A New Orleans brass band greeted passengers on Southwest Airlines’ first flight from Long Beach Airport to the Big Easy on Sunday afternoon.
The airline will operate seasonal flights through March, making travel easier for Long Beach residents and residents of nearby cities planning to celebrate Mardi Gras next month.
The direct flight departs Long Beach every Sunday at 12:30 PM and arrives in NOLA at 6:00 PM. The Sunday return flight departs New Orleans at 4:55 PM and arrives at LGB at 7:15 PM.
The route is one of several new destinations Southwest will launch this year. On Thursday, the carrier began daily service to Salt Lake City.
The company will launch its first non-stop flight from Long Beach to the East Coast on July 11 with weekly flights to Orlando.
Southwest Airlines is Long Beach’s largest airline, accounting for 75% of the airport’s 53 daily flight slots. Two more slots were awarded in November, bringing the total to 40.
Routes for some of the company’s flight slots have yet to be announced.
In December, city officials announced the addition of five daily flights, bringing the total number of allowed battles to 48. Slots are not assigned to airlines, but Southwest Airlines may receive some flights.
The waiting list for slots includes Breeze Airways, which recently abandoned its only daily flight, Swoop Airlines, which declined the slot it was offered, and American Airlines, which recently notified airport staff that it was suspending flights from Long Beach. included.
American currently has three daily slots, and the remaining airlines, which currently consist only of Southwest, Delta and Hawaiian Airlines, will also be given slots.