Southwest Airlines to fly between Oakland and Palm Springs for $79 roundtrip

Oakland International Airport announced Thursday that Southwest Airlines will begin nonstop service between San Francisco’s East Bay and Palm Springs, California (PSP) twice per day starting Nov. 15.

Southbound flights will depart Oakland at 9:05 a.m. and 6:45 p.m. Return flights depart PSP at 8:30 a.m. and 4:25 p.m. for the hour-or-so trip.

Fares are for sale on starting Thursday, and a quick check shows the cheapest OAK-PSP roundtrips at a remarkably low $79 roundtrip. That’s super cheap, and I expect we will soon see United, Alaska Air and Sun Country match those fares from the Bay Area.

Only Southwest will serve the Oakland-Palm Springs route, and will use Boeing 737s. Alaska, United and Sun Country fly nonstop between San Francisco and PSP. Alaska will soon add a nonstop from San Jose. United and Alaska fly a combination of various jets on the route, but primarily use smaller Embraer or CRJ aircraft.

RELATED: Why Palm Springs is so hot these days

What’s best about Southwest fares is that you can go ahead and make reservations now, then make changes later with no penalties. Due to the COVID-19 crisis, most other carriers have also eliminated those frustrating fees, which is going to make a getting to and from the Coachella Valley this winter quicker, easier and less expensive.

Southwest will also fly to Denver and Phoenix from Palm Springs.

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“Palm Springs is an often requested yet unserved destination from the East Bay,” said Port of Oakland Director of Aviation Bryant L. Francis. “So, we’re especially pleased that the new service will allow over 4 million East Bay residents to use their home airport when they fly to Palm Springs.”

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Chris McGinnis is SFGATE’s senior travel correspondent. You can reach him via email or follow him on Twitter or Facebook. Don’t miss a shred of important travel news by signing up for his FREE weekly email updates!

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