hide OCgov.com quick access menu
show OCgov.com quick access menu
John Wayne Airport, Orange County
OCgov.com - County of Orange homepage
Bookmark and Share

travel tips

John Wayne Airport (JWA) offers the following travel tips to help passengers prepare for a safe and enjoyable air travel experience.

Familiarize yourself with John Wayne Airport

OCAIR.COM contains maps, Airport alerts and other pertinent travel information. To help you navigate your way around John Wayne Airport, we offer the following:

  • Directions - How easy is it to get and from to JWA?
  • Ground Transportation Map – Where are ground transportation services located?
  • Roadway and Parking Map – How easy it is to navigate the roadways and find parking?
  • Terminal Map - Where are airline check-in counters, baggage claim offices, gates, restaurants, shops, and other services located?
  • Traveler Services - Which services and amenities for passengers does the JWA Thomas F. Riley Terminal offer?

And once familiar with JWA, visit other destination/origin airports' websites via the Nonstop Destinations page.

Plan on Getting to the Airport Early

John Wayne Airport encourages travelers to plan ahead and arrive at the Airport 1-½-to-2 hours prior to departure time for domestic flights, and 3 hours for international flights. This will allow time to comfortably park and complete the check-in and security screening process, and will ensure you'll be at your gate in time to catch your flight. In the early morning you may require extra time due to the heavy travel volume.

Give yourself a break, come early and enjoy our new shops and restaurants. Get a sneak preview here: Restaurants | Shops

Check Flight Status and Track Your Flight

OCAIR.COM offers live flight status and tracking information. You may view a list of Arrivals and Departures and narrow down the results by entering your flight number, city and/or airline and get additional information about your flight. Family and loved ones can observe the flight route from the comfort of their home or while waiting at the Airport.   
View arrivals and departures

Be Prepared for Security Screening

TSA Pre✓™ Program

This program is available to eligible passengers at John Wayne Airport (JWA). Under TSA Pre✓™, U.S. citizens traveling domestically who are select Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines and US Airways frequent travelers or members of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Trusted Traveler programs and Canadian citizens traveling domestically in the United States who are members of NEXUS are eligible to participate and may receive expedited screening benefits. TSA Pre✓™ lanes are located in Terminals A, B and C at John Wayne Airport. Visit the TSA Pre✓™ website for more information.

Gate Access

All three security checkpoints at JWA, one in each Terminal (A, B and C), provide access to all gates. The checkpoints are operated by Transportation Security Administration (TSA) personnel responsible for the security screening process and checked baggage searches. A valid government-issued ID and boarding pass are required to pass through the security checkpoints (accommodations made for children without ID). If you are meeting a child, elderly, or disabled person requiring assistance at the gate, you must contact your airline in advance to make arrangements for a gate pass.

Body Scanners

The TSA uses Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) at John Wayne Airport. For more information about AIT including privacy and opt-out information and other frequently asked questions please visit www.tsa.gov.

When approaching the checkpoint, be prepared

Your boarding pass and ID's should be ready for inspection, outer garments and shoes must come off, any loose metal items should be placed in your carry-on, and laptop computers must be removed from bags and placed in a bin for screening. Do you want to simplify the screening process? Check out the TSA Pre✓™ Program.

Carry-on Items

All carry-on items must be screened at the security checkpoint.

Pack smart to get through security faster: Keep baggage organized by layering items; this will increase visibility for the security officers. You are allowed one carry-on bag and one personal item – such as a laptop computer, purse, small backpack, briefcase, or camera case – through security screening and onto the aircraft ("1+1" rule).

Bringing food or gift items home for the holidays?
Leave your gifts unwrapped. All gifts are subject to screening (including gifts in checked baggage). View TSA guidelines on traveling with food or gifts.

Traveling with battery-powered hobby items, toys, or equipment?
View the U.S. Department of Transportation’s rules regarding batteries.

Fireworks are prohibited.

Liquids, gels and aerosols311 for carryon (3-1-1 for carry-ons)
The amount of liquids, gels or aerosols you may carry through the security checkpoints is restricted by the TSA to 3.4 ounce (100ml) or smaller size containers of liquid or gel in 1 quart-size, clear plastic, zip-top bag allowing 1 bag per traveler placed in the security bin. If in doubt, put your liquids in checked baggage. Snow globes that appear to contain less than 3.4 ounces (approximately tennis ball size) will be permitted in carry-on baggage if the entire snow globe, including the base, is able to fit in the same one clear, plastic, quart-sized, re-sealable bag, as the passenger’s other liquids. Larger sizes may be packed in checked baggage.

Declare larger quantity of liquids: The items listed below are allowed in reasonable quantities exceeding 3.4 ounces and are not required to be in a zip-top bag. Passengers are requested to declare these items for inspection at the checkpoint:

  • Prescription and over-the-counter medications
  • Baby formula, breast milk and juice. View more information.
  • Liquids including water, juice, or liquid nutrition or gels for passengers with a disability or medical condition.

View more detailed information about TSA Permitted and Prohibited Items.

Watch Your Bags

Never leave your baggage unattended. Do not accept baggage or packages from others you do not know. If you see any unattended baggage or packages report them immediately by calling 2-5000.

Traveling with Children?

Medications, baby formula and food, breast milk, and juice are allowed in reasonable quantities exceeding 3.4 ounces (100ml) and are not required to be in the zip-top bag; however you must declare these items for inspection at the checkpoint. Please view the TSA tips for traveling with children to allow for a more stress-free screening process.

TSA Cares Helpline

Travelers with medical conditions and disabilities can call toll-free at 1-855-787-2227 prior to traveling to ask questions about screening policies, procedures and about what to expect at the security checkpoints. The helpline is staffed Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. until 6 p.m. PST, excluding federal holidays. Travelers who are deaf or hard of hearing can use a relay service to contact TSA Cares or can e-mail: TSA-ContactCenter@dhs.gov. Visit tsa.gov for more information.

Airline Check-in Options and Boarding Passes

Online Check-in

To save time at the Airport, visit your airline's website from the convenience of your home or mobile device. With a boarding pass and no baggage to check in, you may go directly to the security checkpoints. For international travelers, online check-in may not be available or may be limited, and a visit to the airline's ticket counter is recommended or required. View a list of airlines with their terminal location.

Use Curbside Check-in for Expedited Service at the Airport

Skycaps are available for selected airlines to assist with your checked baggage and boarding pass. This option bypasses the ticket counter and you can proceed directly to the security checkpoints after dropping off your bags at the curb. 

Curbside check-in service is offered by the following airlines:

  • American Airlines
  • Delta Airlines/Delta Connection
  • Southwest Airlines
  • United Airlines

Check-in and Print your Boarding Pass at a Self-service Kiosk in the Terminal

Avoid long lines and speed up your travel! For your convenience, self-service kiosks for most airlines are available throughout the ticket counter lobby in close proximity to all ticket counters. Self-service kiosks are not available for AirTran Airways and Interjet.

Airline Ticket Counters:

For more personalized customer service or international travel, the airline ticket counters may be your best or required option. Ticket counters are located on the Departure (upper) Level in Terminals A, B and C. View a list of airlines with their terminal location.

Bring your Government-issued Photo ID

A government-issued photo identification (ID) is required for the security screening process. Security personnel will check your ID and boarding pass at the entrance to the checkpoints. Having ID and boarding pass readily available will cut down on wait time in line. Children under the age of 18 do not require an ID. If traveling internationally, please read the Tips for International Travelers below.

Passenger Drop-off and Pick-up

Consider these extra tips for dropping off or picking up passengers: Park your car for an economical $2/hour in one of our Terminal parking structures. Two-hour parking spots are available on Level 1 of Parking Structures A1 (best option for Terminal A), B2 (best option for Terminal B and good option for Terminal C) and C (best option for Terminal C). All parking structures are accessible from the Departure (upper) Level only. (More details on parking...) Only ticketed passengers will be allowed beyond the security screening checkpoints. You can say your 'farewell' in the ticket counter area on the Departure (upper) Level, or greet your party in the baggage claim area on the Arrival (lower) Level. A popular meeting point for incoming passengers is the John Wayne Statue, adjacent to the car rental counters. Read here about the "Duke": John Wayne Statue.

Parking Options

John Wayne Airport's parking options include curbside Valet Parking, Terminal Parking (Parking Structures A1, A2, B2, and C), and off-site Main Street Parking. Parking Structures A1 and A2 are the best option for Terminal A, B2 is the best option for Terminal B and good option for Terminal C, and C is the best option for Terminal C. All parking structures are accessible from the Departure (upper) Level only. The Main Street lot is a more ecomical off-site parking option. View parking rates and more detailed information.

Ground Transportation Options

Ground transportation options at John Wayne Airport include door-to-door shuttles, hotel shuttles, limousines, rental cars, scheduled buses and taxis. These options conveniently connect the Airport to surrounding hotels, tourist attractions, businesses and residences.
View detailed information about Ground Transportation options.

Grab a Bite to Eat or Enjoy some Shopping

Arrive early to enjoy the new restaurants, bars and gift shops before you board your flight. Find their location and detailed descriptions at Restaurants | Shops.

Find your Gate

JWA has 20 commercial (Gates 2-22) and 6 commuter gates (Gates 1A, B, C and 22A, B, C), which are numbered from the north to the south. All gates can easily be accessed from any Terminal. View a map of the Departure (upper) Level.

Tips for International Travelers

JWA welcomes international travelers. Three airlines offer nonstop flights to and from Canada and Mexico. Please find below some important links to help you prepare for your international trip:

Welcome to the United States

Visa and Passport Requirements

passportThe U.S. Department of State offers information on international travel requirements, travel tips and country-specific information at TRAVEL.STATE.GOV.

Traveling from Canada

Flag of CanadaPassengers traveling south from Canada to the United States will be able to take advantage of the customs preclearance system in Canada. For faster service, NEXUS members flying to the United States are also now able to use NEXUS cards in designated security lines for pre-board screening at Vancouver International Airport.
More information about NEXUS...

Traveling to and from Mexico

Flag of CanadaPassengers traveling to and from Mexico are invited to download this brochure:
John Wayne Airport Guide to Mexico Travel
Bienvenidos A John Wayne Airport, Condado de Orange

Travelers Health Informationn

Tips on recommended immunizations and destination-specific health information for international travelers: CDC.GOV - Travelers Health

Programs to Expedite International Traveling

GLOBAL ENTRY (U.S. Customs and Border Protection):

Global Entry allows expedited U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States. Global Entry members flying into Orange County can now take advantage of this program at John Wayne Airport. Global Entry participants may also be eligible to receive expedited screening benefits via the TSA Pre✓™ program.

View the video below or visit the CBP Global Entry website for more information:

NEXUSFlag of Canada

Passengers traveling south from Canada to the United States will be able to take advantage of the customs preclearance system in Canada. For faster service, NEXUS members flying to the United States are also now able to use NEXUS cards in designated security lines for pre-board screening at Vancouver International Airport. More information about NEXUS...

Consulate Services

Flag of CanadaConsulate General of Canada Los Angeles
Flag of CanadaConsulado General de México en Los Angeles

Currency Exchange

John Wayne Airport does not offer currency exchange services.

The following services are located near the Airport:

City National Bank link

Orange County Airport Branch
18111 Von Karman Avenue, Suite 100, Irvine, CA 92612
(949) 223-4007

Travelex World Wide Money link

South Coast Plaza
3333 Bristol Street, Suite 1874, Costa Mesa, CA 92626
(714) 751-1203

Travelex World Wide Money link

Downtown Disney
1565 S. Disneyland Dr., Suite 104, Anaheim, CA 92802
(714) 502-0811