Review: Airspace Lounge San Diego Airport

Filed Under: American
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After visiting the Delta SkyClub San Diego Airport for the first time, I decided to quickly swing by the Airspace Lounge, which is my go-to lounge at the airport. However, I’ve never reviewed it before, so figured I’d get some pictures.

While I haven’t reviewed this lounge before, Tiffany did write about it earlier this year in a post titled “Is This The Most Generous Lounge Access Policy Ever?”

What makes the Airspace Lounge so unique is that it’s also operated partly as an American Airlines Admirals Club, so there are many ways to access the lounge, particularly with a credit card with lounge access.

The lounge can be accessed the same way as any Admirals Club, meaning:

  • Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® cardholders have an Admirals Club membership, so you can access the lounge regardless of which airline you’re flying; you can also bring in either two guests, or immediate family members (spouse, domestic partner and/or children under 18 years of age).

However, the Airspace Lounge also has a partnership with American Express, whereby Platinum and Centurion cardholders can access the lounge as well.

  • This means that whether you have The Platinum Card® from American Express or The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, you can access the Airspace Lounge regardless of which airline you’re flying
  • Authorized users of the above cards can leverage this benefit as well, which is a nice perk.
  • As opposed to the Priority Pass Select benefit, you don’t have to activate anything prior to using the Airspace lounge — it’s not a separate membership, so you can just present your card at the entrance for access.

Through this agreement, you can bring in up to two guests or your spouse and children.

In my case I accessed the lounge thanks to The Platinum Card® from American Express. Why? Because when you enter through any means other than an Admirals Club membership/access perk, you get a $10 gift card for each member of your party, which can be redeemed in the lounge. These don’t expire, so you can save them for future visits if you want.

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Airspace Lounge San Diego Airport $10 gift card

Anyway, on to the actual lounge review, now that the complicated access policy has been explained.

The Airspace Lounge is located in Terminal 2 at San Diego Airport, between Terminal 2 East and the bridge to Terminal 2 West.

Airspace Lounge San Diego Airport location

Coming from the SkyClub and main security checkpoint, it’s located just past gate 33.

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San Diego Airport terminal

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San Diego Airport terminal

The entrance is to the left, right next to a monitor with all the information about ways to access the lounge.

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Airspace Lounge San Diego Airport exterior

There’s a poster indicating that this is also the lounge that British Airways and Japan Airlines use for their premium passengers.

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Airspace Lounge San Diego Airport entrance

The sign also indicates that access to the lounge can be purchased for $25, which includes a $10 gift card. That’s not a half bad price as far as buying lounge access goes.

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Airspace Lounge San Diego Airport signage

Anyway, at the entrance there are both Admirals Club and Airspace Lounge associates. An Admirals Club agent is typically sitting at the desk closest to the door, while the Airspace agent sits behind them.

If you’re entering as if it were an Admirals Club, you’d see the American agent. Meanwhile if you’re entering it any other way, you’d see the Airspace agent.

So even when flying American I see the Airspace agent, since I access the lounge using The Platinum Card® from American Express, in order to get the $10 gift card.

For what it’s worth, I find the Airspace agents to consistently be extremely friendly (they’re almost all Japanese, for what it’s worth, I think partly because of the JAL flight), while I’ve consistently found the Admirals Club agents to be downright bitchy and unhelpful.

The lounge itself is quite nice, with tarmac views on two sides. The centerpiece of the lounge is the bar area, which features about a dozen seats.

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Airspace Lounge San Diego Airport bar

Then around the bar are booths and a couple of high-top communal tables, which is usually where I sit.

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Airspace Lounge San Diego Airport seating

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Airspace Lounge San Diego Airport seating

The rest of the lounge has more traditional lounge seating, with a variety of seats facing one another.

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Airspace Lounge San Diego Airport seating

Back in the front corner of the lounge is a TV area.

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Airspace Lounge San Diego Airport seating

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Airspace Lounge San Diego Airport seating

There are a variety of newspapers and magazines available. Since this lounge is used by both British Airways and Japan Airlines, you can expect a good number of trashy tabloids and also Japanese newspapers.

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Airspace Lounge San Diego Airport newspaper

The tarmac views from the lounge are pretty cool, even if the gate closest to the lounge belongs to Spirit (I sort of dig their livery). 😉

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Airspace Lounge San Diego Airport view

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Airspace Lounge San Diego Airport view

The self service food spread is just past the entrance, and is very basic. There’s Peet’s coffee & tea, as well as an espresso machine (which isn’t very good, unfortunately).

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Airspace Lounge San Diego Airport buffet

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Airspace Lounge San Diego Airport buffet

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Airspace Lounge San Diego Airport buffet

Then there’s some whole fruit as well as a variety of cookies.

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Airspace Lounge San Diego Airport buffet

And then as you’d expect from an Admirals Club, there were the Snack Towers Of Sadness (a term coined by Tiffany).

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Airspace Lounge San Diego Airport buffet

Self serve soft drinks are available out of a fountain.

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Airspace Lounge San Diego Airport soda

As I explained earlier, most people entering this lounge receive a $10 gift card, which can be used towards food and drinks.

Here’s the Airspace Lounge menu:

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I ordered The Airspace Continental, which was pretty not-great. The cheese wasn’t especially tasty, though the bread was fine and the plain yogurt was… plain.

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Airspace Lounge San Diego Airport food — “The Airspace Continental”

The lounge also has decent restrooms, though doesn’t have showers, as far as I know.

Airspace Lounge San Diego Airport bottom line

This is usually my “go to” lounge in San Diego, though that’s largely a function of me usually flying American out of San Diego. This is the lounge closest to their gates, and also the lounge they use.

The hybrid Airspace Lounge/Admirals Club setup is an interesting one, and I think it works pretty well in this case. The $10 gift cards they give you whenever you enter is a nice touch, especially since you can keep them for future visits.

For that matter, I think the $25 per visit price tag they charge for a day pass is much more reasonable than what some other airlines charge.

All that being said, I was especially impressed by the SkyClub San Diego Airport, so if flying Delta would definitely use it again.

Have you been to an Airspace Lounge? What do you make of the concept?

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  1. “I’ve consistently found the Admirals Club agents to be downright bitchy and unhelpful.” Huh? Not sure what AAngels you’ve been interacting with, but my experience is the exact opposite. The only negative experiences I’ve had with the AA staff in this lounge (or the old AC, for that matter) revolved entirely around the AA/US merger and were systems issues–not theirs. I agree that the SAN Airspace/AA lounge is not as good as the SkyClub (my personal preference), but the AAgents are great if treated with respect and a smile, at least in my (substantial, as a multi-year EXP based in SAN) experience.

  2. Delta is becoming my go to carrier and while I live in the Seattle area Alaska can be good but I find Delta to be cheaper. I can see the Skylounge being better than AA. Good report Ben

  3. Ben, 1. I think I sat beside you asa kid of about 8ish, back in ’08 or so… possibly 09.
    Economy on Delta.
    Now, yeah you don’t fly Economy or Delta (for reviews) but I’m pretty sure it was you — it looked like what you look like.
    2. So, how about Priority Pass? My Dad has access with his credit card, so, can I go in too? If I remember there is a 1 guest only so looks like we can’t go in togehter. Would they leave a 13 year old outside the lounge, in a dangerous airport, because there is a 1 guest only policy?

  4. Having been to the one in JFK and 2/3 times being dealt with the surliest, most incompetent staff possible (“Excuse me, can I get a cappuccino? No.”) not to mention the saddest/rudest people in the entire terminal, I’d avoid these like the plague, especially at a nice airport.

  5. We were in the airspace lounge first part of aug. waiting for JL65 flight, I would say its nice for beginning a day of travel, maybe not as nice if it were for transiting after a long flight and on to another.

    snack was nice, ( cookies and sliced meat plate)

    probably not many transit passengers in the SAN airport.

  6. Living in Cleveland, we don’t have many lounges (the United lounge is pretty sparse). On Saturday we visited the airspace lounge and were pleasantly surprised. All compliments of my new platinum card! We were each given $7, but the prices were less expensive than on your pictured menu. It is quite small, but we were the only ones there on a Saturday afternoon. We will definitely be using it again.

  7. Living in San Diego and with AMEX Plat, my spouse and I ($20 credit for both of us) stop by the lounge to get some food to eat on the plane. We typically get the Antipasto Platter or Charcuterie Plate. We also tried the one in BWI which was similar.

  8. +1 on the surly desk clerks at admirals clubs. True at LAX, as well. I always feel like I’ve offended them by standing In front of them.

  9. The best lounge at SAN IMHO and my favorite Admirals Club among smaller markets. I like the AA agents there as I’ve known them for years, though the Airspace people are even better.

    The bar seats are among my favorite places to sit in any airport. Very well designed. Most lounge bars are stuck in a corner….this bar has sweeping airfield views. Big plus for me on. Thurs/Fri afternoon. Good beer and wine list too.

    One thing to add to the review. With the Amex card you get free, unlimited low-level alcohol plus the $10 for food or premium drink. I second the recommendation of the antipasto platter.

    The downsides to me are that it gets crowded during the Japan Airlines period and the shower isn’t as nice as the JFK Airspace.

    As much as it would be nice for AA to build more ACs in small markets, I realize that they will be focusing on the big markets and fixing the current U.S. Airways leftover lounges.

    So AA should partner with Airspace and let them build them in more smaller markets that don’t currently have lounges to grow the network.

  10. Yes they do have one standard shower room with amenity kit and towels. I found the soups to be good with other choices just average. Last visit was late July.

  11. Chris Spence, you beat me to it on the showers.

    They still provide with a very basic amenity kit and towels however, there is only one bathroom for shower.

  12. I have been to many clubs from LAX to Heathrow- never been to the middle east, but for some reason (maybe because I love the ease of SAN) – this is one of my favorite places to visit. The staff could not be nicer. There is one bartender that really takes pride in his work and position (he has a quieter brother that is also kind but more passive who also works the room). I can’t wait to get back there. AMEX Plat access is better with the $20 food credit than the AA Exec Card/ Admirals Club use. This is actually one of my favorite spaces.

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