Full Disclosure: Alaska Airlines provided 2 round trip tickets for my wife and I to experience and write about their new daily flight from Santa Rosa / Sonoma County to San Diego. The below thoughts and opinions are my own.
Good morning everyone. This past weekend, I had the pleasure to fly from the Charles M. Schulz Sonoma County Airport (STS) in the heart of Santa Rosa / Sonoma County to San Diego (SAN) on Alaska Airlines’ new route. I live in Sonoma County and it is only a 20-30 minute drive to the Santa Rosa / Sonoma County Airport (compared to a 75-90 minute drive to the San Francisco International Airport or Oakland International Airport). Conversely, if you want to visit the many wineries (and breweries) in Sonoma County or neighboring Napa County, flying into Santa Rosa will save you a lot of time. Plus, with Alaska Airlines’ Wine Flies Free program, Alaska Airlines “Mileage Plan members can bring home a case of wine with no baggage fee from 30 participating West Coast cities.”
Alaska Airlines has nearly 600 daily flights from the San Francisco Bay Area to several West Coast cities, including daily flights from Santa Rosa to Orange County, Portland, San Diego, and Seattle; and 3 daily flights to Los Angeles. Passengers can earn and redeem Alaska Airlines miles with the airline’s highly-acclaimed Mileage Plan frequent flyer program, with award travel starting at just 5,000 miles, enough for a one-way nonstop flight from San Diego to Northern California. In addition, Alaska Airlines offers a unique option for global travel, with Alaska Airlines miles that can be used with Alaska Airlines or internationally with Alaska Airlines’ 15 global partners. With Alaska Airlines’ global partners, passengers can seamlessly connect from the West Coast to more than 800 international destinations.
Currently, Alaska Airlines departs San Diego at 4:50pm and arrives in Santa Rosa at 6:45pm. The return flight departs Santa Rosa at 7:30pm and arrives in San Diego at 9:15pm. These flight times work perfectly for a weekend getaway to Santa Rosa or San Diego.
Beginning on March 19, 2020, Alaska Airlines will add a second daily flight from San Diego to Santa Rosa. The second daily flight will be in the morning / early afternoon. Alaska Airlines will depart San Diego at 9:00am and arrive in Santa Rosa at 10:55am. The return flight will depart Santa Rosa at 11:35am and arrive in San Diego at 1:20pm.
The Santa Rosa / Sonoma County Airport is relatively small with ample hourly and daily parking (only $11/day @ STS, compared to $24/day @ OAK and $36/day @ SFO). If you are a fan of Charles M. Schulz and The Peanuts, you will see many familiar Peanuts characters around the airport. In fact, if you have the time, I highly recommend visiting the nearby Charles M. Schulz Museum to read many classic comic strips and learn more about Mr. Schulz’s life.
When you enter the airport, you will see the Alaska Airlines check-in counters on the right, where you can check your luggage and free case of wine. As you continue walking in, you will see Lucy and her Airport Help desk, next to the baggage claim conveyor belt and restrooms. Behind Lucy, there is a small TSA security checkpoint that does offer TSA PreCheck, so you will breeze through airport security.
Once you go through TSA screening, follow the signs to Gate 2 (inside the large outdoor tent building).
When you get inside the large outdoor tent building, there are plenty of seats, a few vending machines, a few gate counters, and an arrival/departure board. Boarding for our plane began shortly after the flight from San Diego arrived. The plane parked close to Gate 2 and we walked across the tarmac to board the plane.
Our plane had first class, premium economy, and economy seats. For First Class, there were 4 rows of seats (1 seat on the left side and 2 seats on the right side of the plane). For premium economy, there were 3 rows of seats (2 seats on the left side and 2 seats on the right side of the plane). And for economy, there were 13 rows of seats (2 seats on the left side and 2 seats on the right side of the plane). The overhead bins were full size and our Away carry-on bags fit nicely. There was Gogo Entertainment on-board, but not Gogo WiFi. If you have the Gogo app installed on your phone or tablet, you can stream hundreds of TV shows and movies to your device. There was also a menu with West-Coast-inspired food for purchase and complimentary drinks and snacks served on-board.
After a smooth flight, we landed in San Diego a few minutes ahead of schedule. We disembarked the plane, crossed the tarmac, walked to our gate, and inside the airport.
After a great weekend in San Diego, we headed back to the airport. Since we had an hour to kill before our flight, we went to the Airspace Lounge in terminal 2 (same terminal as our Alaska Airlines flight). I used my American Express Business Platinum Card to get us both in for free. We each received a $10 food/beverage credit to use during our lounge visit (the lounge rep loaded $20 to the same prepaid card). We each ordered a drink and split the cheese and meat platter. After relaxing in the lounge, we headed to our gate. Our flight left on time and we had beautiful views of the California coast, Sonoma Wine Country, and the setting sun.
After a smooth flight, we landed in Santa Rosa about 20 minutes early. We disembarked the plane, walked across the tarmac, back through the airport, and out to our car.
I love flying into / out of the Santa Rosa / Sonoma County Airport because I can land at the airport, be at my car in 10 minutes, and be home 20 minutes later. I definitely look forward to flying Alaska Airlines from Santa Rosa to Seattle, Portland, and Orange County in the near future. If you have any questions about flying into or out of Santa Rosa on Alaska Airlines, please leave a comment below. Have a great day everyone!