Review: SAN Admirals Club

San Diego weather is almost always great. Granted, I’m a visitor and probably don’t see the worst of it; every time I’m there, it’s sunny and comfortably warm. On a recent group outing to beautiful San Diego, though, an Arctic blast had apparently swept through the airport. Honest, I think there were icicles hanging from the AC vents!

Having not flown out of SAN in a very long time, we didn’t know what to expect and decided to arrive early so we’d have plenty of time. As it turned out, we sailed through security and found ourselves with about 90 minutes until flight time; a great opportunity to get some work done. (Something we hadn’t managed to do in San Diego, due mostly to the proximity to the beaches! Oh, what a curse!) It didn’t take long to realize the airport was cold. Really cold. When the first delay was posted (and it was still an hour before our flight), it was time to seek warmer climes.

Not long before this trip, I had gotten a complimentary pass to American Airlines’ Admirals Club from the web site Klout, which I had intended to use on a stop at LAX. Desperate times, however, call for desperate measures and into the Admirals Club we went. The nice, warm Admirals Club, where we waited out what turned into an hour long delay (on top of our extra-early arrival) in toasty comfort.

Small but Comfy - the San Diego Admirals Club

Small but Comfy – the San Diego Admirals Club

We were greeted by a very welcoming, helpful and attentive staff who gave us a quick tour of the facilities. Given that this is also the lounge for British Airways and Japan’s JAL, it seems a little small. Being a long, narrow space, that size probably seems smaller than it actually is, as it was not crowded during our visit. Behind the desk are a snack/coffee station, a few sitting areas – one with TVs, the others more quiet – very clean restrooms, and a bar with great tarmac views in the back. There are also conference rooms, a business desk, and a luggage closet up front where the staff can keep an eye on it. The seats are very comfortable with convenient tables and tons of outlets, which go well with the free Wi-Fi.

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Unfortunately, the days of swank bars and tempting buffets are long gone at most airport lounges. Instead, we helped ourselves to cookies, juice and coffee. The bar was open but we only visited for the salty snacks. We’re told the usual assortment of well drinks and beers are available, with local brews and premium cocktails available for purchase. We were apparently too early for sandwiches, which we heard are normally served later in the day.

View from the Admirals Club: A JAL 787 taxis to the gate.

View from the Admirals Club: A JAL 787 taxis to the gate.

Still, a comfortable seat in quiet surroundings is appreciated. Add in snacks, coffee and fast, free Wi-Fi, and I’m a happy low-maintenance camper. Is that worth the price of a club membership or a $50/person day pass? I usually can’t justify it, but then I’ve never been in an airport so uncomfortably cold. This day, it was totally worth it for a couple hours of comfort and a genuinely helpful staff.

Tell Us
Have you spent time in San Diego’s Admirals Club or other airport lounges? How was your experience, and how do you feel about the value of airline clubs? Let us know in the comments.

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