Alaska Airlines Offers Creative Way to Maintain Service at San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport

April 9, 2020
The unusual twist allows Alaska Airlines to serve both regions in an efficient manner.

The dramatic decline in travel has caused route cancellations across the globe. As the airline industry looks for ways to provide service amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport (SBP) is pleased to share that Alaska Airlines is offering two flights per day from San Luis Obispo to its hub in Seattle (SEA)—and also to Santa Barbara (SBA). Beginning this week, Alaska Airlines will combine its SBP and SBA passengers onto one plane as a “tag flight,” stopping in SBP to drop off passengers before continuing on to SBA. The unusual twist allows Alaska Airlines to serve both regions in an efficient manner.

“We’re grateful that Alaska Airlines has been creative in determining how to serve its passengers during the pandemic,” said Kevin Bumen, A.A.E., C.A.E., director of Airports. “By sharing equipment, we can ensure that both the San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara communities maintain the ability to carry out essential travel.”

The operations mirror those offered by Alaska Airlines in southeast Alaska. Often referred to as a “milk run,” a single plane may make multiple stops before returning to its hub, delivering milk and other necessities to the state’s small communities.

In this case, the flight will depart from SEA to SBP and SBA with passengers for both cities. Upon arrival at SBP, the SBA-bound passengers will stay onboard and continue their journey after the SBP passengers deplane. In SBA, passengers will board the flight to SEA but will make a stop in SBP along the way. For travelers to and from SBP, there will be no real change in how the flight operates.

The flight is currently scheduled to operate in this manner from Apr. 10 through May 31. In the wake of nonessential travel restrictions, Alaska Airlines has also suspended San Luis Obispo’s daily flight to San Diego for the time being and has deferred its launch of service between San Luis Obispo and Portland, Oregon.