Translated: Horizon Airlines has three direct flights from LAX to Santa Rosa, with round trips as low as $158. They’re also launching Las Vegas service April 24.
The Charles M. Schultz – Sonoma County Airport is something less than breaking news, since it reopened almost a year ago. However, it was down so long — since September 2001, when it was viewed as a security risk and forbidden to operate commercial flights — that it’s easy to forget it existed. (Note: An airport rep tells me that the commercial airlines pulled out pre-9/11 because there weren’t enough passengers to support the service. But it’s my understanding that the FAA wasn’t keen to allow their return for security reasons.)
And that would be a tragedy, since the alternatives for wine-country trips range from annoying to wretched. Oakland is only 40 miles away, but the traffic in between is enough to make you pine for I-10 SIG alerts. There’s much less congestion between Napa and Sacramento, but it’s 60 dull miles.
However, the greatest loss was the tiny airport itself. I flew there in April 2000 on United Express for the Sonoma Valley Film Festival. It was 10 steps from the plane to the airport; five minutes later, we had the rental car. Twenty minutes later, we were at our hotel (and dinner at The Girl and the Fig shortly thereafter).
With enough money, you can pick up a great bottle of wine almost anywhere. But fond feelings toward an airport? Priceless.