, resulted in a temporary loss of close-in parking spots. The Airport Authority launched UpgradeYourParking.com to keep the public informed during construction. In addition, the site allows travelers to find the best parking lot based on their airline; reserve a parking spot in valet, long-term, or economy parking lots; and receive a discount on drive-up valet parking rates when pre-paid online.

Look Ahead

Beginning in late 2016, SAN introduced a revamped, free Wi-Fi service, allowing passengers to connect to the network for up to two hours per session (an increase from 30 minutes previously) and to access bandwidth speeds up to 30 times faster. In the next couple of years, the Airport Authority will invest in additional Wi-Fi upgrades to allow wider coverage.


Ground Transportation and Parking

Airports might be all about planes, but they rely tremendously on wheeled vehicles to get people to, from and around the terminals.

Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) or ride-sharing companies continued to increase in popularity at San Diego International Airport (SAN) in 2016, logging over 900,000 pick-up trips.

SAN has worked closely with TNCs over the last year under a pilot permit to minimize their impact on airport operations and to ensure a "level playing field" for all commercial ground transportation providers.

In 2016, all Airport Authority-controlled shuttles used "clean" fuels and 34 percent of permitted, commercial ground transportation operators used alternative fuels (no data available for TNCs).

The Airport Authority also updated its Transit Plan in 2016 to identify new strategies to offer intermodal transportation options for passengers and employees traveling to and from the airport. Two related initiatives completed over the past year include new Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) ticketing machines in both terminals and a new "Trolley to Terminal" shuttle service connecting airport terminals and the Middletown Trolley Station (MTS Green Line). The new shuttle has experienced a month-over-month increase in ridership with over 2,100 passengers for the year.

The Airport Authority also began construction on the Terminal 2 Parking Plaza, which will provide almost 3,000 close-in parking spots for travelers. The new facility will include electric vehicle charging infrastructure and preferred parking for low-emission vehicles.


While the Trolley to Terminal service has helped link public transit options, riders still need to walk a short distance from the trolley station to the airport shuttle stop. As such, the Airport Authority is working closely with the City of San Diego, San Diego Association of Governments, and MTS to improve this pedestrian corridor.

Look Ahead

To successfully implement the Airport Transit Plan, SAN will work closely with multiple agencies and stakeholders to implement holistic transit solutions. This will include exploring recommendations such as initiating an MTS "Rapid" bus route and a transit shuttle from the Old Town Transit Center to the airport.

The Airport Authority will pursue Parksmart certification – a green parking program – for the new Parking Plaza. The facility will have numerous sustainable features, including an advanced parking guidance system, energy-saving lighting controls and fixtures, and a stormwater capture and reuse system. If successful, SAN would be one of the first airports in the U.S. to be certified under this program.


Security remains a team effort

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 & Public Safety 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. This is especially important, given that there are about 8,000 workers with security badges granting them various levels of access at SAN.


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.

Look Ahead

With more than 20 million travelers in 2016, the airport will continue to implement innovative measures and techniques to ensure the safety and security of passengers at SAN. Suspicious activity at the airport should be reported to San Diego Harbor Police at (619) 686-8000.