Ontario Airport (ONT) is a convenient gateway to Southern California, serving over 8 million passengers annually. If you are one of them and you have a long layover at ONT, you might be tempted to leave the airport and explore the nearby attractions. But is it worth it? And how can you do it safely and efficiently? In this article, we will answer these questions and give you some tips on how to make the most of your long layover at Ontario Airport.
Check Your Layover Duration
The first thing you need to do is to check how long your layover is. This will determine whether you have enough time to leave the airport and come back in time for your next flight. As a general rule, you need at least four hours between your flights to have a reasonable chance of leaving the airport and returning without any hassle. However, this also depends on other factors, such as the traffic, the distance to your destination, and the availability of transportation options.
If your layover is less than four hours, it might not be worth leaving the airport, as you risk missing your next flight or stressing yourself out. You can still enjoy your time at ONT by relaxing at one of the lounges, grabbing a bite at one of the restaurants, or browsing the shops. You can also use the free Wi-Fi or charge your devices at one of the outlets.
If your layover is more than four hours, you have more flexibility to explore the surrounding area, but you still need to plan ahead and keep track of time. You should also check the status of your next flight and any possible delays or changes. You should also factor in enough time to get back to the airport, go through security, and board your next flight. A good rule of thumb is to be back at the airport at least two hours before your departure time.
Choose Your Destination
The next thing you need to do is to choose where you want to go and what you want to do during your layover. Ontario Airport is located in San Bernardino County, California, about 38 miles east of downtown Los Angeles and 23 miles west of downtown San Bernardino. There are many attractions and activities within a short drive from the airport, such as museums, gardens, hiking trails, and more. Here are some of the possible destinations you can visit during your layover at ONT:
- Planes of Fame Air Museum: If you are interested in aviation history, this museum is a must-see. It showcases over 150 historic aircrafts, some of which are still flying. You can see rare planes from World War II, Korea, and Vietnam, as well as learn about the history of aviation. The museum also hosts special events and air shows throughout the year. The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and admission is $15 for adults and $6 for children. It is located about 3 miles north of ONT on Merrill Avenue.
- Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum: If you are interested in American politics, this museum is a great place to learn about the life and legacy of the 37th president of the United States. You can see exhibits on Nixon’s childhood, political career, and presidency, as well as visit his birthplace, grave, and helicopter. The museum also features interactive displays, multimedia presentations, and original artifacts. The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and admission is $21 for adults and $10 for children. It is located about 25 miles west of ONT on Yorba Linda Boulevard.
- Fullerton Arboretum: If you are looking for a peaceful and natural escape, this botanical garden is a perfect choice. It covers 26 acres and features over 4,000 plants from around the world. You can stroll through various gardens, such as the Mediterranean Garden, the Desert Garden, and the Woodland Garden, as well as enjoy the wildlife and scenery. The arboretum also offers guided tours, educational programs, and special events. The arboretum is open daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and admission is free. It is located about 28 miles west of ONT on Associated Road.
- Ice House Canyon Trail: If you are looking for an adventurous and challenging hike, this trail is a great option. It offers a scenic and rewarding adventure in the San Gabriel Mountains. The trail is about 7.5 miles round trip and takes you through a forested canyon with streams, waterfalls, and views of Mount Baldy. The trailhead is located on Mount Baldy Road and parking is free. It is located about 20 miles north of ONT on Mount Baldy Road.
These are just some of the possible destinations you can visit during your layover at ONT. You can also check out other attractions in nearby cities like Rancho Cucamonga, Upland, Chino Hills, Pomona, Claremont, or Riverside. You can use online resources like TripAdvisor or Yelp to find more options and reviews.
Arrange Your Transportation
The final thing you need to do is to arrange your transportation from the airport to your destination and back. There are several transportation options available at ONT, such as bus, taxi, car rental, or ride-hailing. Depending on your budget, preference, and destination, you can choose the best option for your layover. However, you should also factor in the traffic conditions, especially during peak hours, and allow enough time to get back to the airport and go through security. Here are some of the transportation options you can use at ONT:
- Bus: Omnitrans provides public bus service in San Bernardino County. You can catch Route 61 or Route 80 from the airport to various locations in Ontario, Rancho Cucamonga, Fontana, Pomona, or Montclair. The fare is $1.75 per ride or $5 for a day pass. You can find the bus stops at the curbside outside baggage claim areas in both terminals. You can also use online tools like Google Maps or Moovit to plan your trip and find the best routes and schedules.
- Taxi: There are several taxi companies that operate at ONT. You can find them at the curbside outside baggage claim areas in both terminals. The fare depends on the distance and traffic conditions, but you can expect to pay around $2.85 per mile plus a $3 airport surcharge. You can also use online tools like TaxiFareFinder or World Taximeter to estimate your fare and compare different companies.
- Car rental: There are several car rental agencies that operate at ONT. You can find them at the consolidated rental car facility located on Haven Avenue near Terminal 2. You can also book your car online in advance for better rates and availability. Some of the car rental companies at ONT are Alamo, Avis, Budget, Enterprise, Hertz, National, and Thrifty. You can use online tools like Kayak or Expedia to compare different deals and options.
- Ride-hailing: You can also use ride-hailing apps like Uber or Lyft to get a ride from or to ONT. You can request your ride from your smartphone and meet your driver at designated pickup zones outside baggage claim areas in both terminals. The fare depends on the demand and surge pricing, but you can estimate it using the app before you book. You can also use online tools like RideGuru or Up Hail to compare different services and prices.
By choosing the best transportation option for your layover, you can save time and money and enjoy your trip more.
Leaving ONT during a long layover can be a great way to make the most of your time and see some of the attractions and activities in the area. However, you need to plan ahead and consider how long your layover is, where you want to go, and how you will get there and back. By doing so, you can enjoy your layover without missing your next flight or stressing yourself out. Have a great layover!