San Antonio International airport (SAT/KSAT) is located 8 miles north of San Antonio’s Downtown. The airport has three runways, covers 933 ha and is 247m/809ft above sea level. The airport is Texas’ 5th busiest airport and ranked as 44th busiest in the USA. It was founded in 1941 during WW II as a training base for the US Army Air Forces and was named “Alamo Field”. After the war the airfield wasn’t needed anymore by the USAAF and was handed back to the City of San Antonio. Back in 1953 the construction works on Terminal 2 (not existing anymore) were finished and in 1984 Terminal 1 (now named A) was opened. The airport build a new ATC Tower, two new parking garages, but former Terminal 2 was torn off in May 2011 after Terminal B was opened in November 2010 (which replaced T2).
SAT handled more than 9 million passengers back in 2016 and is served by a hand of different airlines (or their daughtercarriers): Aeromexico, Air Canada, Alaska Airlines/Virgin America, Allegiant Air, American Airlines/Eagle, Delta Air Lines and Connection, Frontier Airlines, Interjet, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines and Express and Volaris. Apart from those PAX-airlines, San Antonio International Airport is being visited by some American military aircraft and is being served by some freighters, too. For example: Ameriflight, FedEx and UPS Airlines.
Written by Severin Hackenberger. Last Visit: October 2018
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|Terminal A||Domestic carriers: Alaska Airlines, Allegiant Air, Delta Air, Frontier and Southwest Airlines
As well as International carriers: Aeromexico, Air Canada, Interjet and Volaris
|Terminal B||American Airlines and United Airlines with all their regional partners|
|Ladder||Not needed and not recommend to use as security is difficult here along the fence!|
|Car/Public Transport||Car is recommended as it’s much easier here and public transport is quite poor.|
|Restrooms||Around the airport there are some restaurants, shops and similar, where restrooms can be found. Apart from this, those can be found inside the terminal.|
|Drinks/Food||Around the airport there are some hotels, restaurants, shops and similar, where food can be found and grabed. Apart from this, food and drinks can be found inside the terminal.|
|Hotels||Hotels are mainly south and west of the terminal.|
|Season||The winter months might be better than the summer days due to heat haze and better weather/smoother light. Recommended season is from October-March.|
|Security||Spotting in the United States is not always tolerated. There have been many reports from spotters that police checks were performed here in the US. Especially in San Antonio, police is ubiquitous and sends us spotters away regularly. Spotting at some places is not tolerated and even strictly prohibited. However, KEEP A LOW PROFILE at all spots here in SAT. We recommend (and it’s sometimes even required) to call the airport police at difficult spots prior spotting, to ask for permission and to inform them of your actions – especially recommended at spot #4 and #6. You can reach the police with this number: 210-207-3450
Please be also aware of following facts: The police is quite harsh of endangering the streets safety, so if you are standing beside a street and you are visible to drivers, police may ask you to leave as you may distract drivers from keeping their attention onto the road traffic.Some police officers may react rude to our hobby as they suspect terrorism by photography of airplanes. Always stay polite and stay in car when a police officer stops for a check. Do not leave your car unless you are told to do so! The spots underneath are mostly safe but check the MISC box for further info. Spotterguide.net is not liable for any inconvenience and misbehaviour towards the police of fellow spotters.
|13R/31L||Rarely in use and majority of the traffic will be GA traffic.|
|13L/31R||Used for arrivals as 13 and for departures as 31 – other Usage is very rare!|
|04/22||Used for arrivals as 22 and for arrivals & departures as 04 – other Usage is very rare!|
|Spot #1 – E Nakoma Drive – 13R Arrivals + nearby GAT Apron|
|WHERE||This spot is located E Nakoma Drive, which runs between the airport fence and a parking for a church community. Apron shot were taken form the sidewalk next to the fence and the arrivalshot was taken from the mnetioned parking.|
|WHAT||Arrivals on runway 13 and the nearby apron activities.|
|TIME||From sunrise till late morning. Almost unuseable in winter.|
|MISC.||No ladder needed, enough parking possibilities around the spot, but all other facilities like restrooms and stores are a few meters away.|
A320 = 280mm / Cessna 680 = 175mm
|Spot #2 – Gas station parking – 13R Arrivals|
|WHERE||This spot is located near the crossing of East Nakoma Drive and San Pedro Avenue where you can find a gas station for example. It’s not an exact position rather the are around the crossing, because it depends on the angle you like the most! You might park your car at the nearby shops, gas stations or similar and easily walk around here. Our example pictures were taken from the sidewalk next to the Shell gas station.|
|WHAT||Arrivals on runway 13R.|
|TIME||From sunrise till late morning. In winter almost unuseable.|
|MISC.||No ladder needed, enough parking possibilities around the spot and everything nearby like restrooms and stores – for example a gas station.|
A320 = 135mm / CRJ9 = 150mm / Cessna 525 = 270mm
|Spot #3 – San Pedro Avenue – 13R Arrivals|
|WHERE||You can park your car at the nearby shops/stores and then walk to the bridge, which connects Sandau Road and East Rhapsody Drive. You can stand next to the bridge, too, the view is almost the same, you’ll just have some more signs in your way at some moments, but therefore you can’t be seen that easy while spotting – this is sometimes very helpful and important at SAT.|
|WHAT||Arrivals onto runway 13R.|
|TIME||From midday till sunset.|
|MISC.||No ladder needed, enough parking possibilities around the spot and everything nearby like restrooms and stores inside the terminal facilities.|
B738 = 140mm
|Spot #4 – Sandau Road – Apron + 13/31 runways|
|WHERE||This spot is located along the fence next to one of SAT’s military and GAT aprons. Next to this apron/fence runs the “Sandau Road”, which can be entered easily and without any permissions or problems. Just park your car by the roadside here and go to the fence, just for taking your pictures!|
|WHAT||The apron infront, which is mostly used by military aircraft, can be seen as well as the runways and taxiways behind the apron.|
|TIME||From midday till sunset.|
|MISC.||Ladder not needed to get over the fence as this one is very low. No facilities nearby, where you could get food or find restrooms.
KEEP A LOW PROFILE! We received reports, that spotters got stopped by the police for a quick ID check after they took pictures at this spot – probably because the apron is used by military aircraft. So take your pictures fastly and go away again or call the airport police before spotting here and report them about your plans. Police can be reached here: 210-207-3450
Metroliner = 18mm / Learjet 35 = 160mm / MD90 (on runway) = 230mm
|Spot #5 – Terminal B – Aprons + nearby taxiways and runways|
|WHERE||This spot is located inside the terminal B and can only be reached WITH A VALID BOARDING PASS. It’s located AIRSIDE, so AFTER SECURITY CHECK. Keep this in mind when planning spotting here. But after you passed the security check of temrinal B, just go down into the direction of the finger’s end and search your favourite position along the glassfront along the terminalfinger.|
|WHAT||All activities around, so the apron of terminal B, parts of the apron of terminal A and other aprons around the terminalfinger here. Apart from this some taxiways and a few runways (or at least parts of them) can be seen from here.|
|TIME||Depends on your subject to spot, but mostly better in the afternoon.|
|MISC.||All facilities inside this finger like restrooms or foodshops.
Keep in mind, that you need a VALID BOARDING PASS to reach this spot, which is located AFTER SECURITY CHECK, so it’s AIRSIDE.
|FOCAL LENGTH||24 – 400mm
B737-700 = 75mm / Storageapron overview = 235mm / Beech C90 = 290mm
|Spot #6 – Parking garage|
|WHERE||This spot is located on the top floor of the airport’s parking garage, for normal cars, not on the rental car parking garage, which might be used for spotting aswell. It should be possible to park your car inside this garage or at least in the nearby area here – then just head to the top floor of a garage and search your favourite position along the fronts.
This spot is quite common in the local spotter and airplane watcher community, so you’re a more “well known/seen sight” here, which might be helpful and better at SAT sometimes.
|WHAT||From here you can see the nearby aprons and some parts of the runways around. This spot is quite good for 04/22 arrivals/departures, if they arenÄt too high or are leaving too early.|
|TIME||Depending, on what you wann spot from here, but mostly better from late morning on till sunset – best time is in the afternoon.|
|MISC.||No ladder needed. All facilities you need can be found inside the nearby terminal.
Call the airport police, before spotting here to ask for kind of permission prior spotting. Eventhough you did so, it might happen, that police officers or security guys will visit you while spotting to check your ID and ask questions like what you’re doing here. It should be clear, but stay friendly and polite, tell them, you’re doing this as hobby and you’re just taking pictures of planes and so on… Number to call: 210-207-3450
|FOCAL LENGTH||XXX But should be ~150-400mm|
Spot itsself looks like this – view of the eastern side -> SPOTOVERVIEW
And an example shot taken from this spot like THIS.