SNA: 5 Things We Love About John Wayne Airport

Our “5 Things We Love About…” series celebrates features and amenities at airports around the country and the world.

Today we land at Orange County’s John Wayne Airport (SNA), located in Santa Ana, about 35 miles south of Los Angeles, between the cities of Costa Mesa, Irvine and Newport Beach, and 14 miles from Disneyland.

Keep in mind that some of the amenities we mention at SNA Airport may not be available due to current health concerns. We’re confident they’ll be back.

If we miss a feature that you love at John Wayne Airport (SNA), please let us know in the comments sections. And if there’s an airport you’d like to see featured in the series, please speak up.

SNA: 5 Things We Love About John Wayne Airport.

1. The OC Air Pass

We’re not sure why didn’t know this, but John Wayne Airport has a gate pass program, the OC AirPASS, which allows guests without boarding passes access to the secure side of the Terminal.

The program is currently still operating, which means pass-holders can shop, dine, watch planes, and send off or greet friends and relatives at their gates from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.

To apply for a pass, check-in at Information Booth B in Terminal B (Lower Level, Baggage Claim) with a valid government-issued ID.

2. Live music at John Wayne Airport

John Wayne Airport has an impressive roster of professional musicians who perform live in the Terminal as part of the JWAlive program.

Twice a month these performances are live-streamed on Facebook and Instagram as well.

For a sampling, here’s Bill Withers’ ‘Lovely Day’ performed by the JWAlive musicians.

3. THE JWA AirPAWS team

John Wayne Airport launched its AirPAWS Therapy Dog Program in late February 2020. The program works in partnership with Orange County Animal Allies to bring trained therapy dogs to the airport terminal to make everyone’s journey a little less stressful.

4. The JWA Art Program

Flight of Ideas, by Beth Nybeck

In addition to permanent public art installations in the terminal, the art program at John Wayne airport hosts museum-quality exhibitions in the terminal throuhgou the year.

Some of the hang glides on display at JWA

5. The Helping Hands program at SNA

Traveling through an airport is usually fun and exciting. But all those people, the bright lights, the odd noises, the security checkpoint experience, and the crowds can be overstimulating and overwhelming.

John Wayne Airport has a program called “Helping Hands” to help people especially sensitive to these situations and those traveling with people who may have a hidden disability, such as autism.

The Helping Hands team can do a lot to help make the airport journey smoother. The team can also provide an optional yellow bracelet to signal to airport employees that they may need to spend a little more time helping the bracelet wearer with for check-in, security screening, or other activities.

Did we miss one of your favorite features at John Wayne Airport (SNA)? Don’t forget to add it in the comments section below.

Where should we land next?

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7 thoughts on “SNA: 5 Things We Love About John Wayne Airport

  1. Thanks for sharing a bonus item!

  2. Sharon Perlmuter says:

    We also love the JWA Ambassadors program…..Volunteer men and women wearing a red vest or jacket who circulate throughout the three terminals on the secure and un-secure sides to assist passengers and answer any questions about the airport.

  3. Thanks! Fixed that typo. And yes, Bonus items: USO and all those other things you mentioned!

  4. Kelly says:

    I didn’t know about the OC Air Pass. Love that! I was wondering how you could truly enjoy some of the offerings if your just between flights.

    I love SNA, we grew up together. No matter where on this rock I’m coming from, when I see John Wayne and the American flag I know I’m home.

  5. Sheryl says:

    it’s IRVINE, not IRVING.
    don’t forget the USO facility, the animal relief areas, valet parking, quick security lines, clean seating areas….

  6. Rita A Schmidt says:

    I think it’s sad they seem to be ashamed to list their city,Santa Ana..

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