Memorial Day weekend sets off summer travel as first flight leaves Pasco for San Diego

PASCO, Wash. — Memorial Day weekend generally signifies the start of travel season in the region, and this year, Tri-Cities Airport and Allegiant Airlines kicked things off with a new direct flight from Southern Washington to Southern California.

Around 4:30 p.m. on Friday afternoon, a nonstop flight to San Diego International Airport (SAN) took off as the first of many direct flights to the region. In years past, this wouldn’t be possible without a layover in Northern California or Seattle. If you are interested in booking a flight from Pasco to San Diego, you can do so for as low as $54 for a one-way flight on AllegientAir.com.

With more vaccinated passengers and fewer travel restrictions, Tri-Cities Airport Director Buck Taft has seen an influx of travelers flying in and out of Pasco.

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“As soon as vaccines rolled out, our appointments really started to come up,” Taft said. “We were down to less than 200 people a day flying through here when we normally have 1200, so to see people flying again, to see the parking lot full, to see people eating again at the restaurant is a very good feeling.”

According to Taft, roughly 80 percent of flights coming through Tri-Cities are booked. Earlier in the year, that rate was as low as 50 percent and has steadily increased as the year continues. While many travelers are feeling more comfortable taking flight, there are still many guidelines in place to ensure that airports remain safe.

“As of now, the mask mandate is still required on all transportation and in airports, so nothing has changed as far as the mask goes right now,” Taft said. “You can bring sanitizer through the checkpoint. I believe there is a limit, but you can bring hand sanitizer and you’ve been able to do that for a while now.”

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For the travelers who never stopped flying, you might want to prepare for an influx of traffic at the airports. With plane capacity filling up and warm weather signaling the start of a busy travel season, lines will get longer, and wait time will increase.

If you’re confused or flustered about which guidelines you should follow, don’t worry! You’re just a few clicks away from finding out all of the information you need.

“You can go to their website and there’s generally a tab that says ‘COVID restrictions’ and you can look it up and pick the state and it tells you what you need to do in each state what’s required,” Taft said.

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