CAL to begin direct flights to LA in November

| 07/07/2022 | 122 Comments
Cayman News Service
Cayman Airways at ORIA (from CAL social media)

(CNS): The much anticipated direct route to Los Angeles by Cayman Airways will start on 5 November as the airline has received approval from the US authorities to operate the service, Tourism Minister Kenneth Bryan announced Thursday. It will take less than six hours to travel between Grand Cayman and LAX, cutting the current travel time in half. Los Angeles is among the top five busiest airports in the world and has long been a gateway CAL wanted to add to its schedule after acquiring the fleet of Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft.

However, the planes were grounded in 2019 after two fatal crashes by that model and subsequent technical issues that had to be addressed, which was followed by the pandemic. As a result, fulfilling the dream of bringing Hollywood to Cayman has taken some time. But with the tourism industry now in recovery, officials are hoping that a direct service to LAX will boost visitor numbers at the start of the 2022/23 high tourist season.

“As well as being highly anticipated, particularly by the tourism and business communities, this service marks the achievement of an important milestone,” Bryan said. “Not only does it fulfil my ministry’s goal to tap into new markets and grow visitation outside of our usual source markets, it also aligns with broad outcome #10 of the government’s strategic policy statement, related to tourism growth, development and economic impact.”

Bryan said the new route will be a game-changer for this destination as it will open up the western United States, making it easier for travellers from Los Angeles as well as San Francisco, Seattle and beyond.

“This new route will also enhance air connectivity for travellers originating from Asia and Australia, opening up our destination to even more markets that are currently unserved. This will make our islands accessible and more attractive to a whole new segment of travellers,” he said.

He noted that Cayman Airways will be the only Caribbean airline flying into LAX, which offers an ideal opportunity to capture the attention of new travellers. But Bryan also stressed another element to the route, namely Hollywood.

“Los Angeles is the undisputed hub for the entertainment industry and is home to some of the most famous studios in the world,” he said. “Bringing the Cayman Islands closer to Los Angeles in this way will help to accelerate Cayman’s film industry by providing a direct channel to Hollywood, along with facilitating business-to-business growth opportunities in the areas of financial services, technology, healthcare, fashion and the arts.”

CAL CEO Fabian Whorms said this new route was part of the airline’s strategic objective to act as an economic lever and accelerator for Cayman. As he detailed the new route, he said they would start conservatively with 160 seats on the first of the weekly flights.

But when the gateway takes off, it could increase to three times per week, Whorms said, as they believe this will prove a very popular route with residents as well as visitors. He said the flight will leave Cayman at 3:45pm Saturday afternoon and arrive in LAX at around 7:15pm, where it will stay overnight. The return leg will leave Los Angeles on Sunday morning at 7am, arriving in Cayman at 3:15pm.

Whorms confirmed that a business case had been done to identify LAX as the best possible new route for the airline. He pointed out that before the pandemic, even with the arduous journey, more than 8,000 people visited Cayman from the larger LA area in 2019. He said that when CAL introduced the direct flight to Denver it doubled the arrivals from there and they hoped to repeat this with Los Angeles.


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Category: Business, Local News, Tourism, Travel

Comments (122)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    More madness. The numbers have proven over the years that nothing further than Tampa has ever made money. The numbers are out there.
    The overnighting costs at these distant destinations contribute immensely to this fact.
    When we attempt these long journeys with such a small fleet, we open ourselves to scheduling problems as soon as we have a maintenance issue.
    Cayman Airways has every opportunity to be successful as a regional airline, but it is as though they are being set up to fail through super-executive decisions that override sound business principles.
    Either we are victims of incompetence or dishonesty.
    Time will tell, but one thing is a given. GCM LAX will be a total bust and someone will end up paying.

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  2. KWilliams says:

    A previous Minister of Tourism called Jim Bodden had a brainstorm and organized flights to the Turks. That lasted a couple of months. I suspect that this will go the same way. Did the auditors do any type of feasibility study. I suspect not.

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  3. Anonymous says:

    If the goal was to attract tourists, this was not well-thought out.

    1. Attracting LA/Orange county residents? This area is a warm-weather community with beaches etc, adjacent to other warm-weather states (a puddle jump flight to Vegas). But they will mostly hop down to Cabo or Western Mexico for a tropical feel (many flights per day, including out of more convenient regional airports). Hawaii is also about the same flight time as to Cayman. Departure time from LAX means cant do same-day connection (see 2). Southern Californians are not going to be flocking to Cayman in any meaningful numbers (like NY/Tri-State do). They just arent.

    2. Connections? If not initiating trip from LAX, have to stay overnight for this slot time (this would have been assigned to us so no blame). So if travelling anywhere from the western US/Canada, better off (or indifferent) just flying to IAH, MIA, YYZ, ORD etc.

    So this is a poor tourist play. For residents, it is nice to have a direct flight to another destination I suppose. With the travel time involved (flight time, airports etc) and only a weekly flight, it is not a weekend getaway destination but a chunky vacation. I am not sure incrementally this will induce many more residents to travel to LA — sure saving one stopover and a couple hours, but at the expense of no flexibility.

    Enjoy this route for a half year, but it will fail economically.

    I don’t know why there are no public consultations/outreach on matters like this. Why not consider a destination like YYC (Calgary Canada)? There are at least a couple thousand western Canadians working in Cayman, who, in combination with visiting friends/relatives, would fill up a plane at least once a week. Add to that tourists (….it gets very cold up there in winter and Canadians consider Mexico unsafe and a bit trashy). And for non-western Canadian residents in Cayman, it is a year-round destination, some of the best skiing in the world in winter, and one of the world’s top mountain park destinations in the warmer months.

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  4. Anonymous says:

    How are the Denver flights

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    • Anonymous says:

      Very underutilized….

      For us thousands of western Canadians, connections don’t work. Better off flying to Houston on United.

      Miami is a given, and New York makes sense from a tourist/biz visitor perspective.

      But LA? Was there an option for San Fran, Seattle or western Canada?

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  5. Anonymous says:

    Brains of a wooden duck. Sad this is what our people voted in.

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  6. Two Cents says:

    I’m always amazed at how the CAL brass can sell our elected leaders the virtues this line that there is untapped potential visitors that are out there waiting on CAL to come and bring them to Cayman. The typical US traveler prefers to travel on a US airline that they are familiar with for starters, just like they prefer their Burger King or McDonald’s to our Macdonald’s. Secondly, many of those who travel here do so using rewards or points that they have earned with their regular airline.
    It was so telling that CAL couldn’t make Grand Cayman/Fort Lauderdale work, but two US carriers got great loads on that route and Southwest still does. I’m happy to take SW to FLL anytime over CAL to Miami; the fares are usually better, 2 pieces of luggage are still free and there are no change fees. I pay only the difference in fare for the day I want to change to, if there is a difference.

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    • anon says:

      Messrs Bryan and Whorms – what happened to the old jets, how much are the lease costs on the new ones, when are we going to see CAL’s financial statements – we need answers.

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  7. Anonymous says:

    Will there be any in flight entertainment, or are people gonna have to stare at the back of someone’s head for 6 hours?

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    • Anonymous says:

      Try reading a book

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    • Anonymous says:

      No..they can listen to someones child with an annoying tablet at full volume for 6 hours

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    • Anonymous says:

      Yes

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    • Anonymous says:

      4:18pm you are 100% right. Almost a 6 hour flight. Are they going to install tv’s in the back of the chairs now like all other airlines offer, are they going to feed the people decent meals like the other flights do? They better take all this into consideration. What concerns me, Cayman Airways has been have “glitches” pretty often lately, engine lights coming on, ac faults, etc. How on earth are they going to manage a 6 hour flight to LA.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Backseat TVs are being phased out everywhere. A bit redundant now that personal tablets and phones are cheap and ubiquitous. (I remember the old backseat phones from 20 years ago, cost about $5 a minute!). CAL is not going to pay for content and have to provide technical support for an in flight system. Wi fi though would be nice (although I can survive without it).

        Decent meals on other airlines? Ummm…we all know airplane food is hit and miss on all airlines. We have all come to expect to not rely on what might be reheated and served to you. A lot of pre and post flight options and we should all take advantage of that. Anything served in the air is a bonus.

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  8. Anonymous says:

    I wonder if any data was used to launch this new route? Does the DoT have figures on passenger arrivals from the U.S. West coast? Right now, the “Big 3” of United (Via Houston-IAH) American (Via Dallas-DFW & MIA) and Delta (Via ATL) have pretty good connecting options. (albeit ATL is a tight connection on the way to GCM). This route can ONLY be beneficial to the airline IF the demand exists from the LA/Orange county area. Otherwise, these will be expensive, empty flights. Just a flying billboard?

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    • Anonymous says:

      08 @ 2:29pm – Does CAL ever do any data research before launching any route? I doubt it! CAL’s markets are selected by the Department of Tourism and their planes are selected by the pilots based on what they like to fly.

      CAL has rarely uses good market research to determine routes or market suitability to select aircraft.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Nope. Never has been any market research when designing these gateways or routes. You’ve got denver flights with 40-50 people on them. Who’s going to LA on an airline that has a well below industry standard on-time performance value. Fabian can be the ministers hype-man just as he was to the previous clown, but he’s no fool – he’s simply surrounded by them and knows it. It’s about time CAL cleaned house.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Go for a visit while you have the chance, i enjoyed the empty flight to Panama and the empty flight to Holguin.

    What happened to Washington and Chicago?

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  10. Anonymous says:

    Great news, will be incredibly popular for Las Vegas trips to get everything not on offer here in cayman

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  11. Anonymous says:

    Kenny wont be flying to La La land.

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    • Anonymous says:

      08 @ 8:57 am – Maybe not. But didn’t he recently travel to Miami and meet with cruise officials?

      As some predicted in this forum, Kenny would use his MP position as “justification” to get his US Visa. Perhaps he has….or travels on a waiver?

      You know Big Mac would pull any strings he could! “Come on Wayne, Kenny can’t properly represent us in the States if he can’t travel freely! You have to endorse a request to the US Embassy on his behalf!”

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      • Anonymous says:

        Diplomatic passport

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        • Anonymous says:

          No diplomatic passports for a small BOTC. But if you check the date of his conviction it would be remarkable if he hadn’t had the record expunged by now.

      • Anonymous says:

        Our flight to Tampa one way is almost 300.00 and that is only an hour and a half flight. How much is it going to be to LA? Lets see how that will work for CAL

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    • Anonymous says:

      I don’t see why not. He seemed to manage to fly to Miami no problem. Guessing his conviction was expunged.

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  12. Anonymous says:

    About the LAX schedules, please remember that airlines (at least small airlines) do not select their own times at large airports – they are given slots and come when the airport wants them to.

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    • Anonymous says:

      The times of these new flights are perfect, all day time with no very early morning or late night arrivals or landings

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  13. Anonymous says:

    I’m going though Charlotte.

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  14. Anonymous says:

    California is a sh@thole. Desert full of weirdos, homeless and a bunch of soy latte drinkers. Keep them. I won’t be heading out there willingly. I hope work never sends me there again.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Say youre a right wing idiot who bases yiur perception of California on right wing homophobic stereotypes and ignore that Governor Newsom wants tbe state to manufacture insulin for diabetics to combat outrageous prices

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      • Anonymous says:

        And you just choose to ignore reality when it clashes with your political ideology. I was just in LA. To say sad is a vast understatement. But hey, Newsome has great hair right.

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        • Anonymous says:

          Compare California’s GDP to the Cayman Islands. Compare Califormia’s infrastructure to here. Compare California’s touriat sites to here.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Fox News and Limbaugh also made me a huge idiot

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    • Anonymous says:

      Northern California is quite nice. The rest of it is a liberal shithole though.

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  15. Anonymous says:

    This is great. How about some regional flights? Even if it’s once per week it would be cool to travel direct to other Caribbean and Central and South Am destinations.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Tocuman Panama (PTY) has more international arrivals and departures than Miami. Hub for COPA airlines, serving all of Central and South America. It’s a no-brainer, but CAL would rather fly to nowherevilles like La Ceiba…

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    • Anonymous says:

      Opportunity for CAL to act as a Carib hub for BUSINESS travel across the Caribbean. (Lets be fair, other than certain seasonal specials budget vacation travellers don’t make airlines much money and Cayman is an awkward hub for vacationers. But for business meetings between the Eastern Caribbean and the US/UK we have potential, with Cayman then promoting its financial services to those travellers. Any vacation travel would just be a bonus.)

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  16. Anonymous says:

    It’s great but it ain’t perfect – times are challenging for connections especially for returning; and no WiFi or at least charge ports on planes is a huge issue..hopefully can retrofit

    But overall, this is positive and we should celebrate it..sure it’ll be 3 times a week soon enough.

    Well Done

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    • Anonymous says:

      Imagine in days gone when WiFi did not exist and people talked to each other on a plane.

      6hrs with no internet; the worlds going to end.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Imagine when planes afforded passengers with leg room, and didn’t cram people in like cattle. Didn’t need internet to distract you from that distopian depressing reality. We do now.

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      • Anonymous says:

        I have been flying long haul for 40 years. I remember when the in flight entertainment was a film shown on a screen on the bulkhead or on a pull down screen and the sound was via plastic tube headsets that you had to pay for. People still didn’t talk to each other, there was no more leg room than there is today, and the food was terrible. So enough with all that “it was better back when..” tosh. No it wasn’t. Wifi and being able to take your own entertainment on a phone or tablet a major improvement. Of course, without in seat power you better have a battery pack or a king life device.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Another free trip coming up for the inaugural flight coupled with shopping and no baggage restrictions. Probably need a delegation of about 20 I would say. Anyone remember seeing the big screen TV’s being unloaded after the delivery flights?

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  18. Anonymous says:

    Kenny demonstrating again he has no idea what he’s talking about, – if I’m a high net worth looking to clutch a designer handbag, am I flying from Seattle the day before to LAX to be up again at 3:00AM for my outbound 7:15 ? Probably not, I’ll do the later overnight one stop to Charlotte or Atlanta and avoid the rush from the ‘Asia connectivity’ returning from this years ‘Manhunt’ in Manilla. 🏋🏽‍♀️🛫

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  19. Anonymous says:

    7 am departure is pretty brutal.. the only plus of that is that traffics from other counties in Cali won’t be so hectic. Literally the only plus to having such an early flight- it still means anyone from Orange County will be pulling an all nighter to get to LAX with time enough to get thru to the gate.

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  20. Anonymous says:

    Vegas to Cayman direct flight once a week like Denver would be profitable and pinch the overpriced flights to Miami

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    • Anonymous says:

      Reason banned here. Carry on

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    • Anonymous says:

      LAS to LAX has flights every hour, and soon a high speed train. LAX is the better pick. If CAL find they can’t fill the LAX flights, a pit stop in PHX along the way would be good too, or extend to SFO. LCE should be dropped for service to PTY.

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  21. Anonymous says:

    An interesting choice of flight times. Just perfect as due to duty time limits the Cayman crew can’t fly the return leg so they get two nights and a full day to enjoy Malibu Beach. Not so good for connecting flights mind.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Also, the flight attendants on my last Cayman airways flight were so rude. I was shocked.

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    • Anonymous says:

      @1:25am The same crew does both flights..just like the New York flights..It is a 5.5. hour flight with a 12 hour crew rest period.. No need for another crew.

      The problem will arise though if the flight is late getting into LAX then crew res will delay the morning flight..

  22. Active Traveller says:

    The proposed times are stupidness, starting with leaving at the worst / busiest time at GCM Airport (Saturday afternoon). Like the earlier commenter said….setting your alarm clock for 3:30 am to get up, check out & get a ride to LAX…How about 5 pm GCM depart (not busy) & then 9 or 10 am from LAX. Please stop & think this through.

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  23. Anonymous says:

    A direct flight to western Canada would have made much more sense. Calgary or Vancouver. Far more Canadians from the west with family connections to Cayman who would prefer direct versus via Toronto. Plus the snowbirds.

    Americans have so many choices via AA etc. and are tied into their loyalty programs. Don’t think it’s gonna be economically sustainable.

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  24. Anonymous says:

    americans will still fly aa or other carriers…even if it means a stop over somewhere.
    cal…terrible service…terrible reliability…terrible rewards….terrible in flight serivce…no in-flight entertainment.

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  25. Anonymous says:

    Feel sorry for anybody stuck on those crap cal planes for 5.5 hours …

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  26. Anonymous says:

    Why does cal not do monthly thurs-sun charters to Vegas?…the world’s most popular tourist destination. It would sell out in a flash each month….even at ci$750 a ticket

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  27. Anonymous says:

    Garbage flight times and days for Cayman residents. No chance of doing a weekend break….
    Abysmal as usual by cal.

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    • Anonymous says:

      It’s like CAL is focused on bringing tourists here or something. Who would have thought it?

  28. Anonymous says:

    Best News EVER!! Thanks Cayman Airways..just Awesome!

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  29. Anonymous says:

    Let’s get travel to the brac down first. That distance delayed once and you will lose the market

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    • Anonymous says:

      Thank you!

      I much prefer flying on the Saab than the jet or Otter, but fear the Saabs have gotten too old to continue to repair; seems like they break down very regularly. It has become somewhat unreliable to plan a trip to the Brac or from the Brac to Grand Cayman.

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  30. Anonymous says:

    How can this be profitable? Time will tell Mr. Bryan. Maybe you want to be on AGT?

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  31. Anonymous says:

    You must be daft. Cal can’t dictate the time slot the want. That’s what we get as a newbie into the market. Don’t like it take the connection via Miami and shut up.

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  32. Anonymous says:

    Connection times never work! Been trying for years to fly from the northeast and never once does a connection time work!

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  33. Anonymous says:

    Sounds like this route was put on for our Hollywood chasing , junket loving politicians and CS wannabe rockstar types. I guess it can help reduce shipping fees for more overpriced, chintzy DOT designer swag from Rodeo Drive.

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  34. Anonymous says:

    They ga some awesome Cannabis strains over there boyy, can’t wait!

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  35. Anonymous says:

    Just dont make sense. Somebody got their way.

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  36. Anonymous says:

    I’m still going AA for the loyalty programme and in flight entertainment, and a place to charge my laptop or phone and get internet service. This is what people want, not what is painted on the tail. I can leave Cayman at lunch time and be in LA in time to catch my flight to Singapore. If I get there late and miss my connection I am already re-booked. That is a big perk with one world. Arrive late on a none one world ticket and miss your flight, you are on your own.

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  37. Anonymous says:

    Money Pit sequel legit

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  38. Anonymous says:

    Well before they start they better retrofit power points and Wifi or nobody is going to enjoy the 5 1/2 hour flight. They may be new(ish) but the Max 8’s are fitted out as basic as basic can be.

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  39. Anonymous says:

    Good for residents, meh for tourists. If wanted biggest bang for the CAL buck, for residents and visitors, direct to YYC (Calgary Canada). But that would have been too bold.

    Southern Californians head down to Cabo and other western Mexico.

    Hollywood? Expect plane loads of celebs?

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  40. Anonymous says:

    If only the flight times were useful for connections onward… Honestly, who wants to get to the airport at 4am to catch a flight here? Shame, I had such high hopes of it being useful.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Agreed. Return flight should leave much later.

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    • Anonymous says:

      #WorldClass

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    • Anonymous says:

      Take the longer route then, and stop complaining.

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    • Anonymous says:

      @6:36pm You do realize that California is 3 hours behind Cayman, so you would be leaving there at 10am Cayman time. Right now it will arrive at 3:15pm which will allow folks like me coming to visit to have time to check into the Westin, relax a bit, watch the sunset and then head out to an early dinner.

      If the flight left at say 10am then it would arrive at 6:15pm which means not arriving during daylight hours and missing an afternoon of my trip. I don’t know about you but I can get up early for one day to ensure that I maximize my time on the island. It’s a 4.5 hour flight which gives me a lot of time to catch up on sleep if I need it.

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      • Anonymous says:

        So the hotels got this for wealthy tourists.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Understandably these flights are for tourists, however the 7am flight is pretty much ONLY useful for those in the LA area and not other areas of Cali or the West Coast as I’m not aware of any flights that will get into LAX earlier enough to make that connection unless you overnight. TBH, I’ve met a handful of tourists who have come from LA as most of the people I know who live there prefer to travel South to Mexico or to Hawaii. Hopefully we’ll get more tourists from Cal from this flight, but I’m suspect.

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