Officials celebrated a long-awaited expansion of Southwest Airlines’ destination offerings out of Long Beach Airport over the weekend, when the first nonstop flight to Nashville International Airport took off.
The Nov. 6 flight included a musical send-off for departing passengers from California country singer-songwriter Victoria Bailey, as well as customized cookies commemorating the occasion.
“We gave Southwest passengers on yesterday’s first nonstop flight from Long Beach to Nashville a big sendoff in celebration of this convenient new route between two great destinations,” Airport Director Cynthia Guidry said in a statement.
The flights to Nashville will depart seven mornings per week at 9 a.m., utilizing the airline’s Boeing 737 fleet.
On weekdays, after a 45-minute stop, passengers can continue on to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Arlington, Virginia, a primary airport for Washington, D.C. The flight arrives in Arlington after six and a half hours without a plane transfer.
“Beyond Nashville, this new service adds flexibility and options for travelers to connect to the East Coast and Southwest’s broader network,” Guidry said.
The Dallas-based airline first began service in Long Beach in 2016 and has continued to increase its presence at the airport since then.
Including Nashville, Southwest Airlines now flies nonstop to 15 U.S. cities from Long Beach Airport.
Of the 53 daily flight slots available at Long Beach’s airport, Southwest currently holds a majority, with a total of 38 daily flights.
Southwest Airlines first announced its new route to Nashville in June, as part of a broader Southwest schedule expansion that also includes flights between San Jose and Palm Springs, Nashville and Steamboat Springs, Colorado, and San Diego and Colorado Springs, Colorado.
The latest flight slot was one of two recently relinquished by Delta—the other was awarded to the city’s newest carrier, Breeze Airways.
Long Beach Airport currently offers nonstop service to 17 destinations across the nation, including Hawaii.
“We’re grateful to the City of Long Beach for additional access at the airport that will bring travelers much more than just nonstop travel to and from Nashville,” said Adam Decaire, vice president of network planning in a statement, when Southwest Airlines first announced service in June. “Nashville service also brings dozens of cities in the East within faster reach, and the fastest trip between Long Beach and the heart of the nation’s capital region, with through-service to Reagan National Airport.”
Tickets for the Nashville service are available now at Southwest.com.