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Flying to Tijuana: Booking Your Next Flight to Mexico

When planning your next trip south of the border, consider flying directly into Tijuana International Airport. Located just 15 minutes from downtown, Tijuana International provides you with easy access to Baja California’s largest city and its famed beaches, cuisine, and nightlife. With multiple daily nonstop flights on major US airlines, reasonable fares, and a smooth customs and immigration process, you can be exploring Avenida Revolución or relaxing on Playa de Tijuana in no time.

Booking Flights to Tijuana International Airport

To book a flight to Tijuana International Airport (TIJ), you have several options to consider based on your budget and travel needs.

Domestic vs. International Flights

TIJ offers flights within Mexico as well as to the U.S. and Canada. Domestic flights typically offer lower fares and fewer restrictions. International flights require a passport and often have stricter baggage policies. For many U.S. travelers, San Diego International Airport (SAN) is the closest major airport to TIJ, located just 15 miles north. Some airlines like AeroMexico and Alaska Airlines offer codeshare flights into TIJ with a connection in SAN.

Major Airlines Servicing TIJ

The major airlines flying into TIJ include:

  • AeroMexico – Mexico’s flagship carrier offers many daily flights from destinations across Mexico as well as codeshare service from U.S. cities.
  • Volaris – Mexico’s low-cost carrier provides affordable fares, especially if booking in advance. Service is offered from several cities in Mexico and the U.S.
  • Alaska Airlines – In addition to direct flights from SAN and LAX, Alaska partners with AeroMexico to provide connections from several U.S. and Canadian cities.
  • Delta – Delta operates flights from SAN, LAX and other U.S. cities in partnership with AeroMexico.

Booking Tips

For the best fares to TIJ:

  • Book at least 4 to 6 weeks in advance for the lowest rates, especially if traveling in high season.
  • Be flexible with your travel dates when possible. Flying midweek or non-peak days can save you money.
  • Consider budget airlines like Volaris which frequently run sales and promotions.
  • Explore bundling your flight with a hotel to find package deals. Some resorts and hotels in Tijuana and Rosarito offer airfare and accommodation bundles year-round.
  • Compare fares across booking sites like Kayak, Expedia and the airlines’ official websites. Third-party sites sometimes have lower rates but booking direct may provide additional perks like free baggage allowance or the ability to earn frequent flyer miles.

Navigating Tijuana International Airport

Arriving at the Airport

Upon arriving at Tijuana International Airport (TIJ), you will go through customs and immigration to enter Mexico. Make sure you have filled out an immigration form and have your passport and any required visas ready. The customs area has currency exchange booths, ATMs, and ground transportation options like taxis, buses, and rental cars to take you into Tijuana or surrounding areas.

Top Tips for Your Trip to Tijuana

As you prepare for your trip to Tijuana, keep the following tips in mind to ensure a smooth journey.

Book Your Flight in Advance

Reserve your flight to Tijuana International Airport at least 4 to 6 weeks ahead of your trip. Booking in advance will provide more flight options and likely lower fares. Tijuana is served by major airlines including Aeroméxico, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta, and United. Nonstop flights are available from several west coast cities in the U.S. such as Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, and Phoenix.

Check Travel Requirements

U.S. citizens need a valid passport to enter Mexico. A tourist visa is not required for stays less than 180 days. Double check that your passport has at least 6 months validity remaining before your trip. The Mexican government also requires you to fill out an immigration form upon arrival.

Prepare for the Border Crossing

The San Ysidro border crossing between San Diego and Tijuana is the busiest land border crossing in the world. Wait times to cross into Mexico can be 2 to 3 hours during peak periods. It is best to cross on weekdays outside of rush hour. Have your passport, Mexican tourist card, and vehicle registration ready for inspection. Declare all food, alcohol, tobacco, and gifts upon re-entering the U.S.

Use Pesos

Mexico’s currency is the Mexican peso. While some tourist destinations accept U.S. dollars, you will need pesos for taxis, local shops, and restaurants. Exchange currency at the airport, border crossing, or in town at a bank to get the best rates. ATMs are widely available in Tijuana to withdraw pesos. Notify your bank before travel to Mexico to avoid debit/credit card holds.

Stay Safe

Exercise caution in Tijuana as in any large city. Stay alert for petty crimes like pickpocketing in crowded areas. Only take taxis from approved taxi stands. Do not drink tap water, and only purchase bottled water and pre-packaged snacks from reputable places. The Zona Centro and Rio districts are generally safe for tourists to explore. Check current events before travel and avoid any demonstrations or protests.


As you prepare for your upcoming trip to Tijuana, take the time to research flight options from your local airport. Consider flying into TIJ for the convenience of landing close to your destination. Use flight comparison sites to find the best fares, and don’t forget to factor in baggage fees and other add-ons. Tijuana International Airport offers excellent service, and you’ll find Tijuana airport taxis, buses, and rental cars ready to take you on the next leg of your Mexican adventure. With the right flight booked, you’ll be set to maximize your time exploring vibrant Tijuana and beyond. Safe travels!

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