Santa Barbara Airport officials announced on Thursday that daily non-stop flights to Las Vegas and Oakland are coming later this year.
The new flight service from Contour Airlines will start on October 16, 2018.
Introductory prices will start at $79 each way to Oakland, and $59 each way to Las Vegas. Airport officials say Contour will offer low fares with a “premium” passenger experience.
“The onboard product includes comfortable leather seating with expanded legroom in every row and complimentary beverage and snack service for all passengers,” said a statement from the Santa Barbara Airport.
“We see an incredible opportunity in Santa Barbara to provide point-to-point service to this high-demand, short-haul markets,” said Matt Chaifetz, Chief Executive Officer of Contour. “Santa Barbara residents can now avoid a long and unpredictable drive to the Los Angeles-area gateways and fly from their convenient hometown airport.”
The planes have 30 seats, and overhead baggage storage. “We have no checked bag fees. You will never pay for a snack on board, everything is complimentary. We allow people to bring their pets free of charge as long as they fit under the seat, ” said Chaifetz.
The flight from Oakland actually starts its day in Cresent City, bringing passengers from that California community to the bay area. They go back in the evening. In between the plane is back in service on the Santa Barbara routes.
For years, Central Coast passengers have been looking at options to what they called “pricey” flights to San Francisco. The Oakland connection pencils out better. “So six hours of driving versus 40 minutes of flying, big difference. People’s time is valuable so I think that’s one factor that comes into play, ” said Bryant Francis, the Director of Aviation for the Oakland Port Authority. Once you arrive, “you can get to downtown San Francisco in about 30 minutes. We have connections through BART.”
Chaifetz said the research had already been done for the Santa Barbara area market which includes travelers from Santa Ynez, Lompoc, and Ventura County who have shown a demand for flights locally instead of dealing with the Los Angeles issues. “I don’t think anyone doubts that there is. It is just a question of having the right equipment in the right place, and the crews to do it and we have all of those things.”
Oakland is a daily flight. Las Vegas is every day except Wednesday and Saturday.
From Oakland, a check of the services offered there, shows low cost carriers that could easily provide a discounted flight all the way to the east coast.
Tickets are available for purchase on Contour’s website contourairlines.com, by calling the Contour call center at 888-332-6686, and through local and online travel agencies.
Contour Airlines’ Las Vegas and Oakland service brings the number of direct flight destinations at the Santa Barbara Airport to nine, including Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Phoenix, San Francisco, and Seattle.