Alaska Airlines' inaugural flight from San Diego received a wet welcome when it touched down at Fresno-Yosemite International Airport on Monday morning. "It was pretty weird because they were throwing water at us. We didn't really know what was going on," said passenger Carlos Balderrama.
The aircraft water cannon salute marked the launch of two daily non-stop flights to and from San Diego. Alaska Airlines is using Horizon Air to provide two arrival and two departing flights from the airport. "We've needed this for years because it's quite an ordeal getting to Fresno from San Diego," said passenger Nancy Clement. "You either have to go to Los Angeles and then down to Fresno or you have to take a bus and two trains."
Airport officials say record revenues over the last three years and high-demand enticed the airliner to expand its services. "San Diego was one of the most requested destinations from our community. And now with the new service on Alaska Airlines, passengers in our community will be able to reach Southern California in little over an hour," said Vikkie Calderon from FYI Airport.
The one-hour and 35 minute flight arrived twenty minutes ahead of schedule - saving passengers some travel time. "It's a 6 to 10 hour drive. This way it was an hour and 20 minutes so it was great," said Clement.
The new service is just the first of two new recent destinations added to the airport. Starting July 1st, travelers can experience paradise flying directly out of Fresno. Allegiant Air will offer a once a week non-stop flight from Fresno to Honolulu, Hawaii. "We're always talking to airlines about expanding service or new airlines adding routes to Fresno," said Calderon. "It's a continuous conversation that we have with the airlines throughout the year."
The new services have passengers wanting more convenient getaways to new destinations. But despite the hoopla over Monday's inaugural arrival, the flights haven't been completely booked. Airport officials expect seats to start filling up fast as more people become aware of the service with one-way flights starting as low as $68.