Palm Springs is turning into a hotspot for new scheduled air service. US airlines are trying to find as many sources of revenue as possible, and leisure sun destinations have proven to be incredibly lucrative. So, while Florida has seen its fair share of attention, out in Palm Springs, California, the airport is becoming a hotspot for new domestic services.
Southwest is one of the most hotly-awaited new services coming to PSP this winter. Photo: Getty Images
What is unique about Palm Springs?
Palm Springs International Airport (PSP) is, quite obviously, located in Palm Springs, California. Though it is not the first city that comes to mind for domestic leisure travel for many Americans, Palm Springs is known for plenty of outdoor activities such as the Coachella Valley Preserve, Joshua Tree National Park, plenty of wilderness hiking and recreation activities, and other cultural activities such as the Palm Springs Air Museum, the “Elvis Honeymoon Hideaway,” an art museum, and more.
Palm Springs is only about 125 miles (201 kilometers) from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). However, flying into LAX and driving the distance to PSP has not been popular for many travelers. So, to tap into this demand, airlines are launching their own flights to the airport.
Plenty of carriers are seeing an opportunity to land at Palm Springs International Airport. Photograph by D Ramey Logan via Wikimedia Commons
Southwest is coming to the airport
One airline that makes a major impact in nearly every market it lands in is Southwest Airlines. Briefly the largest airline in the world this year, the carrier plans to fly to Palm Springs this winter.
Southwest has not yet released plans for where it will be flying from to PSP. However, there will likely be some point-to-point service and some service to the airlines’ bases like Oakland or Phoenix.
Allegiant sees room for more low-cost carrier service
Allegiant Air operates on a 100% point-to-point model, with no connections. As such, the airline is adding new Palm Springs flights starting from November 19th.
American low-cost carrier Allegiant has grown immensely in the last few years and now sees new opportunities out of Palm Springs. Photo: Getty Images
From Palm Springs, Allegiant Air will be operating four new weekly services. The airline will fly twice weekly to Boise in Idaho (BOI) and twice weekly to Eugene in Oregon (EUG).
Delta’s new Palm Spring route
Delta Air Lines is planning on operating a new route to Palm Springs. The route will be performed by an Embraer E175 operated by SkyWest, a regional carrier, under the Delta Connection banner.
Much of Delta’s mainline service to Palm Springs comes during the northern winter season, starting around December when tourist demand picks up to Palm Springs.
Delta is going to fly an E175 on the short flight between LAX and PSP. Photo: Delta Air Lines
Alaska Airlines is also growing its services to Palm Springs
Routesonline has detailed four new services sold by Alaska Airlines starting from December 17th:
Boise (BOI) operating daily with an Embraer E175 operated by SkyWest
Reno (RNO) operating five times per week (every day except Tuesday and Wednesday) using an Embraer E175, also operated by SkyWest
San Jose (SJC) operating twice daily with an Embraer E175 operated by SkyWest
Also, the airline will be flying its regular Palm Springs schedule with daily flights to Everett/Paine Field it introduced last year, two daily flights to Portland, five daily to San Francisco, and four daily flights to Seattle.
Alaska uses E175s on existing services out of PSP. The new SkyWest ones will augment those services. Photo: Jay Singh/Simple Flying
Data from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics shows that Alaska Airlines was the second-largest airline operating out of Palm Springs after SkyWest.
It is good news for Palm Springs
In 2018, Palm Springs serviced 1.9 million passengers. That grew to an impressive 2.2 million passengers in 2019, or a change of around 15%. While 2020 is an anomaly due to the ongoing global health crisis, there appears to be significant demand for travel to Palm Springs.
Most airports worldwide are losing service, but to see airlines add new flights, it is good news for PSP.
Palm Springs International Airport also has the unique Sunny Bono Concourse. Photo: Getty Images
Fares should be lower to and from the airport. With more competition, this means that passengers have more choices– including some new low-fare options on Allegiant and Southwest. So, to attract some more price-sensitive customers, airlines seek to lower fares.
Not to mention, for the local tourist industry, this will be a great boon to see new faces and carriers bringing in people from across the country to Palm Springs.
As for any international long-haul services, well, that seems unlikely for now. Long-haul demand is way too low to sustain any new long-haul international services, and Palm Springs gets a lot less attention than cities like San Diego or Los Angeles from international tourists.
Are you going to fly to Palm Springs this winter? Let us know in the comments!
Routesonline was the source for Alaska’s scheduling data in the article and is linked above.