Goodbye, Vegas. Hello, San Diego.
That's the word from Alaska Airlines, which will end its Santa Rosa-to-Las Vegas service in June and start daily flights to San Diego.
The Seattle-based carrier also is adding a third flight from Santa Rosa to Los Angeles for the summer, it said Wednesday.
Travelers at Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport said they're excited about the new San Diego service.
"That'll be nice," said Chris Weer of Ukiah, who was boarding an Alaska flight to Portland on Wednesday.
"It's more convenient than going from the city," said Weer, who would like to fly from Santa Rosa to San Diego for pleasure.
"It sounds great to me," said Karen Kendall of Sebastopol, also headed to Portland. "I have relatives there."
But Sonoma County will miss the Las Vegas connection, said Alaska passenger Maria Lopez of Healdsburg. "A lot of people like to go there," she said.
Alaska currently has five flights a day from Santa Rosa to Los Angeles, Seattle, Portland and Las Vegas.
Of those destinations, Las Vegas had the lowest ridership during the first six months of 2011, according to airport officials. Route breakdowns aren't available yet for the second half of the year.
"Alaska struggled to make it profitable," said airport manager Jon Stout. The carrier couldn't compete with cheaper flights to Las Vegas from Oakland and San Francisco, he said.
In June, Alaska carried 3,930 passengers between Santa Rosa and Las Vegas. The flights to Portland and Seattle each carried more than 4,000, while Los Angeles flights had nearly 8,000 passengers.
"We are removing our flight to Las Vegas because it has not performed well," said Alaska spokeswoman Marianne Lindsey.
Meanwhile, market surveys have found strong demand for flights from Santa Rosa to San Diego, Stout said. The airport is providing Alaska with $70,000 in subsidies to help with start-up costs.
"We anticipate that it will be a successful route," said Lindsey.
The San Diego service will begin June 4 with a flight leaving Santa Rosa at 4:25 p.m. It will arrive in San Diego at 6:22 p.m.
The daily flight will leave San Diego starting June 5 at 9:45 a.m. and arrive in Santa Rosa at 11:50 a.m.
The carrier said it will offer an introductory fare of $69 for San Diego flights for tickets purchased by Jan. 25.
Alaska will discontinue its Las Vegas service June 3. But it will add a third flight between Santa Rosa and Los Angeles starting June 4. The seasonal Los Angeles flight will operate four days a week through Aug. 25.
It will leave Santa Rosa at 1:35 p.m. and arrive in Los Angeles at 3:09.
The nonstop flight leaves Los Angeles at 11:30 a.m. and arrives in Santa Rosa at 1:04 p.m.
Alaska said Wednesday it's also starting new flights between San Diego and Monterey, and, San Diego and Fresno. It's part of a push to increase service in California, said Alaska vice president Joe Sprague.
"We're pleased to continue to grow our presence in the Golden State," he said.
The new flights will be operated by Alaska's sister carrier, Horizon Air. Ticketing, pricing, marketing and scheduling will be handled by Alaska. Horizon uses Q400 turboprop aircraft that carry 76 passengers.