Ontario International Airport (ONT) is the latest in a select number of airports to return to 20th century practices by allowing travellers to be met at the gate. The south Californian transport hub, located around 56 kilometres (35 miles) east of Los Angeles, is marketing the move, dubbed ONT+, in sentimental fashion.
“We all remember the excitement of being able to meet arriving family and friends as they get off the plane,” said Dean Brown, the ONT Public Safety Administrator, in a press release.
ONT+ is a way to bring back some of that experience from decades ago, in a safe and secure manner.Dean Brown, the ONT Public Safety Administrator
Non-travellers wishing to access the post-security side of the airport will need to apply for an online visitor pass within seven days of their trip. If their application is successful, approval will come through by email and a digital-only ticket, accompanied by photo-ID, will then be able to be used to allow non-travelling airport visitors to go through checkpoints and use facilities such as restaurants and shops on the secure side of the terminal.
ONT+ Visitor Pass allows you to:— FlyONT (@flyONT) October 19, 2022
✅ Meet family/friends at the gate
✅ Check out the food and shopping in the terminals
✅ Geek out to some premium aircraft viewing
Learn more about the program at https://t.co/lkVxdZPfsG pic.twitter.com/pIIM2m4Kbv
According to Global Traveler data, Ontario International is the fastest growing airport in the United States, serving over twenty other major hubs in the U.S., Mexico, Central America and Taiwan. 2022 has been a good year for the locally-owned airport, with passenger totals at their highest since 2008 and pre-pandemic passenger levels surpassed every month for the past six months. It also has a spot in the top 10 cargo airports in North America.
“ONT+ is another example of how Ontario International is always at the forefront of amenities and services that can enhance the customer experience,” Alan D. Wapner, president of the Ontario International Airport Authority Board of Commissioners and Ontario’s vice Mayor said in a statement.
Ontario International is not alone in its return to the pre 9/11 practice. Other US airports looking to enhance customer experience with similar post-security access for visitors include Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, Detroit Metropolitan Airport, Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, and fellow California airport, John Wayne Airport in Orange County. All require visitors to apply for their passes in advance and undergo standard TSA screening.