SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The first flights from Santa Barbara to Sacramento via Contour Airlines took off Tuesday from the Santa Barbara Airport.
The new nonstop flight boasts "premium, low-fare" flights between the two cities.
Tickets are starting at $99.
Contour CEO Matt Chaifetz personally came to Santa Barbara as he has for other launching events and today he was on board the flight pouring champagne to passengers who wanted to enjoy the celebration with some bubbly.
"This is just the perfect market for us and we have been totally embraced by the community," said Chaifetz.
Contour has already been flying out of Santa Barbara to Oakland and Las Vegas since October. Those flights will be increased in May.
The first Sacramento flight took off after Chaifetz greeting passengers in the terminal, gave a speech about the new route and joined top city leaders for a photo.
Santa Barbara City Mayor Cathy Murillo, City Administrator Paul Casey, and Airport Director Henry Thompson were on hand for the inaugural flight.
Santa Barbara City Fire Department Chief Eric Nickle joined and over saw the "water cannon salute" from the airport engines. It's been over seven years since the last time a water cannon salute was used due to the stage three drought. That's now at stage one and the brief spray was allowed as the first plane passed through to the main runway.
Passenger Susan Jordan said she has business in Sacramento often and to get there she has had to "drive to Burbank or L.A. and then fly up on Southwest and then when you come back you have to drive two hours home it is exhausting."
She is the Executive Director of the non-profit California Coastal Protection Network.
Political consultant Tom Widrow from the Santa Ynez Valley needed to hop a flight for an important meeting and got one of the last seats. He plans to use the service often for Sacramento and Oakland trips. "It's good for the community it is good for the airport and good for people that do what I do that's for sure"
Last week he made the drive. Widrow said, "you are stuck in a car it is five and a half to six hours.It wasn't great and this is a fantastic thing."
Chaiftz said the Sacramento route was requested by passengers often and the air carrier had the planes and the scheduling flexibility to make this service work out of Santa Barbara.
"This is just fabulous for everybody and I hope everybody supports this airline because we want to make sure it stays here and it offers those of us in Santa Barbara these wonderful flights," said Jordan as she boarded her plane.
The boarding gate was covered with blue and white balloons. Special treats for the passengers were served on trays as part of the kick off party.
Santa Barbara Airport served nearly 786,000 passengers in 2018 and is the 13th largest airport in California.
For more information about Contour Airlines go to: https://www.contourairlines.com/en