San Diego International Airport

SAN: 5 Things We Love About San Diego International Airport

SAN: Five Things WE Love about San Diego International Airport

Our “5 Things We Love About…” series celebrates features and amenities at airports around the country and the world.

Today we land at San Diego International Airport (SAN), North America’s second-ever carbon neutral airport.

We know that due to health concerns, some amenities we love may not currently be available. We’re confident they’ll be back.

5 Things We Love About San Diego International Airport (SAN)

1. The art at San Diego International Airport

San Diego International Airport has a robust art program with great permanent public art pieces and temporary exhibitions.

Above are some snaps of The Journey by Jim Campbell. The light ribbon is both the Airport Authority’s largest commission and largest scale artwork and is made up of 38,000 suspended LED pendants spanning six feet wide by 700 feet long. Located in Terminal 2, the artwork has images of people swimming, dancing and walking, and birds in flight, fluttering throughout the sculpture.

2. SAN is home to the California Least Tern

The San Diego International Airport is home to the California Least Tern (Sterna antillarum browni, “CLT”), a federally listed endangered seabird species. The airport provides the tern with a nesting habitat and easy access to foraging opportunities in nearby San Diego Bay.

3. SAN has its own beer

San Diego International Airport (SAN) partnered with local brewery Ballast Point and industrial water purification company, Water Works, Inc., to brew a beer – called SAN Test Pilot.

The water for SAN Test Pilot comes from condensate that drips from the bottom of air conditioning units attached to jet bridges. The Airport’s Environmental Affairs team began collecting the dripping condensate in 2014 and currently captures about 100,000 gallons per year from 18 of the most heavily used jet bridges at terminals 1 and 2.

In addition to making beer, the water is used to wash sidewalks, equipment, vehicles and building exteriors and in the cooling towers that control the temperature in the terminals.

4. SAN’s artist in residence program

In addition to a performing arts program, San Diego International Airport has a performing arts residency program that gives area groups space to develop new work and the opportunity to perform.

The program kicked off in 2016 with the Fern Street Circus and since then has hosted a wide variety of performance groups, including an aerial dance theater.

5. SAN’s Innovation Lab

SAN’s Airport Innovation Lab is a 16-week accelerator program that helps entrepreneurs, start-ups, and other businesses get a healthy foothold in the airport industry.

The program provides testing for the ideas and a one-year technology-intensive collaborative program. 

Past Innovation Lab start-ups you may recognize include Fuel Rod and At Your Gate.

 Did we miss your favorite amenity at San Diego International Airport (SAN)? If so, drop a note in the comments section below.

And please take a look at the other airports featured in the ‘5 Things We Love About..” series. Let us know which airports you’d like to see added.

Free recipes, a flower class & audio-visual art from DEN, DAL and SAN Airports

We may not be flying much, or at all, right now but airports are still doing their thing with music, art, and tasty food and drink.

We appreciate that. And we’re paying attention.

Denver International Airport (DEN) has launched the Taste of DEN series offering recipes from the chefs at popular restaurants at the airport.

In the first episode, Tom’s Urban Kitchen & Brewery Chef Robert Garton cookes up a Prime Rib Dip Sandwich. A video from DEN’s Root Down Kitchen is promised next.

To celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, Hortencia and Rachel from the art and programming team at Dallas Love Field (DAL) Airport were kind enough to put together a video showing us how to make traditional paper flowers.

And the San Diego International Airport (SAN) Arts Program has a new artist in residence for Fall 2020.

Throughout her Performing Arts Residency at SAN Margaret Noble is offering a series of downloadable audio-visual works as part of her [Sky][Muse] collection.

The first set is called ‘Compass’ and includes two ‘experiences:’

One has interactive visual music; the other a ‘silent graphical score.’

Signs of the times: cool social distance signs at airports

Signs and floor stickers reminding travelers to keep their distance in airport terminals are necessary right now.

We get that.

But at least some airports are giving their signs some local character.

In the sign above, you’ll see that Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) is using Chinook salmon as a measuring tool. The airport has also enlisted the help of a moose and a Bald Eagle

These are animals locals will listen to.



Harrisburg International Airport (MDT), which is nearby Hershey Park in Pennsylvania, uses Kisses chocolates as their measuring tool.

We’re curious about how they figured out that 72 Kisses chocolates equals six feet and hope whomever was asked to lay the candies out to figure this out got to eat them.

Springfield-Branson National Airport (SGF) has a long-running thing for plastic pink flamingos. So it makes sense that a flamingo pops up in the airport’s social distancing signs.

In Chicago, they use these cute floor stickers at O’Hare and Midway Airports to remind people to keep their distance.

And at San Diego International Airport (SAN) it makes sense that the measuring stick is a surfboard. Passengers are urged to stay at least one surfboard apart.

We’ll keep adding to this collection of creative airport social distance signs and stickers as new ones arrive.

If you see a one in your travels that you think fits, please snap a photo and send it along.

Airport news from San Diego and Anchorage, Alaska

Courtesy San Diego International Aiport

Monsters at San Diego International Airport

The newest group to land a five-month artist residency at San Diego International Airport (SAN) is Beck+Col.

The Los Angeles-based duo creates performances that explore alternate universes populated by colorful and playful monsters.

During their residency at SAN, lumpy, musical monsters will be visiting the airport and interacting and engaging with passengers with exaggerated gestures and operatic vocalizations.

It could be fun. Or scary.

San Diego International Airport has been hosting artists-in-residence since 2016. The first group to move in was a circus.

REAL ID at Anchorage International Airport

In what seems like a super-helpful, no brainer, Alaska’s Department of Motor Vehicles has created a way for citizens to get the new REAL ID driver’s license at the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (ANC).

This saves a time-consuming separate trip to the DMV offices.

Starting October 1, 2020, only REAL ID driver’s licenses will be accepted by the TSA at airport checkpoints. So here’s hoping airport DMV desks pop up at other airports too.

Giant puppets at San Diego Int’l Airport

 Halloween may be over, but at San Diego International Airport there’s more to go.

Today, November 1, the airport is marking Dia de los Muertos (the “Day of the Dead”) by inviting the San Diego Guild of Puppetry and their larger-than-life, 10-foot-tall puppets back for a giant puppet parade.

The parade takes place today from 11:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. in the pre-security baggage claim area of Terminal 2.

The San Diego Guild of Puppetry has been creating large-scale puppet parades in the community since 2004 and its Dia de los Muertos (“Day of the Dead”) figurines are the creations of Felix Diaz, his family, and his students.

Puppets in the Day of the Dead parade at SAN will include versions of skulls, skeletons and butterflies, which represent the spirits of the departed returning to join their families for the celebration.