Airport Guides

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?

LGB: 5 Things We Love About Long Beach Airport

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

Today we’re landing at California’s Long Beach Airport.  Founded in 1923 it is the oldest municipally owned airport in California.

Keep in mind that some amenities we list here may not currently be available due to health concerns. We are confident they’ll be back.

5 Thing We Love About Long Beach Airport

1. The outdoor atrium at LGB 

The open-air atrium at Long Beach Airport has palm trees and a drought-tolerant garden. It is a rare treat to have an outdoor space an airport and this one even has a wine and beer bar (4th Street Vine) with a fire pit.

2. Outdoor boarding at LGB

LGB’s boarding experience harkens back to the golden age of flying; the outdoor boarding takes advantage of the year-round Southern California sunshine.  

3. Art and History at Long Beach Airport

The LGB terminal was built in 1941 in the Streamline Moderne style, with smooth walls, flat roofs, railings and porthole windows that make it look more like a ship than an airport terminal.

The airport also boasts floor mosaics and wall murals designed as part of the Works Project Administration (WPA) in the 1940s

Newer pieces include the sculpture below, by Aaron De La Cruz. Before being purchased by LGB, the untitled work was a temporary installation at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. There it was displayed vertically.

To accommodate LGB’s layout and keep sight lights to the airfield open, the artist’s team reconfigured the piece so it would hang from the ceiling.

“The sculpture is now in the shape of an arc to represent the motion of flights taking off and landing,” says the airport.

4. Local dining options at LGB

All the dining venues at LGB are local, which is pretty unusual for an airport.

Options include Long Beach Burger Bar, Polly’s Coffee, Sweet Jill’s Bakery, George’s Greek Café, Boathouse on the Bay, and the 4th Street Vine Wine & Beer Bar mentioned above.

5. Shopping at LGB 

Some airports sell snow globes in the gift shops. But at Long Beach Airport travelers can pick up sand globes.

Bonus: two cool videos from Long Beach Airport

Here are two fun videos from the Long Beach Airport website.

This first one features Earl S. Daugherty, who was a pioneer aviator, an advocate for the creation of the Long Beach Airport, and one of the earliest aviation photographers. He was known locally as the “King of Aviation” and is the person for whom the airfield is named for.

This video shows the barnstorming legend flying over Long Beach in the 1920s.

The expertly edited film below shows a day at Long Beach squeezed into two and a half minutes.

Did we miss your favorite feature of Long Beach Airport? Let us known in the comments section below.

And be sure to check out the other airports in our “5 Things We Love About…” series.

ORD: 5 Things We Love About Chicago O’Hare International Airport

We’re back with another installment of our “5 Things We Love About…” series and today we’re landing at Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD)

Please keep in mind that due to health concerns, some features and amenities at ORD may be temporarily unavailable. But we’re confident they’ll be back.

Here’s a link to the airports that have been profiled in the “5 Things We Love About…” series so far. Feel free to nominate an airport you’d like to see included in the series.

And if we missed a feature or amenity you love at any of the profiled airports, le us know in the comments section.

5 Things We Love About Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD)

O’Hare International Airport (ORD) is located about 14 miles from downtown Chicago. Originally named Orchard Field Airport, the airport was renamed in O’Hare International Airport in 1949 to honor Lieutenant Commander Edward H. “Butch” O’Hare, a Chicagoan killed during WWII.  

1. ORD’s Aeroponic Garden

O’Hare International Airport’s aeroponic garden grows herbs and vegetables, including basil, lettuce, beans and edible flowers – all without soil. Many restaurants in the airport use ingredients harvested from this garden.

2. The Brachiosaurus at ORD

The Field Museum has been kind enough to loan ORD a skeleton model of a Brachiosaurus excavated in 1900 by one of the museum’s paleontologists. The model is 4 stories tall and 72 feet long and hard to miss in Terminal 1, Concourse B, near the entrance to the tunnel to Concourse C.

3. The ORD Shoe Hospital

The Shoe Hospital at ORD not only offers shoe shining services, they can fix broken heels, sell you shoelaces, put another hole in your leather belt and, in a pinch, fix a suitcase or a strap on your carry-on bag.

4. Art at ORD

Entertaining and iconic, “The Sky’s the Limit,” by Michael Hayden is a 745-foot-long kinetic light sculpture in the tunnel connecting Concourses B&C in Terminal 1.

5. The Fighter Plane

ORD displays a replica of the WWII F4F-3 fighter plane flown by the airport’s namesake, Lt. Commander Edward “Butch” O’Hare. Find it on the north end of Terminal 2, near gate E1.

Did we miss any of your favorite features or amenities at ORD? The yoga rooms? The day passes you can get to use the well-equipped gym at the O’Hare Hilton? Or perhaps the Farmer’s Fridge vending machines that dispense fresh salads and snacks in returnable jars?

Let us know?

MCO: 5 Things We Love About Orlando Int’l Airport

5 Things We Love About Orlando International Airport (MCO)

It’s another installment of the “5 Things We Love About…” series on Stuck at The Airport, celebrating some of the services, amenities, and features we love about airports around the world.

We’ll (try to) keep these lists to just five items. But if you want to add a note about a bonus feature you love, please add it in the comment section below.

And if you want to nominate an airport for the series, or sponsor one of the “5 Things We Love About ..” entry in the series, get in touch.

Today: 5 Things We Love About Orlando International Airport (MCO)

The Traveler – by Duane Hanson

1. The art collection at MCO

In addition to “The Traveler” (above) by Duane Hanson, MCO’s art collection includes some real treasures, including “Space, Time and Energy” by Jacob Lawrence and a series of four terrazzo “Welcoming Gardens” by Scott Parsons (below) that serve as welcome mats at the airport.

Space, Time and Energy, by Jacob Lawrence

2. MCO’s airport tower

The air traffic control tower at MCO is not only pretty and quite recognizable for its design, at 345 feet it’s one of the tallest ATC towers in the United States.

3. The atrium at Orlando International Airport

The main terminal atrium at Orlando International Airport serves as part of the lobby of the Hyatt Regency Orlando International Airport. The atrium also features a water fountain, palm trees, high ceilings, and plenty of natural light. All rare amenities at an airport.

4. MCO’s carpet – and matching socks

MCO’s airside carpet is quite photogenic and so popular that the airport has socks to celebrate the carpet. The airport has several other MCO-themed socks as well. You can’t buy them: the airport saves them to use as prizes for online contests and for surprise giveaway events in the terminal.

We don’t even have any of theses socks in our our sock drawer.

5. An aquarium, a giant screen + photo op spots

MCO has a 3,000-gallon food court fish tank containing eels and 40-50 fish. If you’re lucky, you might get to see a fun show when the tank is cleaned.

Other cool attractions we love at Orlando International Airport include the 36-foot-long hi-res video screen outside the Magic of Disney store in the atrium (across from security checkpoint for gates 70-129).

For visitors who didn’t get enough photos at area theme parks, there are photo ops spots outside of several stores, including an astronaut at the Kennedy Space Center shop store and minions and a velociraptor at the Universal Store.

And don’t even get us started on the airport souvenirs.

Stay tuned for more in our “5 Things We Love About ….” series.

Want to nominate an airport or sponsor one of the entries? Leave a note in the comment section and we’ll be in touch.

Here are 5 Things We Love About: Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport (GSP)

Welcome to another installment of our new “5 Things We Love About…” series celebrating some of the services, amenities, and features we love about airports around the world.

To keep things moving along we are keeping this series to just five things we love about each airport.

If you want to nominate an airport for the series or add a note about a feature you love about an airport beyond the five items we here, please add it in the comment section below.

And if you want to sponsor one of the “5 Things We Love About..” entries in the series, get in touch.

5 Things We Love About Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport (GSP) in South Carolina.

1: ToonMobile

Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport (GSP) is the first and, so far, the only airport in the United States to offer free live-streaming of ToonMobile, a compilation of kid-friendly content from Warner Media’s Cartoon Network.

GSP also a live stream of the CNN Airport Network that includes live sporting events such as NCAA March Madness Tournament games, professional football, and basketball.

2: Bespoke beer

Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport partnered with local brewery RJ Rockers Brewing Company to create a special beer.

The Flight Line GSP craft brew is “infused with the energy and optimism of Upstate South Carolina and its namesake airport,” and is available only at GSP.

3: Airside Garden

GSP’s outdoor garden is located post-security and features a water and sculpture garden with benches and cafe tables surrounded by a grove of trees and hedges. The garden is an original feature at the airport and dates to 1962, with a refresh in 2016.

4: Art. Lots of art.

GSP has more than a dozen pieces of art throughout the terminal and most of it is inspired by and reflective of the region.

5: GSP’s sense of humor

Here’s a fun video GSP airport shared on May 4th. Charming, right?

Stay tuned for more installments of “5 Things We Love About ..” and please nominate your favorite airport or airport amenity for the series.

If you want to sponsor one of the installments, get in touch.