Glenda and Joe Padgett stood at gate B10 at Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport on Sunday morning, wearing experience masks and holding up “welcome” signs for Southwest Airlines made for them by a friend’s daughter. 

There have been a ton of folks excitedly waiting for Southwest’s initially-at any time plane at Sarasota-Bradenton to land, which it did at 11:34 a.m. Sunday, but the Padgett family’s connection to the very first-ever voyage was a minimal much more personal. 

Their son, Jared, is a Southwest employee who has worked as an in-flight scheduler for the airline for about five decades. The Padgetts are now a “Southwest loved ones,” Glenda mentioned, and they have taken their honest share of maiden Southwest voyages.

They have been on Southwest’s first flight from Tampa to Havana, Cuba, and this April, they are likely to be on the maiden voyage from Las Vegas to Fresno, California – individuals Fresno tickets were a Xmas present from their son. 

But this flight – the initial one particular ever on Southwest to their house foundation of Sarasota-Bradenton – is especially enjoyable, especially due to the fact Jared was on it with quite a few of his close friends. 

“Maybe he will occur residence far more often now,” Glenda Padgett mentioned of her son even though holding a indication that said “thanks for adding Sarasota to your locations.”

“And now we really do not have to push to Tampa to catch flights,” Joe Padgett stated. 

Passengers depart a Southwest Airlines flight from Baltimore at the Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport on Sunday. DANIEL WAGNER / HERALD-TRIBUNE

Jared Padgett was 1 of 116 travellers on the flight from Baltimore to Sarasota-Bradenton that arrived on Sunday. The airline introduced company at SRQ about the weekend with support to 4 calendar year-spherical destinations – Houston, Texas Nashville, Tennessee Chicago, Illinois and Baltimore. The same plane that arrived in Sarasota-Bradenton from Baltimore was scheduled to convert around and carry 68 folks to Chicago afterwards that working day. 

All 4 of these locations are important for Sarasota-Bradenton in their own way. Baltimore is the residence of the Baltimore Orioles, which holds its spring teaching season at Sarasota’s Ed Smith Stadium. Chicago is a major present tourism driver industry and a resource of seasonal citizens. And Houston and Nashville have demonstrated assure as prospective feeder markets for guests. 

Glenda and Joe Padgett greet their son, Jared, an in-flight crew scheduler for Southwest Airlines, at the Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport on Sunday. Jared was on Southwest’s first flight from Baltimore to Sarasota.

But what’s also a big deal about traveling passengers involving Sarasota-Bradenton and these four destinations is that they’re all massive hubs for Southwest – that means they can link men and women from Sarasota-Bradenton to the Southwest community all around the world. 

“You could be traveling there immediately if you have business in Nashville, but it also presents the prospects to go further more,” Steve Goldberg, senior vice president of functions and hospitality for Southwest, said. “It provides you the electrical power of the Southwest community as an alternative of acquiring to push to Tampa or down to Fort Myers.”