The few, the proud, the ONT travelers

Loyal? Stubborn? Whichever, I flew in and out of ONT for my vacation. They were so happy to have me, my first flight was canceled in an effort to keep me there longer. Sigh. Wednesday’s column has the details.

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  • sonofsmog

    fly out of Ontario all the time. Cost is not really much of an object since it’s business travel. My main concern is the total flight time or number of connections, but even with less direct flights the total travel time ends up being about the same since driving to LAX in the morning is a nightmare. I would rather avoid the aggravation.

    No numbers in the terminals? I hadn’t noticed.

    But if you want an example of complete negligence on the behalf of LAX look at the pitiful arrival departure monitors in the terminals. Ontario has blurry CRT’s with burn in that look like they were made in the 80’s, and different ones for each airline. Meanwhile the Ontario Airport Hotel (formerly the Hilton) has a large nice modern LCD in their lobby that shows ALL of the flights with little logos for each carrier LIKE EVERY OTHER MODERN AIRPORT.

    • SeeSaw

      You could have an interesting conversation with a family member of mine, who seems to always be in the air on business. He could not get a flight from Ont. to Portland that did not require a two-hour layover midway–a normal flight from Ont. to Portland should take about one and one-half hours.
      Shame on LA! Sell that airport back to Ontario!

  • DebB

    It’s been a long time since I’ve flown anywhere, but I’d choose ONT over any other airport. It’s close, it’s less crowded, more familiar.

    I’m curious about something. Did LA own ONT when the new terminals were built? The new complex cost a lot of money – why did they spend that money if they weren’t going to support the airport better? And why are they so resistant to letting Ontario take it over – are they trying to force us to go to LAX?

    • SeeSaw

      I believe they made the decision to let LAX buy the airport sometime in the 80’s. Very bad decision! The new terminals are beautiful and this airport should be bustling! If LA doesn’t want to do that, it should give it up!

      • davidallen909

        1985, although LA was operating the airport and essentially controlled it since 1967. The terminals opened in ’97, I believe.

        To be fair, LA argues the airport is dying on its own, and anyway, leadership changes and priorities change, often a lot quicker than the decade or more time lag between building the terminals and letting the airport languish.

  • SeeSaw

    David, was your flight cancellation due to weather conditions? Just wondered, because years ago I was given to understand that the airlines take responsibility for everything but the weather. (If the cancellation was a decision other than because of the weather, you should get some remuneration for your trouble.) Years ago, my husband and I were scheduled to fly to Spokane, via a stopover at SF. There was fog, and our flight was delayed for several hours. We arrived in SF too late to catch our connecting flight to Spokane. The airline shuttled us to a beautiful hotel in Redwood City for overnight–we had to pay for it ourselves and it was so late, and we were so tired, we couldn’t even enjoy it. My husband had talked me into checking my utility case and I did not even have a toothbrush–last time that will ever happen. And, of course, we also had to pay for our first night’s missed hotel reservation in Spokane.

    • davidallen909

      I said the belly of the plane was scraped from its previous flight, but why that happened, no one knew. I didn’t think to ask for any perks, this being my first time with a cancellation. Since they got me on a flight the same afternoon, from the same airport, I didn’t need anything for my troubles, really, certainly not a hotel room.

      Your experience sounds really inconvenient!

      • SeeSaw

        Sorry. I was so caught up in recalling my own experience, I failed to recall your plane’s belly scrape. I would certainly want to know if there was any penetration to the fuselage. I have never liked to fly since 9/11. I hope the one you eventually went out on was a different plane.

  • Richard_Pietrasz

    The days of the old terminal were many of the best, even if one had to use the stairs in and out of the plane. It was a faster to go through ONT to the east coast, even if meant a plane change at a hub. I remember the outside baggage claim being so quick that one night, when I stopped to pee on the way there, they had already taken the unclaimed bags to the office (which fortunately was still open).

    I flew out of ONT a lot in the 80s and early 90s, and St Louis was a frequent non-stop destination for TWA (it was the hub). I did miss a connection due to weather at STL. Flights were delayed landing, but not taking off, and I had only a few minutes to go from one arm of the U shaped terminal to the other. When I got to the gate, it was not only closed, but no agents were available to rebook late arrivals. I ended up having to crash the VIP lounge to get an agent. I was not surprised when TWA went under not that long after.

    One of my weirdest flights was a return flight routed through LAX. We flew a near empty 727 to ONT one night. The plane probably needed to be at ONT in the morning, anyway.

    Another strange one was a flight from LAX to Seoul. We boarded a 737, which has nowhere near the range to get there, with a stop at SFO. Sensibly, that plane was a 747, but, even though it was a continuing flight (same number), it was a very tight connection with a long walk. They were about to close the gate even though I walk pretty fast when I want to. While I was waiting to board at LAX, pop musician Christopher Cross was sitting in the row opposite, discussing concert details with his roadies.

    • davidallen909

      Thanks for the trip (nonstop, rerouted, and others) down memory lane, Rich.