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Navigating the Holiday Travel Season at John Wayne Airport

November 8, 2016
  • Navigating the Holiday Travel Season at John Wayne Airport
  • Navigating the Holiday Travel Season at John Wayne Airport
  • Navigating the Holiday Travel Season at John Wayne Airport
  • Navigating the Holiday Travel Season at John Wayne Airport
  • Navigating the Holiday Travel Season at John Wayne Airport
  • Navigating the Holiday Travel Season at John Wayne Airport
  • Navigating the Holiday Travel Season at John Wayne Airport

The holidays are fast approaching, and that means one thing for sure: plenty of crowded airports. If you’re booked at O.C.’s John Wayne Airport (JWA) flight code SNA for Thanksgiving travel, though, you’re ahead of the game what with its outstanding service, art-filled interiors, and more than enough food and drink options to enjoy while you wait.

“During this busy holiday season, visitors to JWA will experience the same friendly staff, superior guest amenities, and safe and secure environment they rely upon,” says Orange County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Lisa Bartlett.

Airports across the country are anticipating a record-setting year-end holiday travel season, and JWA is no different. Thanksgiving is one of the venue’s most heavily traveled holiday periods, and passengers flying between Friday, Nov. 18, and Monday, Nov. 28, are expected to encounter higher-than-normal passenger traffic. To help prepare, here are some travel tips that are sure to get you from Point A to Point B during the holidays with ease.

And, adds Bartlett, “Wherever you are traveling to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday, we wish you a safe and enjoyable trip!”

General Information

  • JWA travelers can visit for real-time flight status, parking availability, and road closures and construction activity near the airport.
  • All passengers flying out of JWA are encouraged to arrive 90 minutes to two hours before scheduled departure times for domestic flights and three hours for international flights to find parking, to check luggage and to go through the security screening checkpoint. Passengers who are members of TSA PreCheck can expedite the screening process in Terminals A, B and C.
  • Passengers are allowed one small carry-on bag, plus one personal item, as long as the carry-on bag fits airline dimensions. Check with individual airlines for specifics. For helpful information about the 3-1-1 liquids rule for carry-on bags and other travel tips from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) visit the TSA website.
  • “If You See Something, Say Something” — to report a suspicious object or activity in the Riley Terminal, dial “0” from a white courtesy phone to reach an operator, or dial 2-5000 to reach Airport Police Services, or you can notify an airport employee or a uniformed officer. Guests also can dial 949-252-5200 from a mobile device.


  • Curbside Valet Parking is located on the Departure (upper) Level between Terminals A and B, or in front of Terminal C, and is available for $30 per day.
  • Parking Structures A1, A2, B2 and C are adjacent to and directly across from the Riley Terminal at a rate of $2 per hour and $20 per day, with the first 15 minutes free for those dropping off and picking up passengers. The off-site Main Street Parking Lot at 1512 Main St. is $14 per day, with free shuttle service to and from the Riley Terminal every 15 minutes.
  • Travelers should plan ahead and visit the Parking Availability section on before arriving at the airport or call 949-252-5200 to inquire about real-time parking availability.

Passenger Pick-up/Drop-off

  • Drivers picking up passengers are encouraged to use the Cell Phone Waiting Lot or the two-hour parking spaces, located on the lower level of Parking Structures A1, B2 and C.Access to Terminal parking structures is available from the Departure (upper) Level only.
  • Color-coded and numbered columns along the white curb on the Arrival (lower) Level roadway make meeting arriving passengers easy. Column 14 also is a designated JWA Yellow Cab pickup site for Terminal C.
  • Transportation Network Companies Uber, Lyft and Wingz use the color-coded and numbered columns to pick up passengers via curbside on the Arrival (lower) Level roadway.

Additional Resources

  • International travelers should check the U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP)website to ensure they have appropriate travel documentation for visiting the U.S. Note: Passengers who are members of the Global Entry Trusted Traveler Programcan expedite their customs clearance into the U.S. at JWA. Passengers traveling to and from Vancouver, Canada, will clear customs in Canada.


  • Art Exhibits — Art is part of the travel experience at JWA, with exhibits situated throughout the Riley Terminal. From architectural design and dynamic and kinetic sculptures to contemporary and conventional presentations, why not make your time at the airport more stimulating and enjoyable by taking a few minutes to experience all of the art exhibits on display? Among them: “Flight of Ideas,” a large-scale 3-D sculpture by artists Beth Nybeck and Dick Jobe. Found above the baggage carousels in Terminal C, it’s composed of 21 aluminum and Plexiglas birds with wing spans ranging from 3 feet to 14 feet suspended on an “S” shaped structure. The wings of the birds display enlarged portions of multicolor aeronautical charts printed directly on the Plexiglas wing panels.
  • Concessions — You’ll find many familiar names when dining at JWA, some unique to O.C. The culinary offerings feature a range of options, from grab-and-go meals and snacks to breakfast, lunch and dinner in relaxed settings. Some of the popular establishments include an aviation-themed Ruby’s for everything from salads to burgers; Javi’s for authentic Mexican cuisine and beverages; Hobie Sand Bar for fresh Coastal-inspired fare and beer on tap; Anaheim Ducks Breakaway Bar & Grill, a sports-themed restaurant with a wraparound bar and great view of the runway; Vino Volo, a wine lounge with selections from around the world by the glass, in tasting flights or by the bottle; and Caterina’s for fine chocolates and other sweets.
  • Shopping — You’ll find all of your travel necessities, as well as items unique to O.C., at the airport’s many shopping destinations. Some of the popular options include Beachfront News, offering merchandise and apparel; Rip Curl, with the latest surf and beachwear; Brookstone, a gadget lover’s dream offering hard-to-find, yet essential, items; and Xpresspa, an exclusive full-service spa with health and beauty products and services such as manicures, facials, massage and hair styling.





Written by Visit Newport Beach

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