Ontario International Airport

Another airport adds a gate pass program

A growing number of airports make it easy for the non-traveling public to get visitor passes to the secure side of the passenger terminal.

That makes it possible to meet arriving friends and family at the gate or to spend more time with someone before they board a flight.

It also means that you don’t need to be flying somewhere to check out a new terminal, tap your toes to the live music at the airport, see some great art, do a little shopping, or spend time watching planes take off and land.

Each airport has its own name for the service and its own rules regarding how many non-ticketed visitors are allowed to be issued a pass each day they are offered. And at each airport that offers the service, passengers must still go through the security checkpoint.

The list of airports offering this great airport amenity includes:

Seattle Tacoma International Airport (SEA): SEA Visitor Pass Program

The MSY Guest Pass Program at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY),

Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW),

Capital Region International Airport (LAN) in Lansing, MI: the LAN Visitor Pass,

the OC Air Pass at John Wayne Airport (SNA) in Orange County, CA,

and the ONT+ Visitor Pass Program at California’s Ontario International Airport (ONT).

New to the list: Washington’s Tri-Cities Airport

Now more – and smaller – airports are joining the list.

The latest is the Tri-Cities Airport (PSC) in Pasco, WA.

For now, only 10 visitors are able to get a PSC Pass each day. And each visitor may request just one visit per month. But, as with the other airport gate pass programs, it allows non-travelers to surprise an arriving passenger at the gate or send someone off at the gate with a last-minute hug.

Did we miss an airport with a gate pass program? Let us know and we’ll add it to the list.

Non-travelers can visit Ontario Int’l Airport (ONT)

California’s Ontario International Airport (ONT) knows there are plenty of reasons people want to go to the airport even if they’re not flying.

That’s why ONT is joining other airports such as Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA), Detroit Metro Airport (DTW), Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY), and several others in offering a gate pass porgram.

Like those programs the new ONT+ program offers a gate pass to people who aren’t flying but who want to greet families and friends at the gate or spend more time with them before they take off.

“We all remember the excitement of being able to meet arriving family and friends as they get off the plane. ONT+ is a way to bring back some of that experience from decades ago, in a safe and secure manner,” said Dean Brown, ONT Public Safety Administrator, who worked closely with TSA in establishing the program.

The ONT+ visitor pass program also makes it possible for non-travelers to access the airports’ dining and retail establishments located in the terminal’s upper levels. Highlights include Author’s Bookstore and the 24-hour, automated Yo-Kai Express machines that cook ramen, udon, and other dishes in under 45 seconds.

To receive an ONT+ visitor pass, non-travelers must fill out an online application within seven days of their visit. If approved, visitors will receive an ONT+ Visitor Pass via e-mail, which they can use – along with a TSA-approved photo ID – to enter the security checkpoint.

ONT – 5 Things We Love about Ontario International Airport

Welcome to another installment of Stuck at the Airport’s “5 Things We Love About…” series.

Today we’re sharing some of the features and amenities we love at Ontario International Airport (ONT).

The airport that is quick to remind you that it is not in Canada, but in Southern California, is about 40 miles from Disneyland, downtown LA, and Laguna Beach.

If we have missed one of your favorite amenities at ONT, please leave a note in the comments section below.

And take a look at the other airports in the “5 Things We Love at …” series. We are adding new airports (and taking nominations) all the time.

5 Things We Love About Ontario International Airport (ONT)

1. Drive-in movies at ONT

Without a doubt, the best amenity at ONT airport right now is the drive-in movies.

Better yet: ONT’s drive-in movies are free.

To help area residents combat being cooped up due to COVID-19 concerns, ONT is partnering with the City of Ontario and Street Food Cinema to offer a series of free drive-in movies at the airport on two 50-foot screens. The sound for the movies comes in on the FM radio signal.

“Ford v Ferrari” has already been screened, as has “The Sandlot.”  Coming up next: “Princess Bride” on July 17 and “Napoleon Dynamite” on July 31.

2.  ONT’s role in Hollywood movies

Speaking of movies, ONT calls itself “Hollywood’s secret back lot.”

Filming for scenes in “Ford v Ferrari”, “Catch Me If You Can,” “Argo,” and even the TV series “LAX” all took place at Ontario International Airport.

So, keep your eyes out for movie and TV stars when you are there.

3. The views from ONT

Big Bear, Lake Arrowhead and Mt. Baldy are to the north of ONT and you can get great views from the runway and from the sky.  In the winter, you will spot snow-covered mountains in the distance when exiting the terminal.

4. ONT’s Paw Squad

ONT’s therapy dog team, called the Paw Squad, provides comfort – and photo ops – for stressed-out travelers.

5. PPE Kiosks in the ONT passenger terminals

ONT was the first California airport to install PPE kiosks in the terminals. The machines dispense face covers, disposable gloves, disinfectant wipes, and alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

Did we miss mentioning something you love about Ontario International Airport (ONT)? Leave us a note in the comments section below.

Which airport should we profile next?

Drive-in movies at Ontario Int’l Airport

Here’s an airport trend we’re thoroughly enjoying.

Ontario International Airport (ONT) in California is partnering with the City of Ontario and Street Food Cinema for a series of free drive-in movies.

The films are going to be shown on two 50-foot screens over four different nights on the northeast corner of the airport property.

And movie-goers will be able to tune into the film audio on their car radios.

The first movie on the schedule is “Ford v. Ferrari,” on June 19.

This is a perfect choice because many scenes in the film are shot at ONT.

The other movies to be shown at ONT Airport will be “The Sandlot” on July 3, “Princess Bride” on July 17, and “Napoleon Dynamite” on July 31.

Showtime for all four nights is 8:30 p.m.

The free movie series hopes to bring people together at a safe social distance (in their cars). The series will also support local food banks by encouraging movie-goers to bring donations of boxed food.

And it turns out the City of Ontario and Ontario International Airport (ONT) have a rich film tradition.

Movies such as “Argo,” “Catch Me If You Can,” “A League of Their Own” and “Up In The Air” are among the dozens of features shot in town over the years.

This is definitely a nomination for “Airport Amenity of the Week.”