Seattle flight launches at Monterey Regional Airport

Flyers on the first flight from Monterey to Seattle were greeted with complimentary drinks and snacks on Thursday, each individually wrapped for COVID-19, safety of course.”People are excited leisure travel is picking up and we hope that this region can take advantage of that,” said Franco Finn with Alaska Airlines. Finn was onsite to celebrate the big day. The new service was scheduled to launch in June of 2020 but was delayed due to the pandemic. The airport has been working to bring a Seattle flight to Monterey for nine years and research shows it is a desirable connection for travelers.”It comes at a terrible time in the industry but we’re very optimistic that given time the industry will recover and this flight will be very popular,” said Carl Miller with the airport board. Miller said travel is down 70 percent from where it was this time last year at the Monterey Regional Airport. He does not expect business travel to recover anytime soon but sees opportunities for leisure travel to recover more quickly. Fellow board member Mary-Ann Leffel said airlines are trying to position themselves now for a strong recovery and many do not want to see competitors snapped up routes that will be profitable in the future. Finn said Alaska is already seeing leisure travel start to pick up and he thinks the new route will be desirable for visitors and residents of the Central Coast alike. “It is a snowball effect the more people fly and feel comfortable and safe, we are going to deliver that for sure, the more opportunities for leisure travel to come to areas like this,” said Finn. Seattle is a hub for Alaska and the connection opens up opportunities for fliers from Monterey to visit Hawaii and Costa Rica. Currently Californians are under a travel advisory. The California Health Department is strongly discouraging non-essential travel but there is no ban. There is also no requirement for incoming travelers to quarantine however, it is suggested they do so for 10 days upon arrival. Monterey County Supervisor Mary Adams said looking towards the future the flight could be one piece of the recovery puzzle for the county’s No. 2 industry, hospitality. As for the timing, under current covid restrictions and recommendations Adams said it will be up to each individual to determine when they feel safe to fly again. “I think it is up to each individual person how safe they feel when they are traveling, many people have already had the vaccine, so I think those people would have other things to consider,” said Adams. Adams said is hard to imagine a time when things will be back to normal but she envisions that when they do people will want to come to Monterey on vacation.”The airline that is bringing the flight into Seattle would not be doing so if they had not done the research that this would be a profitable move for them,” said Adams.Travelers flying for the first time in a year will notice big changes. Like most businesses airlines are requiring masks and distancing and have stepped up sanitation. Some destinations may also require covid testing and quarantining. Washington State issued recommends a 14-day quarantine for interstate and international travelers and has asked residents to stay close to home. Gov. Jay Inslee has also issued a 14-day quarantine requirement for anyone returning to Washington state after visiting the United Kingdom, South Africa and other countries where a new variant of the covid-19 has been circulating.

Flyers on the first flight from Monterey to Seattle were greeted with complimentary drinks and snacks on Thursday, each individually wrapped for COVID-19, safety of course.

“People are excited leisure travel is picking up and we hope that this region can take advantage of that,” said Franco Finn with Alaska Airlines.

Finn was onsite to celebrate the big day. The new service was scheduled to launch in June of 2020 but was delayed due to the pandemic. The airport has been working to bring a Seattle flight to Monterey for nine years and research shows it is a desirable connection for travelers.

“It comes at a terrible time in the industry but we’re very optimistic that given time the industry will recover and this flight will be very popular,” said Carl Miller with the airport board.

Miller said travel is down 70 percent from where it was this time last year at the Monterey Regional Airport. He does not expect business travel to recover anytime soon but sees opportunities for leisure travel to recover more quickly.

Fellow board member Mary-Ann Leffel said airlines are trying to position themselves now for a strong recovery and many do not want to see competitors snapped up routes that will be profitable in the future.

Finn said Alaska is already seeing leisure travel start to pick up and he thinks the new route will be desirable for visitors and residents of the Central Coast alike.

“It is a snowball effect the more people fly and feel comfortable and safe, we are going to deliver that for sure, the more opportunities for leisure travel to come to areas like this,” said Finn.

Seattle is a hub for Alaska and the connection opens up opportunities for fliers from Monterey to visit Hawaii and Costa Rica.

Currently Californians are under a travel advisory. The California Health Department is strongly discouraging non-essential travel but there is no ban. There is also no requirement for incoming travelers to quarantine however, it is suggested they do so for 10 days upon arrival.

Monterey County Supervisor Mary Adams said looking towards the future the flight could be one piece of the recovery puzzle for the county’s No. 2 industry, hospitality. As for the timing, under current covid restrictions and recommendations Adams said it will be up to each individual to determine when they feel safe to fly again.

“I think it is up to each individual person how safe they feel when they are traveling, many people have already had the vaccine, so I think those people would have other things to consider,” said Adams.

Adams said is hard to imagine a time when things will be back to normal but she envisions that when they do people will want to come to Monterey on vacation.

“The airline that is bringing the flight into Seattle would not be doing so if they had not done the research that this would be a profitable move for them,” said Adams.

Travelers flying for the first time in a year will notice big changes. Like most businesses airlines are requiring masks and distancing and have stepped up sanitation. Some destinations may also require covid testing and quarantining.

Washington State issued recommends a 14-day quarantine for interstate and international travelers and has asked residents to stay close to home. Gov. Jay Inslee has also issued a 14-day quarantine requirement for anyone returning to Washington state after visiting the United Kingdom, South Africa and other countries where a new variant of the covid-19 has been circulating.