Getting to and from the San Diego Airport using Uber is two completely different experiences. Getting to the airport is the easy part. It’s the process of hailing an Uber which can have you cussing like a constipated drill sergeant.
- Drop offs: There is no designated drop off area for Uber when arriving at the airport. Simply tell the driver which airline or terminal you’re departing from (or include that information when booking a ride), and they will drop you off right at the main entrance closest to your airline.
- Pick ups: Both Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 have designated ride share pick up locations. The process for getting an Uber is quite different for both, so pay close attention to the following overview!
How Uber works at San Diego International Airport
Due to ongoing construction of the all new Terminal 1 rebuild, getting an Uber in Terminal 2 will be easier. It may not be any less stressful, but at least you won’t have to venture down any sketchy (and dark) walkways.
Proceed to the rideshare pick up location located on the ground level directly across from the terminal. If you’re not quite seeing it, just look for the taxi stand (and all the cab drivers standing around looking desperate for a fare). It’s adjacent to that.
Once you’ve arrived at the Uber pickup location, use the app to initiate a ride just as you normally would. Have patience! It’ll probably take a few minutes to secure a ride at peak times.
When a driver has been assigned to you, take note of the instructions on the screen. The app will tell you which column to stand next to as you wait for him or her to arrive. Trust me – the assigned column thing reduces a lot of the frustration (for both the driver and you) when things are really busy.
At the time of this writing (late 2023), the Uber situation for Terminal 1 at SAN is a mess. There’s an all new T1 being built, and the entire area outside of the existing Terminal 1 is a giant construction zone.
Making things even more complicated is the fact that what I’m about to show you is likely to change within a few months. Therefore, I’ll show you some pics of what the situation is like now, and then update again when things inevitably change…
San Diego Airport Uber FAQs
Hopefully everything that I’ve shown and described above gives you a pretty good sense of how to use Uber at the San Diego Airport. However, in order to make sure I’m covering all the bases, I thought it might be a good idea to list out a few FAQs as well:
How long of a walk is it from the Terminal (1 or 2) to the designated rideshare pick up area?
Less than 2 minutes (walking at an average pace) from the baggage claim exit of Terminal 2, and about 5 minutes from Terminal 1. Double that if you’ve got multiple angry toddlers (and large suitcases) in tow.
How much does an UberX typically cost from the airport to downtown?
It varies slightly depending on the time of day (surge pricing is a thing), but you can typically expect to pay $10-$15 for a ride into downtown.
How much does it cost for a ride to La Jolla / University City?
In my experience, it usually costs anywhere from $35-$50. Note that I used to pay upwards of $40 one-way for a taxi ride going the same distance. Uber isn’t any cheaper!
Will drivers be upset with you for taking a short ride just off airport property?
In my experience, yes. They will be. Since it can sometimes be a very long wait for drivers to reach the designated pick up area, it should be totally understandable that they would be miffed to get paired up with a rider who only needs to go a couple miles.
For what it’s worth, I’d recommend taking a taxi if you don’t need to go far. This will prevent an angry driver from giving you a bad rating.
What about other services such as Uber Black or Uber Pool? What is the process / procedure for using other Uber services from San Diego Airport?
At the time of this writing, all Uber ride types operate just the same as I described above.