Aeropuerto Internacional De El Salvador (San Oscar Arnulfo Romero Y Galdamez or SAL)



Generally, I don't write about airports but, I thought this would be useful for someone traveling to El Salvador soon.


How to get to SAL

Check with your particular airline to find out if they fly to SAL or perhaps one of their codeshare partners. In this case, I flew in on Delta's DL1985 which gets into San Salvador a little after 10:00 pm from New York's JFK.


Arrivals

Once in San Salvador, you deplane into the main terminal. You then follow the signs of immigration. Once downstairs, you will first go to the visa desk to purchase a tourist visa for $12.00. After the via is purchased, you then join another line to be seen by immigration. You're then required to provide your passport, visa, and Covid-19 vaccination card. After you receive your stamp, you can then go to the next room. Here you will collect your luggage if necessary and then proceed to customs. They will check the customs form and keep the original.


Getting to your hotel

Upon exiting the airport, official taxis are outside the exit doors. If you have a personal car, you will have to walk to parking lot 3 to meet them as they are not permitted to approach the airport terminal. Upon returning, it's easier to hire a car from the hotel to avoid delays and cancellations.


Departures

When you arrive at the airport, you will once again be dropped in a parking lot and have to walk a little to the airport entrance. There you will be temperature checked before you can enter. Once inside, find the airline desk, check bags if necessary and have them print you a physical boarding pass. Even if you check-in online, when you get to the airport, have them print you a paper boarding pass. (The reason will become apparent at the gate). Follow the escalator up one level and enter immigration. Here you will show your passport and boarding pass. After being cleared, you will pass through security.


At the airport

After security, you will have a chance to shop duty-free or any local stores at the airport. If you have a priority pass, you have access to the Aeroconnections VIP Lounge. There is a separate lounge exclusively for Avianca passengers.


Aeroconnections Lounge Seating Area
Aeroconnections Lounge Seating Area


Aeroconnections Lounge Buffet
Aeroconnections Lounge Buffet


At the gate

Head to the gate at least an hour before your flight. We were at the gate when told to line up and have our passports and baggage searched despite doing it with security downstairs. It is a more detailed search as they empty the entire contents of your luggage and lay them out on the table. Once done, your bags are re-packed. You are then body searched with metal detectors. You will be required to remove your shoes. Once done, your items will be returned, board your flight. Also, they will not search you unless you have a paper boarding pass.( see earlier comment)


Final

The whole airport process is a bit cumbersome but, I imagining it's for your safety. The only complaint I have is that this was the first time I had been to an airport where announcements were made in one language, causing fellow passengers to explain the process. Pack your patience. Very few of the staff speak English. It will create delays to an already drawn-out process.


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