By OC Board of Supervisors Chairperson Lisa Bartlett
Orange County is known for its great climate, wonderful beaches and exciting attractions. It is what drives many of our visitors year-round, and also makes it a great place to live.
With such a large population and demand for travel, we are lucky to have John Wayne Airport (JWA) located conveniently in our county. John Wayne Airport serves as a transportation hub for visitors and Orange County residents who enjoy the convenience of travel.
John Wayne Airport has been working on a number of great enhancements that will increase the guest experience. The first major improvement is the new interactive digital wayfinding signage, which is aimed at making air travel more convenient.
The state-of-the-art and easy-to-use touchscreens, along with the smaller touchscreen devices, help our guests locate specific restaurants, retail concessions and amenities throughout the terminal. A traveler can look up a store, see the types of items sold there, and then even see how many footsteps and minutes it will take them to get there from their current location.
It is truly amazing technology that will help all travelers plan their time before boarding their flights.
Probably my favorite part about the new digital wayfinding transition has been the incorporation of mobile food orders. Through the new system, you can view menus, order meals for pickup, and even have your meal delivered to your gate.
We added features like this, because we know sometimes traveling can be a hassle, especially if you are traveling with a large group or family, or someone with certain disabilities. These improvements are all about making the experience of flying through our airport simpler, efficient, and accommodating.
Our airport has also developed a four-phase plan to bring new and exciting local food and beverage options. Talking to guests traveling through JWA, they always seem to want more options to eat and drink.
Recently, we have completed the first phase of the plan, which will bring in a slate of new local concepts to JWA. They are set to open in 2020.
These local concepts include TAPS Fish House & Brewery, Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop, Brodard Express and Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. All of these concessions will be in addition to what is currently available at JWA today.
John Wayne Airport has improved customer service through the implementation of free, high-speed Wi-Fi throughout the terminal; launching JWAlive, a music program featuring live acoustic guitar and piano performances in the terminal; and introducing Helping Hands, a personalized travel assistance program designed to ease the stress associated with airport travel for individuals with hidden disabilities, such as autism.
For two consecutive years, John Wayne Airport has been ranked as the highest-rated airport by J.D. Power for customer satisfaction among large airports in North America. This year, “The Points Guy,” a popular travel blogger, ranked JWA in the top 10 airports to travel through in the U.S., and JWA was also named “Best in the U.S.” by Frommer’s. Last year, our airport also won “2018 Best Airport in the U.S.” award from Money Magazine.
All of these accomplishments would not have been possible without the wonderful staff we have at the airport under the leadership of Chief Executive Officer Barry Rondinelle, who was named “2019 Airport Executive of the Year” by the Southwest Chapter of the American Association of Airport Executives.
As you can see, we have a lot to be excited and proud about at JWA. The stress of traveling can be burdensome, and the county and John Wayne Airport are making great strides in limiting most of those stresses so that your experience—and the experience of those traveling through our county—is enjoyable and memorable.
Lisa Bartlett is the chairperson of the Orange County Board of Supervisors. She was reelected in 2018.