BUFFALO, N.Y.- Western New Yorkers can now fly direct to California for the first time on jetBlue's inaugural flight from Buffalo to Los Angeles.

The new route was announced in February, but it has been in the works since 2013. New York Senator Chuck Schumer says this will not only help Buffalonians travel to the West Coast more easily, but also Canadians. In 2012, 47 percent of passengers were from Ontario.

Toronto's Pearson Airport has an average wait time of three hours, while Buffalo's average wait time is only 12 minutes. Toronto's direct flight to L.A. is almost $100 more expensive than Buffalo's.

"Buffalo will become a 'welcome mat' for visitors from LA and travelers from Canada who will enjoy our top-notch restaurants, hotels and other tourist attractions during their trip," Schumer said.

"This opportunity continued to get stronger and stronger and we're very excited to finally have it in play," said John Checketts of JetBlue Airways.

The new service could help the local economy -- not only bringing more people here close to the region, but also offering flyers out west another option, another destination to travel to easily -- staying at local hotels, eating at local restaurants, taking in attractions.

As far as prices go, jetBlue has a $99 promo deal but that's only for flights directly to L.A. Friday.

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JetBlue's inaugural direct-to-LA flight taxies through a ceremonial spray-down prior to liftoff from Buffalo Niagara International Airport.