Readers hoping for JWA flights to Mexico

Warner column: OC Register readers have a long list of places they hope will end up as destinations for John Wayne Airport's effort to get an airline or two to start up service to Mexico.Published: Nov. 4, 2011 Updated: 9:17 p.m.

By GARY A. WARNER / Register Travel Editor
Puerto Vallarta. Cabo. Mexico City. Jalisco.
I've spent a good amount of time over the past week talking and messaging with readers who are excited about the possibility of nonstop flights from Orange County to Mexico. A few readers would prefer to see no flights at all from Mexico, but that goes with territory anytime you open up a discussion about our neighbor to the south

The wish list is appropriate because the county is trying to make the flights happen – and soon. This month, the Board of Supervisors will consider a plan for discounted rent at John Wayne Airport as a reward for any airline that starts flying to Mexico.
The reason: The new Customs and Border Protection facility at the airport will be idle when Terminal C opens Nov. 14.

I wrote recently that Cabo San Lucas, Loreto and Mazatlan were among the likely destinations, given the local market and the amount of time it takes to drive to Los Angeles or San Diego, the two closest airports with a large number of flights to Mexico.

Readers thought the list was a little short.
"We would absolutely love to go to Mexico by the way of John Wayne Airport," wrote Bill and Donna Spaulding. "Mostly to Puerto Vallarta. We travel there a couple of times a year and would love not having to go to LAX. We could almost be in 'PV' by the time we go through all of the hoops getting to LAX, the lines, etc. Going to LAX from Newport Beach takes us almost all day for just a three-hour flight. We really hope this happens."

Gordon Jones said Alaska Airlines flying to Puerto Vallarta was tops on his list. "Can't believe you left out the obvious choice," he said.

Linda Esping of Anaheim would like to see choices beyond the usual Mexican resorts.
"My husband and I spend every January in Zihuatanejo, Mexico. We would love to have a direct flight out of SNA. Right now, Alaska Airlines is our only option, so we have to fly out of LAX and go a day early and spend the night in El Segundo on a Park N Fly package."

Dave Lieberman had a long wish list and said an airline might consider offering short-haul flights as a way for travelers to hop over the epically long lines at border crossings such as San Ysidro.
"Besides the ones you mentioned: Culiacán. Puerto Vallarta. Even Mexicali. Zacatecas (Can you imagine how many of Anaheim's Zacatecanos would use it??)" he wrote. "Eventually, the new airport in Ensenada, if they ever build it. It would be faster to fly, even with customs and advance check-in, than to wait to cross the border in a car or on foot."

I told Lieberman that Ensenada was intriguing. As for that flight being too short, I can remember flying from Long Beach to San Diego on PSA.

Diego Zepeda voted for Guadalajara. Other suggestions in Mexico included Morelia in Michoacán and Guadalajara in Jalisco.

"It would be nice to travel back home from a close-by airport!," emailed a reader.
Margie Gostyla agreed with my list: "nice No. 1 position for Cabo!"

A familiar lament from readers was their dislike of having to go to Los Angeles to get to their favorite resorts.
Mary and Dale Rayner of Laguna Woods would be ready to pony up for an O.C.-Mexico flight
"We go to Cabo every January and find that we go now to San Diego instead of LAX," they wrote. "JWA is just 15 minutes for us and so much easier to get in and out. ... So please let them know that Cabo would be great!

Roger Rohrdanz says the worst part of his annual trip with his wife, Judi, from Orange County to Puerto Vallarta was the drive up to LAX.

"It would be great if we could fly nonstop from John Wayne," he said.
A reader named E.J. had a simple plea: "Please don't send me to LAX anymore!"
Some readers wondered about flying beyond Mexico.

Dave Grupenhagen of Fountain Valley hoped that Costa Rica might be within JWA's reach – perhaps with one of the new-generation 787s from Boeing with the big picture windows.
But Jenny Wedge, a spokeswoman for John Wayne Airport, said the airport had looked into destinations and Costa Rica is just outside of the range of aircraft that can fly from Orange County. As for the 787, both Wedge and a Boeing representative in Seattle said the 787 wouldn't be able to operate from Orange County's short runway.

Another reader who said his experience went back to the days of Bonanza Airlines had a solution for the problem: an airline that would fly to Mexico City as a hub for other flights to Central and even South America.
"With heavy traffic to Mexico a consideration, perhaps an intermediate stop in Mexico City or such, both north- and southbound, maybe another stop in Central America would enhance service from Orange County. Given the vast array of connections available from Orange County to everywhere in the U.S., SNA might be a great success." The reader suggested that COPA airlines might be a good match for the Mexico-plus strategy.

While Mexico sounds great, Tim and Sharon Kubrik wrote to echo a common lament – from both my readers and myself.

"We would like to request that JWA bring back more direct flights to Hawaii," the Kubriks wrote. "We miss Aloha Airlines that made it so easy to get to Hawaii and back home. Direct flights to and from Oahu, Maui or Hawaii would be greatly appreciated."

It all sounds good to me. I plan on being on the first Mexico flight out of Orange County to write about the experience. And if somebody adds a few more flights to Hawaii, well, I think I might sign up for those too.

Contact the writer: travel@ocregister.com
Source: http://www.ocregister.com/articles/mexico-325595-flights-county.html

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