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Alaska Airlines provides creative way to maintain service at San Luis Obispo County and Santa Barbara Airports

Alaska Airlines SLO Airport
Dave Alley / KEYT

SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY, Calif. - The dramatic decline in travel during the COVID-19 pandemic has caused many flight cancellations across the globe. As the airline industry looks for ways to provide service during this strenuous time, the San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport (SBP) announced that Alaska Airlines is offering two flights per day from San Luis Obispo to its hub in Seattle (SEA)—and also to Santa Barbara (SBA).

Beginning this week, Alaska Airlines will combine its SBP and SBA passengers onto one plane as a “tag flight,” stopping in SBP to drop off passengers before continuing on to SBA. The unusual twist allows Alaska Airlines to serve both regions in an efficient manner.

“We’re grateful that Alaska Airlines has been creative in determining how to serve its passengers during the pandemic,” said Kevin Bumen, A.A.E., C.A.E., Director of Airports. “By sharing equipment, we can ensure that both the San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara communities maintain the ability to carry out essential travel.”

SBP says these operations mirror those offered by Alaska Airlines in southeast Alaska. Often referred to as a “milk run,” a single plane may make multiple stops before returning to its hub, delivering milk and other necessities to the state’s small communities.

In this situation, the flight will depart from SEA to SBP and SBA with passengers for both cities. Upon arrival at SBP, the SBA-bound passengers will stay onboard and continue their journey after the SBP passengers deplane. In SBA, passengers will board the flight to SEA but will make a stop in SBP along the way. For travelers to and from SBP, there will be no real change in how the flight operates.

Below is the updated flight schedule:

FLIGHTDEPARTARRIVEDEPARTARRIVE
3380SEA 8:20 a.m.SBP 10:45 a.m.SBP 11:25 a.m.SBA 12:00 p.m.
3381SBA 12:40 p.m.SBP 1:15 p.m.SBP 1:55 p.m.SEA 4:20 p.m.

As of now, the flights are scheduled to follow this pattern from April 10 through May 31.

In the wake of nonessential travel restrictions, Alaska Airlines has also suspended San Luis Obispo’s daily flight to San Diego for the time being and has deferred its launch of service between San Luis Obispo and Portland, Oregon.

For more information, or to book a flight, visit sloairport.com.

Coronavirus / Health / Lifestyle / San Luis Obispo County

Jessica Brest

Jessica Brest is a digital journalist and assignment editor at KEYT | KCOY | KKFX.