Travelers now have a choice of nonstop flights from Spokane to San Diego from two airlines.
Sunday marked the inaugural flight of Southwest Airlines’ latest addition to its nonstop lineup out of Spokane International Airport. Alaska Airlines began a nonstop flight to San Diego in October.
“This is such a gift,” said Vicky Johnson, of Laclede, Idaho, while waiting to board Southwest’s 11:30 a.m. flight.
Traveling to see family won’t take all day anymore, Johnson said. She usually drives for about an hour and a half from Laclede to Spokane, stays at a hotel, then takes a flight the next day, which usually involves a layover.
Now she expects to see her family in San Diego in just a few hours. Johnson has been flying to San Diego for 28 years to visit her daughter and grandchildren. She plans to attend a high school graduation and celebrate a grandchild’s birthday when she arrives.
More competition makes it easier for people to travel, said airport CEO Larry Krauter. It will help with connectivity in general, with more connections to Southwest hubs reducing layover time and complications that can lead to delays, he said.
Of the 143 seats available on Southwest’s inaugural flight, 126 seats were taken, he said.
“It’s just more efficient,” Krauter said.
Southwest also offers nonstop flights from Spokane to Boise, Oakland, Sacramento, San Jose, Las Vegas, Phoenix and Denver.
Passengers arriving for the 11:30 flight were surprised with gift bags, cookies and coffee, as the celebration of the inaugural flight coincided with Southwest’s 25th anniversary in Spokane.
Greg Facer, a new-store coordinator for Petco, said he constantly travels for his job and always tries to take direct flights when he can. Petco is headquartered in San Diego, and he said the new direct flight will probably save him several hours of travel time.
Sean O’Donnell, of Valley, Washington, said he is going to San Antonio to help a relative move.
This direct flight will cut his layovers in half – a pleasant surprise.
“I thought there was going to be a stop in Seattle. But nope,” he said.
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