As far as airports go, San Diego International Airport has never been much to write home about. Sandwiched between Bankers Hill and the water, it has no room to expand its one runway and two terminals. Until recently, the “international” bit referred only to a few daily flights to Mexico.
As such, you don’t come to SAN expecting much, other than the natural beauty of the San Diego harbor and skyline once you walk outside. The Admirals Lounge in Terminal 2 was itself pretty much a joke, little more than a closet with coffee and restrooms.
A few years ago, the Admirals Club was taken over by Airspace Lounge, an airport lounge chain with a handful of locations around the country, and operated on American’s behalf. The lounge is open to anyone who would otherwise have Admirals Club access flying American Airlines, British AIrways or Japan Airlines, or anyone else for a $25 fee. Those who pay for entry receive a $25 credit toward food and drink orders, effectively bringing down the price to $15.
All in all, they did a good job renovating the space for the new lounge setup. What used to feel like a long dark hallway is now a bright open space with views of the runway and gates.
There is a bar, offering standard drinks at above-standard prices, and they have light food options to order as well. They are also stocked with some free snacking options, which on my visit included crudités, cheese and crackers, cookies and fruit, plus complimentary soft drinks and coffee.
I have never seen the lounge more than 1/3 full, and the staff does a very good job keeping things clean as passengers come and go. I got access to the lounge with my Citi Prestige card, which offers Admirals Club access when flying American same day (until July 2017, that is).
So long as your expectations are limited, this is a great place to relax and get work done before a flight. It’s no Etihad First Class Lounge, but it’s more comfortable than many Admirals Clubs I’ve been in, including at DFW.