The Wright family of Windsor were surprised by all the hoopla at Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport on Monday as they boarded Alaska Airlines' inaugural flight from Santa Rosa to San Diego.
"We've had this planned for months," said Jason Wright, who was taking his wife, Carmen, and children, Sam and Olivia, on a San Diego vacation. "We're excited. We didn't know it would be the first flight."
The Wrights plan to visit Legoland, SeaWorld and the San Diego Zoo, then see a Giants-Padres game.
First Flight to San Diego
On Monday, airline representatives, tourism officials and county leaders toasted Alaska Airlines' first San Diego flight in a passenger terminal festooned with blue-and-white balloons.
The daily nonstop will be good for Sonoma County and San Diego, they said.
"This flight links two very gorgeous parts of the country," said Hampton Brown of San Diego International Airport. "We plan to send up many San Diegans to enjoy your food and wine region."
Sonoma County travelers have been asking for San Diego flights, said Bill Essick of Alaska Airlines.
"We've asked people, and San Diego has always been high on their list," he said.
Bookings are "very solid" for the San Diego service, Essick said.
County tourism representatives are busy promoting the county as a meeting and conference destination in the San Diego market, said Ken Fischang, who heads the county's visitor bureau.