You won't need a ticket to wait at the gate at Ontario's airport anymore. Here's why

Jessica De Nova Image
Tuesday, October 18, 2022
Ontario airport program lets non-flyers past security, wait at gate
Remember the days you could welcome or drop off loved ones right at the gate? A new visitor pass program at Ontario International Airport is letting people do just that.

ONTARIO, Calif. (KABC) -- Non-travelers were allowed to make their way past TSA at Ontario International Airport starting Monday -- allowing them a little extra time with their loved ones at the gate.

It's due to the ONT Plus Visitor Pass Program, and it's a free service.

Gloria and Rick Louk, who flew in from Texas Monday, said they thought it was a great idea.

"Especially when people are leaving - people you haven't seen for a long time and they're visiting. It just makes departure easier, I think," Gloria Louk said.

Emma Nole, who was on her way to Sacramento, agreed.

"You have some time to enjoy more, your family, and spend some money in there and, you know, it's a good idea," Nole said.

Kirby Gardner who was flying out of ONT for work said it would allow him more time with his family.

"My family come and I can get the last little hug before I take off. I'm going far so that would be perfect to do," Gardner said.

Those wanting to participate need a pass and government issued ID.

Visitors must apply online on the airport's website within seven days of their visit.

Dean Brown, ONT's public safety administrator, said visitors without a boarding pass will undergo the same screening as those flying out of the airport.

"You're vetted through Secure Flight, just like you would any other passenger getting on a plane and then once approved, you'd go through TSA screening, just like a passenger," Brown said.

John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana implemented a similar program last year -- OC AirPASS. Visitors there apply on site at the airport's information booth on the lower level.

Whether to get in a few more hugs, or shop and dine, most here agreed with the new program. The prices -- not so much.

"It's costly up here, so we try to eat before we come because they double the prices when you're traveling," Gardner said.

Gloria Louk said she would likely not use a pass for that purpose, but said it would be a great trip for a family with young kids.

"If you want to take the kids or the family to see the planes take off and do that kind of thing, that would be fun, too," Louk said.

The ONT Plus Visitor Program requires digital passes. Printed passes will not be accepted.