A quick guide to the main airport in Costa Rica (Juan Santamaría International)

According to reputed travel publications, Costa Rica is an international destination on the rise for world adventurers, digital nomads and travelers looking for unconventional experiences such as staying in an eco-lodge instead of a resort to spend their vacation learning about environmental care, promoting sustainability and looking after nature in an unparalleled setting. The primary airport serving its capital city –San José- is named after national hero Juan Santamaría and lies roughly 20 kilometers from the downtown. It welcomes passengers who fly into the country, one of the seven that make up Central America, from airports in South America, the Caribbean, the United States, Canada and Europe

If you have fallen under the spell of its tropical forests and the dreamy coastlines along both the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, and whether you want to visit La Fortuna, Puntarenas, Copey, Playa Hermosa, Boca Tapada, Tamarindo or all of them, your flight to Costa Rica will probably land in San José airport, that is, in Juan Santamaría International. The vast majority of its operations within Latin America are operated by Avianca, Copa Airlines, Green Airways, Sansa and Volaris, whereas flights to and from major hubs in North America and Europe are handled by American Airlines, JetBlue, Air Canada, Iberia, Air France, British Airways, KLM and Lufthansa, among others.

Terminals of Juan Santamaría airport in San José, Costa Rica

Since 2018, when the domestic terminal was inaugurated, San José airport in Costa Rica has two terminal buildings: Terminal M (main terminal), also known as the international building, and Terminal D (domestic terminal) exclusively dedicated to Sansa flights. The international terminal of Juan Santamaría airport is divided into three levels, each of which accommodates the arrivals zone, the departures area and the VIP lounges respectively.

Ground transportation options at Juan Santamaría airport of Costa Rica

Travelling by taxi in Costa Rica. The fastest way to commute from Juan Santamaría airport to San José downtown is by taxi; you will find officially licensed taxi cabs outside the terminals and it is likely that you are approached by some drivers too. In order to identify a reliable vehicle, look for either the red with yellow triangles fleet or the orange fleet. They typically charge around $20.

Travelling by bus. The same route can be covered by bus if you hop on the public line “Montezuma-San José” from the airport. The journey lasts about 20 minutes and one-way ticket fares are under $1. Note that this service may be affected by covid-19 restrictions.

*Boarding buses and shuttle services towards Puntarenas, Guanacaste and other regions of Costa Rica is also possible from both the airport and downtown San José.

Hotels near the facilities of SJO

If you are travelling for business or need to spend an overnight layover close to the terminals, you may consider staying in one of the hotels near Juan Santamaría airport in San José, Costa Rica. We recommend:

Holiday Inn Express hotel SJO

Only 1,5 kilometers from the airport, this hotel provides confirmed guests with complimentary transfers to and from the terminals, breakfast is included in the nightly rates and double, triple or family rooms are available for booking. Enhanced disinfection and social distancing measures are currently in place due to covid-19.

Courtyard by Marriott San José airport / Alajuela

This hotel near Juan Santamaría airport in Costa Rica is equally striving to ensure the safety of their guests throughout their stay, and the use of face masks is mandatory in all communal areas of the premises. Its rooms and suites are conveniently located less than one kilometer away from the passenger terminals and shuttle transfers are operated at no extra charge.

Passenger services in San José airport of Costa Rica

Should you need to connect your device to the WiFi network, eat, drink, buy a last-minute gift, withdraw cash in the local currency or spend the wait at an airport lounge, Juan Santamaría International has you covered. See a quick guide to the available services and amenities below.

WiFi. Passengers going through SJO can use the free WiFi connection for a limited period of time (3 hours) whether they are on the public landside zone or the restricted airside area.

ATMs. There are BAC San José and Scotiabank ATMs in the arrivals zone and they remain operational 24 hours a day so that you can withdraw your “colones”.

Restaurants. The majority of eateries in Juan Santamaría airport of Costa Rica are found in the Departures area after security. Malinche and Imperial serve traditional Costa Rican dishes, but many international franchises also have presence here such as Cinnabon, Starbucks, Lavazza Coffee, Teriyaki Express and Smashburger.

Duty free stores. They are strategically situated by boarding gates 4, 5 and 8 and boast a wide array of top quality jewelry, watches, liquors, fragrances, make up and accessories for kids, women and men.

VIP lounges in San José airport. There are two airport lounges in SJO, namely the VIP Santamaría –a Star Alliance lounge managed by Avianca-, which stays open from 4:30 to 20:00 every day of the week and is located on the upper floor of the main terminal, and the Copa Club lounge, with the same opening hours and located near Gate 5 on the lower level.

(Archived) COVID-19 prevention measures in place at San José airport

Travelers flying to Costa Rica and landing in Juan Santamaría International airport (SJO) must comply with the rules and regulations in effect aimed at preventing the spread of covid. Due to the changing nature of the global pandemic situation, requirements are constantly being modified, so it is strongly recommended that you check and confirm with both the destination and the airline what you need to do before travelling and upon landing in San José. In the recent months, visitors have been required to submit a digital Health Declaration form, show proof of a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours before arrival and present evidence for having purchased travel medical insurance. Quarantine measures might apply as well.

Airport lounges in Seattle Tacoma International and how to get access

Will you be flying to or from Seattle in Washington State (USA) anytime soon? If you will be passing through Seattle Tacoma International airport to catch an outbound flight or make a connection, you may be interested in spending your wait at one of their comfortable and exclusive lounges. Discover how you can get into an airport lounge after your stay in the Emerald City, depending on which airline you fly with, your ticket class or the terminal from which your flight will depart. Below you will find further info about the terminals at SeaTac, which carriers operate from each and their corresponding lounges, as well as the different ways to be granted admission into The Club at SEA, the United Club, the American Express Centurion Lounge, the Alaska lounges, the Delta Sky Club and the British Airways Terraces in Seattle airport.

Terminals in Seattle Tacoma International airport – SeaTac

Book a room in a transit hotel of Seattle Tacoma airport

When in Sea-Tac, you will need to find your way around one main terminal building divided into four concourses and two satellite terminals: you will need to go to Concourse A if you are flying with JetBlue, Aer Lingus, Air Canada, United or Japan Airlines; transfer to Concourse B if you fly with Frontier or WestJet; it is likely that you will be sent to either Concourse C or D if your airline is Delta, Spirit, Sun Country, Alaska Airlines or American Airlines, and when travelling internationally, chances are that you will board the plane on the South Satellite Terminal (if you are a passenger on a flight by Emirates, Asiana, Air France, Aeromexico, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Hawaiian Airlines, Korean Air, Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines, Virgin Atlantic or Volaris, among others).

Passenger lounges in Seattle Tacoma airport and how to get access

The airport lounges in Seattle Tacoma are located after the security checkpoints and offer power outlets, USB charging stations, comfortable seating, an exclusive and quiet ambiance, free WiFi, complimentary food and drinks and, in some instances, business facilities, nap pods, showers and runway views. Scroll down to discover the exact location and opening times of your favorite lounge and how to gain admission into it.

The Club at SEA

The Club at SEA has two locations: one in Concourse A, next to Gate A12 and open from 5:00 to 23:00 every day, and another one in the mezzanine level of the South Satellite terminal, right above Gate S10. You can purchase a Club Pass online to enter the lounge regardless of your ticket class and the airline you fly with. Walk-ins might be accepted subject to capacity. Likewise, frequent flyers who are members of the Priority Pass, Lounge Club or Lounge Key loyalty programs may enjoy access to the lounge.

United Club Lounge in Seattle Tacoma airport

The United Lounge in Seattle airport (Washington, USA) is found in Concourse A across Gate A10. Its working hours go from 4:15 to 23:30, and it is open to holders of a United Club one-time pass (a mobile or a printed out one), members of the United Club and other elite-status frequent flyers catching flights operated by Star Alliance partners.

American Express Centurion Lounge

You will find the Amex Centurion Lounge at Seattle airport in Concourse B near Gate B3. It opens between 7:00 and 15:30 or 19:00 daily offering complimentary access to holders of an American Express Platinum Card, a Business Platinum, a Corporate Platinum or a Centurion and Delta Sky Miles Reserve members.

Alaska Airlines aiport lounges in Sea-Tac

There are three Alaska lounges at SEA with the aim of catering to the needs of flyers with elite status (Alaska MVP or Gold) whenever they fly with a Oneworld partner airline. They are located in Concourses C and D and in the North Satellite building, with opening times ranging from 5:00 to midnight every day of the week.

Delta Sky Club

The VIP lounge for Delta Sky Club members at Sea-Tac airport is situated in Concourse A next to Gate A 1, and its opening hours are 4:15 to 00:00 daily.

British Airways Terraces

If you are flying first class or business with British Airways and want to access the Terraces Lounge in Seattle, you must hold a Club World, Club Europe, Gold, Silver or Executive Oneworld status / membership. For admission, go to level 5 of the South Satellite Terminal between 10:00 and 19:30.

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Terminals and services for passengers at London’s Heathrow airport

The best piece of advice we can give to travellers flying from Heathrow is that, unless they have several hours to spare before boarding, they must know for sure which terminal they are going to, where their check-in counter is and how much time they have to go through security. Even though this applies in every airport of the world, it becomes particularly true in the case of the main airport in London, which is a small city with plans for expansion.

The good news is that Heathrow airport in London provides passengers with a quick and effective free transport system to go from one terminal to another. Terminal 2 (known as the Queen’s Terminal) is within a short walk from terminal 3. Notwithstanding that, in order to reach terminals 4 and 5 we will have to use the shuttle trains or buses. Moreover, the Picadilly tube line stops in each terminal, but bear in mind that you need to pay the standard fee for a really short journey. If you have a connecting flight at Heathrow, your airline will probably arrange the shuttle service towards your next boarding area.

It must be said that this airport in the British capital is very well signposted, and that every terminal has different levels which can be easily accessed by using lifts. This way, the arrivals halls and the baggage claim areas are located on the ground floors, from where you can go down to the tube and the shuttle trains, as well as information offices, shops and currency exchange booths. Both in the airside and the landside, we will find charging stations for our mobile devices.

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The upper floors house the check-in desks, the security filters, the shops and the boarding gates. In terminal 5, the gates are divided into three zones, and we need to take a complimentary train to get around; if we take into account that gates are announced 15 minutes before the actual boarding time, we must remain alert and check information panels frequently.

Once in the departures area of Heathrow, we may go shopping at designer brand stores and have a delicious pre-flight meal. Some of its most popular establishments are Caffé Nero, M&S Food, Caviar House & Prunier, Costa Coffee, Starbucks, Pret a Manger, Yo Sushi, Chanel, Zara, MAC, Louis Vuitton, Burberry, Harrods, Michael Kors, World Duty Free and Hugo Boss.

If you are having a layover in Heathrow and you need to spend the night at the airport, we recommend you book a room at the Sofitel hotel in T5; if your stay will be a longer one, you can check availability and prices of hotels in London.

Airline companies flying from and to Heathrow sorted by terminal

From which terminal in Heathrow does my flight depart? In which terminal will my plane land? See it here:

-Terminal 2 (the Queen’s Terminal): Aegean Airlines, Aer Lingus, Air Canada, Air China, Air India, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asiana, Austrian, Avianca, Brussels Airlines, Croatia Airlines, Egypt Air, Ethiopian Airlines, Eurowings, EVA Air, Flybe, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, SAS, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, Swiss, TAP Portugal, Thai Airways, Turkish Airlines, United Airlines.

-Terminal 3: Air Canada, American Airlines, ANA, ASIG, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, EVA Air, Finnair, Iran Air, Japan Airlines, Turkish Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Vueling.

-(*Currently closed due to COVID restrictions) Terminal 4: Air Malta, Air France, Aeroflot, Alitalia, Azerbaijan Airlines, Bulgaria Air, China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines, Delta, Etihad, Gulf Air, Jet Airways, Kenya Airways, KLM, Korean Air, Malaysia Airlines, Qatar Airways, United Airlines.

-Terminal 5: British Airlines and partner airlines from the One World Alliance operating code share flights.

Free WiFi at London’s Heathrow airport

As soon as we land in Heathrow we may connect our devices to their free WiFi, which requires a simple registration. Providing we do not want to use our smartphone or laptop, there are computers with broadband internet connection in all terminals; in order to find out where they are located, check the digital screens displaying terminal maps.

Airport passenger lounges at Heathrow

Provided that we hold an admission pass (because we fly first or business class or because we have purchased it), we will be granted access to the airport lounges in the corresponding terminal (always the same one from where we depart). Listed below are the lounges to be found at Heathrow according to their location within the different terminals:

T2: Plaza Premium featuring showers, bedrooms and spa, Lufthansa Senator and Aer Lingus Gold.

T3: Club Aspire, No.1, Traveller bedrooms No.1, American Airlines, Delta, Emirates and Virgin Atlantic. Additionally, there is a Plaza Premium arrivals lounge in the public area.

T4: Plaza Premium featuring showers, bedrooms and spa, Sky Team, Etihad, Qatar Airways.

T5: Aspire (lounge & spa), and exclusive British Airways lounges.

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