Non-stop flights taking North County residents to their Las Vegas getaway directly from Carlsbad took off Thursday morning.
Cal Jet by Elite Airways launched nonstop jet services from McClellan-Palomar Airport (CLD) in Carlsbad to McCarran International Airport (LAS) in Las Vegas.
From now on, there's a new way for North County residents to get to their Las Vegas paradise in Sin City.
"We're delighted that North County residents can now say goodbye to the I-5 when flying to Las Vegas," said George Wozniak President of Cal Jet Air, in a statement. "Dealing with traffic to get to the airport downtown is a gamble our passengers don't have to take any more."
Thursday morning, a water cannon salute kicked off at 8 a.m. and there was a brief ribbon-cutting ceremony as part of the lift off for the inaugural flight, Cal Jet Air officials said.
In Carlsbad, the newly renovated, petite airport offers plenty of perks to its customers, including faster check-in, shorter lines and $5 daily parking.
But North County travelers aren't the only ones who will benefit from the smooth and easy access of the nonstop flights. Las Vegas residents will now be able to fly directly to Carlsbad to visit attractions like Legoland and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park as well.
Prices for the two daily flights between Carlsbad and Las Vegas begin at $69 each way, Cal Jet Air officials said. They say there are no reservation fees and no charges for the first checked bag.
Passengers riding in the CRJ-700 jet aircraft can kick back and relax in one of 62 all-leather seats, according to Cal Jet Air. Complimentary beverages and snacks are served on board the flights.
Some lucky San Diegans may win a round-trip flight to Las Vegas for just $21 each way, Cal Jet Air officials said. Five-hundred travel vouchers will be awarded to the first 500 people to arrive at the airport's ticket counter.
"In celebration of this momentous day, we're giving travel vouchers to the first 500 people who come to the Cal Jet Elite Airways ticket counter, starting at 8 a.m. at Palomar Airport on Thursday," added Wozniak.
Even if you don't grab a free voucher, don't miss the "Elvis" actor. He will pose for pictures with the crowds by a red convertible at the airport, Cal Jet Air officials said.
Some North County residents told NBC 7 about looking forward to using the flights.
"I’m really excited. I think it will be a really fun getaway to just drive up five minutes to the airport and head to Vegas for a few days," said Jen Ryglewicc, a North County resident.
Another resident, Ryan Shuster, was also cheerful about skipping over traffic.
“It’s not bad going to San Diego, obviously, but when you’re five minutes from the airport, why not?" said Shuster. "Beats the traffic going to Vegas or going to San Diego for sure.”
In the future, Cal Jet Air officials said they would like to eventually expand the jet services to many other cities as well.
Previously, another airline has tried to offer flights from Carlsbad to the Bay Area, Sacramento, Las Vegas, Phoenix and Cabo San Lucas. But the business was plagued with delays and challenges, according to reports.