Orange County (SNA)

SNA terminal.

John Wayne Airport

Santa Ana/Orange County, California, United States

Airport #107 · First visited 27 March 2023

John Wayne Airport was great for watching planes while waiting for my flight. With a linear terminal parallel to one of the shortest jet runways in the country, the whole terminal had a great view of planes taking off or landing at nearly every gate.

A Frontier jet just about to land, with a Breeze jet parked at a gate and an American jet on the ramp in the foreground.

A Frontier jet landing at SNA, as seen from the airside of the terminal.

With such a short runway, the takeoffs were pretty thrilling (and loud!). To get to takeoff speed as quickly as possible, many jets would need to hold their brakes and spin up engines to full power, before releasing the brakes and practically launching down the runway. When it was my own turn to depart, I made sure to put Ride of the Valkyries on my headphones as I hung on for one of the sportiest airline takeoffs I’ve had.