SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — It’s been over a decade since daily nonstop flights flew from the Santa Barbara Airport to San Diego.
That all changed on Thursday evening, as an Alaska Airlines plane took off from the tarmac en route to San Diego.
Visit Santa Barbara vice president James Minton says that this daily flight will be quite convenient for many locals looking to take a quick trip down south.
“The convenience of the Santa Barbara Airport and the convenience of the San Diego Airport both being very close to their respective downtowns, is really an amazing convenience for people traveling in both directions,” he said.
The Alaska Airlines’ flight only lasts an hour, allowing flyers to avoid driving in frustrating freeway traffic or even longer train rides down the coast.
The Embraer 175 will serve the route and has a capacity up to 76 passengers along with three classes of seating options.
Santa Barbara Airport director Henry Thompson says that this flight has been in the works for over a year and a half.
“This is the perfect way to get a quick trip down to San Diego,” he said. “Avoid the traffic and stress that comes with going through Los Angeles.”
Lisa Porteous is a customer service supervisor at Alaska Airlines.
“Who wants to sit in traffic for four hours if you can be on a plane and in one hour, you’re in San Diego,” she said.
As the weather warms up and COVID-19 restrictions keep rolling back, the daily flights are expected to fill up fast throughout the summer months.
“Everyday the demand just keeps increasing and increasing,” Porteous said. “So I think it’s going to be a very popular flight.”
“I expect it to be extremely popular,” Thompson said. “We’re connecting two beach cities together.”
These flights are also affordable, as some trips cost only $39 one-way.
“Some of the airfare here have rivaled some of the rates we’ve seen on Amtrak,” Minton said.
“At this time, you’ll spend more on gas than you will taking a trip down through Alaska Airlines,” Thompson concluded.
This will be the third daily direct flight for Alaska Airlines out of Santa Barbara.
The flight from Santa Barbara will be at 6:15 p.m. to San Diego at 7:17 p.m. The flight from San Diego will be from 4:30 p.m. to Santa Barbara at 5:35 p.m.
The Santa Barbara Airport is also celebrating its new services in June every Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. with Dave’s Dogs on-site at the Terminal.
Santa Barbara Airport will continue to enforce safe air travel that includes asking passengers to wear face coverings, wash hands regularly, keep physical distancing along with others.
To book your ticket to and from San Diego, click here.