It was good news for Moose Jaw and area travellers last week that are looking to go somewhere warm for the winter, as WestJet announced the return of a number of non-stop flights to favourable destinations at the Regina International Airport.
Beginning this winter WestJet will bring back its non-stop flights to Orlando, Las Vegas, Cancun, Phoenix, Puerto Vallarta, and many more that were disrupted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Shannon Konihowski, a Senior Travel Advisor with Moose Jaw’s Marlin Travel says these flights returning are crucial.
“We’re on the COVID rebound,” says Konihowski. “After more than two years of disruption, people are more eager than ever to get back on those non-stop flights, because it is less hassle and it is more convenient. In our cold winters, people just want to get out and get to their destination.”
Flights to Las Vegas will begin on Nov. 10, running twice a week (Monday and Thursday). Orlando will fire up for a once-a-week flight on Fridays on Dec 16. Phoenix starts on Nov. 7, running twice a week on Monday and Thursday. Tropical destinations such as Cancun will begin on Nov. 13.
Even though word has only been out for a few days, Konihowski says people are already taking advantage.
“We’re seeing a huge increase in destination weddings this year along with multi-generational family groups. A lot of groups have already been secured. Our regular people too, that haven’t been able to travel for two years, they’re ready.”
The high influx of interest in non-stop flights has resulted in a frenzy of people looking to book their winter vacation. Costs have also gone up in general for airline flights, and so far, Marlin Travel has yet to see those prices come down.
“We aren’t seeing the sell-off that we typically could be seeing or even the great early booking bonuses. Prices are a little bit higher this year. Although we have lots of different non-stop destinations, we still have low availability on those.”
Due to the low availability, she is reminding those interested in a winter getaway to book this trip as soon as possible.
Konihowski adds the convenience and the accessibility the non-stop flights bring is allowing air travel to return to what it was before the pandemic struck. Though travel has slowly gotten better, passengers are still feeling the effects.
“The hecticness of the airports missed connections, lost baggage it’s not always the most fun time to travel when you have to connect. I always say pack your patience because travel can be very unexpected sometimes.”
Prior to the non-stop flights returning, those wanting to travel to those destinations usually had at least one connection in either Calgary or Toronto. On some occasions travellers had multiple connections making for a long day.
Even though travel has come with many obstacles and challenges lately, Konihowski still thinks this is a step in the right direction.
Those looking to travel by air this winter do not need to provide proof of vaccination to board. All passengers must wear a mask throughout their entire journey except for brief periods while eating, drinking, or taking an oral medication, or unless otherwise exempt.
For more COVID-19 travel regulations click HERE.