Fly from Tijuana Airport via CBX Cross Border Xpress -
Wing of Volaris jet while flying over the blue Sea of Cortez at La Paz, Mexico

Fly from Tijuana Airport via CBX Cross Border Xpress

Since the CBX Cross Border Xpress was opened a few years ago, the options for traveling to Mexico have been so much greater. Gaining the necessary permissions from both the United States and Mexican governments, the developers of CBX built a pedestrian bridge across the border. This bridge begins on the US side and crosses over into Mexico, depositing travelers directly into the Tijuana International Airport.

The Cross Border Xpress (CBX) in San Diego is an easy access to flights from Tijuana Airport.

After flying out of the Tijuana Airport multiple times now with great success and ease for both business and leisure travel, we’re  happy to have discovered how convenient and inexpensive it is to fly from Tijuana Airport via the CBX Cross Border Xpress. For example, on a recent trip to La Paz, our family saved almost $1,200 flying from Tijuana instead of San Diego.

As prices for airfare have continued to soar (excuse the pun) we’ve expanded our view to include Tijuana International Airport as part of our consideration for travel to Mexico. Really, San Diego is a two-airport region now. With so many people from the area traveling to points around the world from here, we can see why the Tijuana airport is flourishing. And now with a modern renovation and upgrades to passenger terminals, the airport is really world class.

It’s almost always cheaper to fly to other cities in Mexico from the Tijuana Airport, which is located just feet across the US/Mexico border. It just wasn’t always easy to get there until they built the CBX Cross Border Xpress.

CBX Cross Border Express interior
The CBX Cross Border Express building is beautiful, clean and easy to navigate.

Fly from Tijuana Airport via CBX Cross Border Xpress

Before I go on, please know that flying from Tijuana is completely safe and very US-friendly. If your family is anything like ours, you might have felt some doubts about crossing the border to fly from Mexico. CBX could not be safer, and you walk inside the building and across the bridge directly into the airport. Everything is in English, and all the helpers speak fluent English.

Using CBX, there are no vehicle lines to wait in at the border crossing, or need to walk across the old way from San Diego to Tijuana and then catch a taxi from the border to the airport. Our family’s experiences have been quick and easy. On our recent trip, we made it from the front door of CBX to our gate in the Tijuana Airport in less than 30 minutes, including passport control. However, we don’t recommend relying on this rate of speed for every trip – it’s always best to leave plenty of time for any delays that might occur.

Buying Airline Tickets from Tijuana Airport

General Abelardo L. Rodriguez Tijuana International Airport (TIJ) is located just across the border from the US, near the Otay Mesa Border Crossing. It is one of the busiest airports in Mexico, and handles domestic and international flights 24 hours a day. When traveling from TIJ, we’ve had great experiences booking tickets directly on the websites of Aeromexico and Volaris Airlines. There are language options in both English and Spanish. The terminology and instructions are all the same as booking with a US carrier.

Volaris Airlines is safe, clean and easy to fly out of Tijuana Airport via CBX.

Flights are Cheaper from Tijuana Airport

Recently, we had a fabulous vacations at the Puerta Cortes Resort in La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico. When comparing flights from Tijuana to La Paz versus San Diego or Los Angeles, there was a remarkable cost savings. We ended up buying tickets on Volaris from Tijuana to our final destination at La Paz Airport. The difference in cost for a family of four was hundreds of dollars, which we were happy to save.

The ocean views from Puerta Cortes Resort are some of the best in La Paz

As of July 2022, a quick price comparison shows that a roundtrip flight on Volaris Airlines from Tijuana to La Paz starts at around $145 USD direct with no stops. To fly the same itinerary from San Diego to La Paz, we would pay $464 per ticket minimum and have to stop in Phoenix on the way,  for a total flight duration of nearly 6 hours.  The flight from Tijuana is less than 2 hours.  For a family of four, those extra dollars really add up, and we saved almost $1,200. (Not to mention the amount of time we saved not having to change plans and sit in airports over long layovers.)

Crossing the US/Mexico Border via CBX

The Cross Border Express buildings on the US side are architecturally gorgeous, spacious and squeaky clean.

CBX Cross Border Express entrance
We walked right up to the CBX entrance, processed our customs paperwork, and sailed through to our gate.

The process at CBX was ridiculously easy (and faster than San Diego Airport to be sure). We followed the simple directions to the CBX location, parked our car in their convenient lot for $15/day, and checked into our Volaris flights on the US side of the border. We paid the $34.95 per person roundtrip fee for using CBX, and then walked the short distance across the border using the elevated bridge. On the Mexican side we cleared security and customs in about 10 minutes, and walked directly into the gate area of the Tijuana Airport.

walking across the CBX Cross Border Express bridge
As we walked across the bridge from the CBX building, we crossed the border and arrived in the Tijuana Airport.

The whole process took less than 30 minutes from start to finish. We were astonished to find ourselves with too much time in the waiting area for our flight, which NEVER happens in our family. It’s usually the opposite, because someone is always rushing to pack that last thing they absolutely must bring on this trip.

US/Mexico boundary inside CBX Bridge
You can literally play Hokey Pokey on the boundary line inside the CBX Bridge between the US and Mexico.

Comparing to San Diego International Airport Experience

Compare this to another experience when our family flew to Cancun, Mexico out of San Diego airport recently. We had to check in at San Diego Airport, show passports and fill out immigration forms, fly out of our way for a stopover in Dallas, connect to a different flight, and eventually arrive in Cancun. We went through customs in Cancun, which took forever due to the crowds of visitors coming from all over. The amount of time in lines was staggering.

With the CBX Cross Border Xpress experience, we cleared customs and immigration within the bridge connection before entering the Tijuana airport, and sailed through check-in, security and onto our Aeromexico flight to travel deeper into Mexico.

I highly recommend this travel option. We will definitely use CBX again – hopefully soon.

Volaris Airlines jet boarding passengers from the tarmac at La Paz Airport in La Paz, Mexico

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31 thoughts on “Fly from Tijuana Airport via CBX Cross Border Xpress

  1. Wow that sounds really easy! We’ve heard so much about the advantages of flying out of TJ and have never taken advantage of it. Thanks for documenting how easy it is.

  2. Sounds easy and your explanation makes it sound reassuring, going to SMA through CBX tomorrow and will let you know.

  3. Are non-U.S Citizens in USA on tourist or work visa allowed to take the CBX Cross Border Xpress and travel out of the TJ international airport ?

  4. Yes it is a great way to fly cheaper but the parking lot is over priced….we were gone to Oaxaca for 2 weeks and paid $300 for CBX parking

  5. It is safe? I’m thinking to cross next year I don’t any idea how it is, I always travel with my dog it’s a chihuahua, do they allow it?

    1. Hi Jenn – Travel across CBX Cross Border Xpress is easy and safe. Regarding pets, here is their policy: “Yes, they must be in a cage when crossing the bridge, unless it is a service dog. They must also meet all the requirements for either US or Mexican regulations.”

  6. Hi do u know how long is the bridge from start to end, asking because my mama is 88 years old and she can’t walk as she used to?

    1. Hi Silvia – It’s not a long walk, but I can understand how that might be challenging for an 88 year old. There are elevators in two areas rather than stairs, and the walk itself only takes about 15 minutes.

  7. We are flying after Christmas. When I called Volaris to approve our pet, they are excluding apple head chihuahuas stating they have breathing problems past a certain elevation.

    1. Hi Kathy – yes CBX has luggage carts free of charge. Once you cross, Tijuana Airport also offers porters if needed. Safe travels!

  8. I always use cbx i go 3x yr mexico using volaris a family of 4 adult 1 kid round trip including cbx passes round trio also for $645.00 really happy there facility clean staff friendly process only 24 to 30 minutes luggage carts are free

  9. Look like you had great experience of travelling. I love read your blog regularly and enjoy your traveling experience. Thank you for sharing it.

  10. I’ve been reading horror stories about CBX line and how people miss their flights. When is the best time in the day to use CBX for a flight and when is the most busy time in the day?

    1. Hi Lucy – We’re told the best day of the week to avoid crowds is typically Wednesday. The busiest days are weekends and shoulder days (Friday – Monday). While there is a constant ebb and flow of travelers throughout the day, the busiest times are generally in the mornings from around 7-10 a.m. and mid-afternoon from 1-3 pm. CBX always recommends arriving 2-3 hours before your flight to allow enough time to cross comfortably. Hope this helps!

  11. Hello- I know that if I fly from Cancun to San Diego I need to take a COVID test before getting on my flight. Do you know if I need to take a COVID test before I get on my flight to Tijuana and walk across CBX? Thank you

    1. Hi Kris – We just flew into TIJ this past Monday and went through CBX without a hitch – no need for a COVID test when flying within Mexico!

  12. Hi there, looking into flying to Cabo with Volaris. Do you know if there logistically is any difference in buying the CBX pass with CBX directly versus through Volaris with your airline ticket?

    1. Hi Ailine – I don’t think there is a big difference, however I always buy the CBX passes when I purchase my ticket with Volaris because all of the paperwork is in one place. Also when you get to CBX, it helps if you have pre-purchased your ticket so you can move through the line faster. Hope this helps – have a great trip!

    1. Hello Adela – we traveled last year from through CBX to La Paz, and one of our party had only a passport card and was able to use the facility along with the rest of us passport holders!

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