A Southwest plane flies past the Holiday Inn Long Beach Airport hotel as it makes its final approach at Long Beach Airport. Photo by Brandon Richardson.

Using a new flight slot recently relinquished by another carrier, Southwest Airlines today announced daily, nonstop service from Long Beach to Nashville, with service set to begin Nov. 6.

The flights will depart every morning at 9 a.m. from Long Beach, traveling to Nashville International Airport. On weekdays, after a 45-minute stop, the aircraft will continue directly to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Arlington, Virginia, which is a primary airport for Washington, D.C.

“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,” Adam Decaire, vice president of network planning for Southwest, said in a statement. “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.”

Travelers can arrive in D.C. six and a half hours after departing Long Beach.

Tickets for the Nashville service are available now at Southwest.com.

Of Long Beach’s 53 daily flight slots, Southwest now holds 38 and flies to 15 U.S. cities. The latest flight slot was one of two recently relinquished by Delta—the other was awarded to the city’s newest carrier, Breeze Airways.

The Nashville route was part of a broader Southwest schedule announcement, which included flights between San Jose and Palm Springs, Nashville and Steamboat Springs, Colorado, and San Diego and Colorado Springs.

For years, daily flight slots have gone unused at Long Beach—even before the pandemic, as JetBlue began quietly winding down service out of the small municipal airport. As the facility continues to rebound after the coronavirus pandemic decimated air travel, the use of additional slots by the city’s leading carrier is welcome.

“We welcome this exciting new addition to Southwest’s nonstop destinations from Long Beach Airport,” the airport’s director Cynthia Guidry said in a statement. “Beyond Nashville, this new service adds flexibility and options for travelers to connect to the East Coast and Southwest’s broader network.”

Brandon Richardson is a reporter and photojournalist for the Long Beach Business Journal.