November 02, 2022

This Airport Will Let You Meet Your Loved Ones at the Gate, Like We Used to Do


You no longer need to be flying somewhere to get past security at Ontario International Airport near Los Angeles.

The airport's operators recently announced the ONT+ program, which allows anyone to apply for a pass to get through the TSA checkpoints. That means visitors can drop off or meet family and friends directly at their flight's gate or even just come to the concourse for shopping and dining.

“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,” the airport's public safety administrator, Dean Brown, said in a statement.

How does ONT+ work?

The program is free, but nontravelers have to apply for a pass on the airport's website within seven days of their visit. If approved, they'll receive their pass by email and can present it along with TSA-compliant ID at the security checkpoint. Passholders are still subject to standard TSA screening.

According to the airport, only digital passes will be accepted. Printed versions are not valid.

What will ONT+ passholders have access to?

According to a press release, the ONT+ pass will allow visitors to dining and retail concessions in the airport's passenger terminals, and will also enable them to accompany travelers to or from their gates.

“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 mayor pro tem of the city of Ontario, said in a statement.

Do other airports allow nontravelers past security?

Yes. Although seeing someone off at the gate or going for a drink with a side of planespotting in an airport bar may seem like a practice relegated to the 20th century, programs like ONT+ are available at a few other airports around the country. These include:

  • Seattle-Tacoma International Airport
  • Tampa International Airport
  • Detroit Metropolitan Airport
  • Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport
  • John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California

All of those airports' programs also require visitors to apply for their passes in advance and undergo standard TSA screening.

Copyright 2022 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Satellite Information Network, LLC. All rights reserved. From https://www.usatoday.com. By Zach Wichter, USA TODAY.

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