Crescent City, Ca., (KIEM)- The mood is celebratory. Laughter conquers the thunder of the jet engine under us, propelling us all out of Crescent City, soaring for the Bay Area. It’s Contour Airline’s inaugural first flight from Del Norte County to Oakland. It was a smooth take off, and quiet 53 minute 33 second flight.
The blue balloons and Contour logo cups could have just as well not been up at the airport’s only terminal (though construction of a second terminal is in the works). The Boarder Coast Regional Airport Authority chose Contour airlines, the last to submit their pitch for service to Crescent City, but boutique airlines was also vying for the job.
Able to offer service on a jet, Contour overshadowed Boutique (they were offering a nine seat turboprop plane instead). Also, officials say, Contour could provide the best connectivity and most competitive fares.
For the newly minted Contour executive, today is especially thrilling. He took up the roll of flight attendant, suit and all. Matt Shafetz would greet each guest personally, pouring champagne with a markedly steady hand (not spilling a drop despite turbulence). His excitement is palpable.
“On a personal note,” He says with an ear to ear grin, “I’ve wanted to run an airline since I was a little kid. Every day coming in to work is a dream come true for me.”
For the very first passenger on board the inaugural flight, Jessica Brown, this flight was exciting for different reasons. Ms. Brown and her travel companion didn’t know the $49 flight they booked was special at all (barring the low price), until they heard a radio reporter from bi-coastal media was going to be on board the night before.
For Brown this connection brought her closer to a doctor’s appointment a few towns away. In the seat next to her, Larry Mitchell said, “I’m excited about it! This is the first jet flight I’ve ever been on out of Crescent City!”
The new service to Oakland is just the first step for the airport in Del Norte. The Director of the Boarder Coast Regional Airport Authority says construction is set to begin on a new terminal, which he hopes will bring world class service to a world class facility. Right now, wifi connectivity at the very small North Coast airport is notoriously iffy, but the charm of the friendly staff, and easy trip through security can help counter that.
When the plane lands in Oakland, the attendant on board the gangway claps as we taxi in. There’s a brief period of quiet, as the guests on this first journey wait for a flight from Hawaiian air to finish docking at our scheduled terminal. Soon the passengers in high spirits start to chatter, and conversation slowly stretches from the front to the back of the plane. And in no time at all people are planning their next direct flight to Oakland.