SAN DIEGO – Traveling to or from the San Diego International Airport anytime soon? Better plan ahead.

Starting Sunday, airport officials closed its Terminal 1 parking lot to incoming traffic due to a massive renovation project to the terminal. It will permanently close on June 15 with a new Terminal 1 Parking Plaza due to open for travelers in late 2024.

But the closure took many by surprise, including those who had no idea it was happening and have upcoming trips.

“Yea, it’s definitely going to impact us,”  said Martin Garcia, a traveler headed to Napa.

Garcia said he flies out ever once or twice a month.

“It’s going to be a very big inconvenience,” said Patrick Johnson, a father who was picking up his military son from the airport Sunday. Johnson said he picks up two of his sons who are in the military every five months at the San Diego airport.

Some passengers have said they are not looking forward to what will follow now that Terminal 1 parking is closed to all incoming cars.

“There’s huge long lines at the airport lately. So, pretty sure it’s going to affect that, too. So, it’s not going to be fun,” Garcia said.

Others said they liked the convenience of a close parking lot to their terminal, especially when heavy bags are involved.

“This parking is really going to put a bit of a damper on plans,” airport spokeswoman Sabrina LoPiccolo said.

If passengers want to park on-site, they will have to use Terminal Two’s parking lot. LoPiccolo said passengers should plan ahead; consider taking a taxi or ride share, use public transportation, get dropped off or picked up, or make a valet reservation.

“We definitely feel that this summer, a lot more people will be traveling and we fully expect terminals to be full,” LoPiccolo said.

The parking lot needs to close to make way for a $3.4 billion facelift to Terminal 1. It will include a new multi-leveled parking plaza and a brand new Terminal One with 30 new gates.

“I think it’s a good thing, progress is always a good thing. I see nothing wrong with it. We do have to make way for progress and it does cause some inconvenience but in the long run, it pays off,” Johnson said.

Cars that are currently parked in the lot will need to leave by June 14. After that, the cars will be towed, and the lot will be turned into a construction zone.

The new parking plaza is expected to be finished by late 2024. The airport terminal will be finished in two phases between 2025 to 2027.

Even with the Terminal 1 lot now unavailable, travelers are able to make a parking reservation ahead of time at the airport. Click or tap here to secure your spot.