The Reno-Tahoe International Airport (RNO) continues to rally after a plunge in air travel at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic that saw the average commercial flight just 12.7% full. Earlier this month it reported a doubling of air passengers from April to May, and this week it announced new seasonal, daily, non-stop service between Reno and Seattle aboard Southwest Airlines on a 143-seat Boeing 737 aircraft.
The flight marks Southwest’s return to the route, which it abandoned in June 2014. Alaska Airlines currently offers four daily flights between RNO and Seattle (SEA).
The flight, which is only offered July 26 through Sept. 6, departs RNO at 12:40 p.m. and arrive in SEA at 2:25 p.m. The return flight leaves SEA at 6:30 p.m. and will arrive at 8:10 p.m. into RNO.
“Adding service during the COVID-19 pandemic shows confidence in the Reno-Tahoe region,” said Marily Mora, President/CEO of the Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority.
Southwest’s confidence lies, in part, with Reno-Tahoe’s strong outdoor attractions. Amidst the pandemic, the airline has been encouraging travelers to “give in to your wanderlust,” hyping cheap flights to locales with open space and activities such as mountain biking and backpacking.
Meanwhile, RNO is promoting its safety efforts, which include social distancing stickers, hand sanitizer stations, an indoor mask mandate, and electro-static cleaning and Plexiglas shielding at all counters.
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