united airlines

United Airlines will use its Airbus A319 aircraft for flights from Fresno to Chicago next year. Photo via wikipedia user Joao Carlos Medau

published on November 13, 2018 - 11:37 AM
Written by David Castellon

The launch this past summer of the first direct flights between Fresno Yosemite International Airport and Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport were so popular that the airline will amp up the service next year.

For one thing, instead of offering the flights from June to September as it did this year, United plans to resume the direct flights earlier, starting March 31, said Kevin Meikle, Fresno’s director of aviation.

On top of that, more seats will be available for the daily flights, as the 76-seatEmbraer E175 jets used this year will be replaced next year with 124-seat Airbus A319s, he said.

As for the reason behind the changes, “The response from the travelers has been incredible,” with many of the flights between Fresno and Chicago full or near full, Meikle said.

One thing unlikely to change are the times of the flights, which generally arrived here about 10:15 p.m. and departed back to Chicago at 11 p.m.

Meikle noted that the red-eye flights were well received by the public, despite their late hours, because they allowed passengers to arrive in Chicago in the early morning and easily catch connecting flights there.

As popular as the Chicago flights have been, “I think for all of us, the hope is to make it a permanent, year-round service, and if the trend continues how it’s been to this point, I’m confident it will be a permanent, year-round service,” Meikle said.

In addition to the coming changes for the United flights, Alaska Airlines increased its daily flights to Portland International Airport from one to two earlier this month, and starting Nov. 24 the airline’s daily flights to San Diego International Airport will increase from two to three.

As for travelers heading to and from Guadalajara, Mexcico during the holiday season, Volaris Airlines will increases its daily flights there from one to two during December and January, while Aeromexico will offer flights there seven days a week starting Dec. 17 through mid January before returning to its regular five-day-a-week schedule.

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