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Expanded Terminal 2 opens at San Diego International Airport

Expanded ticket lobby at the San Diego International Airport.
Source: San Diego International Airport
Expanded ticket lobby at the San Diego International Airport.

As it becomes fully operational this week, the expanded Terminal 2 at San Diego International Airport (SAN) will offer travelers a faster, smoother and far more amenity-rich trip from the curb to their flights.

Dubbed "The Green Build" in reference to a focus on the environment, the transformed Terminal 2 is opening on schedule and, at $907 million, $45 million under budget. Sustainable features include solar panels, reflective roofs and parking spaces with chargers for up to 40 electric vehicles.

New seats with USB ports, power outlets and cup holders at the San Diego International Airport.
Source: San Diego International Airport
New seats with USB ports, power outlets and cup holders at the San Diego International Airport.

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"We've added a lot of new features that business travelers, especially, will appreciate" said airport spokeswoman Katie Jones, "including separate arrival and departure roadways and 27 curbside self-service check-in kiosks under a canopy out front."

SAN does not yet participate in the TSA's PreCheck program offering expedited passage through security, but with a possible 12 lanes (up from six) at the checkpoint, "there will be shorter lines everywhere," she said.

Inside the terminal, travelers will find 10 new gates, $6 million worth of fresh art and at least 800 new seats equipped with cup holders, power outlets and USB ports. Club lounges for United and Delta Air Lines, each with a view of the airfield, are a floor above Sunset Cove, the greatly expanded concessions area. For those traveling with their pets, there's also an indoor pet-relief area with faux grass and a red hydrant by Gate 46.

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Dining options include Saffron, Bubbles Seafood & Wine Bar, Seaside Stack Shack, Stone Brewing Co., Phil's BBQ and the first Jack in the Box to open in an airport. New service and retail outlets include branches of the Be Relax Spa and Warwick's of La Jolla, a locally owned bookstore.

Unfortunately, the new Terminal 2 amenities and facilities will not be accessible to passengers flying on airlines that currently use the Commuter Terminal (Seaport Air, American Eagle, Delta Connection, SkyWest and United Express) or Terminal 1 (Alaska Airlines/Horizon Airlines and Southwest). "But those terminals will be getting some upgrades and new concessions as well," said Jones.

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—By Harriet Baskas, Special to CNBC. Find more from her on StuckatTheAirport.com and follow her on Twitter at @hbaskas.

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