Last updated: 03:00 AM ET, Wed March 23 2016

Alaska Airlines Launches New Flights Connecting Key Cities in the West

Destination & Tourism | Janeen Christoff | March 23, 2016

Alaska Airlines Launches New Flights Connecting Key Cities in the West

Photo by Janeen Christoff

If you are making your way to Reno/Lake Tahoe or to the Sonoma area this spring, travel just got a little bit easier.

On March 16, Alaska Airlines launched new service between Reno/Lake Tahoe and Orange County, Calif. On the same day,  Alaska also launched service connecting Sonoma (Santa Rosa), Calif., to Orange County as well.

“We’re excited to introduce two new destinations from John Wayne Airport,” said John Kirby, Alaska’s vice president of capacity planning. “Orange County residents will enjoy our convenient non-stop service to the wine regions of Sonoma, and to the Biggest Little City in the World, Reno, Nevada.”

READ MORE: Does Alaska Airlines Now Have The Best Frequent Flier Program?

The flights are operated by Horizon Air and use 76-seat Bombardier Q400 aircraft. Onboard service includes complimentary wine and microbrews, snacks, soft drinks, Starbucks coffee and tea. On the inaugural flights, local breweries from Reno and Sonoma County were featured and wine was from Ferari-Carano vineyards in Healdsburg, Calif., which also has a connection to Reno as the Carano family is an owner of several casinos in the city.

The new daily service from Orange County to Reno/Tahoe leaves at 2:45 p.m. and lands at 4:05 p.m. Flights from Reno/Tahoe to Orange Country depart at 10:15 a.m. and land at 11:37 a.m. Daily Santa Rosa service operates from Orange County at 12:15 p.m., daily, landing at 1:46 p.m. Return flights depart at 12:40 p.m. landing at 2:11 p.m.

The new service to Reno/Tahoe is a win for business travelers in particular. Reno is getting ready to welcome a host of new companies and industry within the region spearheaded by Tesla’s new Gigafactory being constructed in nearby Sparks, Nev.

The new flights also make easier connections for leisure travelers. Orange County residents now have easier access to Sonoma and Napa Valley wineries and residents of those destinations can quickly connect to Orange County’s myriad theme parks and beach destinations.

Orange County now has better access to Tahoe’s ski slopes and to gaming in Reno, which offers milder temperatures than it’s Vegas counterpart. Reno is also a hub of activity when it comes time for the summer festival, Burning Man, which takes place near Labor Day weekend. The city has become a microcosm for year-round Burning Man activities and art and has an eclectic downtown that is transforming into its own year-round destination.

READ MORE: Alaska Air Employees Get $98 Million Bonus As Profits Soar

Reno will also host the ASTA Global Convention later this year, so the city is going to be front and center in the minds of many travel agents who can now enjoy convenient connections in Southern California to the city.

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