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Imagine if you will climbing on board an aircraft at Grand Junction Regional Airport and flying directly to an airport only 20 minutes from Disneyland. That service is coming up in February 2021.

Grand Junction Regional Airport shared a press release this morning with details regarding non-stop flights from Grand Junction to John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana, California. According to the press release, this service will be offered year-round, with flights leaving twice per week.

According to Google Maps, the total distance of the flight comes in at 786 miles. Flight time is estimated at three hours and 20 minutes. Growing up, we traveled from Grand Junction to Disneyland all the time. Travel time: two days, in a 1976 Monte Carlo with an 8-track player and a CB radio. Essentially, the definition of a living Hell.

Personally, I've never flown into this particular airport. According to Wikipedia, John Wayne Airport is a commercial and general aviation airport serving Orange County and the Greater Los Angeles area. The airport is located in an unincorporated area of Orange County, and it is owned and operated by the county.

I felt a poor man's test run was in order. After a quick visit to Allegiant Air's webpage, I planned a trip leaving Grand Junction on February 12, 2021, and returning on February 15, 2021. As of 11:30 a.m. this morning (Tuesday, November 17), there were only four seats left for those dates. The cost outbound from Grand Junction was $106, and the return flight's cost was $90. Sold!

Google Maps

Is Grand Junction the only community picking up this route? Not at all. The Daily Sentinel reports seven other communities will pick up non-stop flights to John Wayne Airport (with varying rates).

  • Boise, Idaho
  • Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Medford, Oregon
  • Missoula, Montana
  • Phoenix, Arizona
  • Provo, Utah
  • Reno, Nevada

This is a game-changer. I've avoided flying to L.A. because of the hassle. Three-plus hours in the air, plus the time spent running around at the larger airports, made the idea of driving all the more palatable. The 12-hour driving time wasn't all that bad, not with newer cars and the opportunity to stop off in Las Vegas for a few drinks and the all-you-can-eat buffet.

Direct air service to Santa Ana begins February 12, 2021. Something to think about for the traveler on your shopping list. Then again, if things are functioning at all three months from now, this might be the getaway you've been looking for.