A small plane with five passengers on board landed this week in Brown Field, a small municipal airport just north of the border between San Diego and Tijuana. And It happened without much fanfare.
It was a weekly arrival from Ensenada, Mexico, located about 70 miles south of the border.
Each passenger paid about $275 to hop on the one-way flight to land north of the border.
They cleared customs by using tourist visas and were allowed into the U.S.
Had they tried to walk or drive through a port of entry, they would have been turned back. This has been the case since the pandemic began and essential travel restrictions were instituted in March of last year.
As it turns out, if you fly direct from Mexico to the U.S. for the sake of shopping or to site-see, you can do it.
“I’m here to visit by family and do some shopping,” said Abigail Ochoa. “I tried to cross by flying from Tijuana to Guadalajara then to the U.S. but it took too long and it was expensive, when I saw this option I thought it was good, easier to get to San Diego.”
After exiting the U.S. Customs and Border Protection area, Ochoa and the others were free to go. But they are on their own as far as returning to Mexico.
“People who can’t cross have this opportunity provided they abide with all the COVID-19 protocols,” said Joel Varela, who has been promoting these flights in Mexico.
According to Varela, passengers have to be fully vaccinated.
The flights are being offered from various points in Northern Baja California.
“This is a regional airline offering this mode of travel to get to San Diego,” said Angel Medina, who is a tourism promoter in the region.
The flights are being offered on a weekly basis, if there is more demand, others will be added.