United Airlines is ending service to Santa Rosa, in California’s wine country, marking the latest in a growing list of destination cuts dating back to the start of the pandemic.
United Airlines Cuts Santa Rosa Service
Service to Charles M. Schulz–Sonoma County Airport (STS) from San Francisco (SFO), operated by United Express affiliate SkyWest will end on October 28 2022. The 66-mile flight was United’s only service to Santa Rosa, after cutting back its Denver service during the pandemic.
United did not detail its reason for the cutback, simply saying, “We’ve made the difficult decision to suspend service to Santa Rosa this fall and have already started working with customers on alternate plans.”
Other carriers will continue to serve Santa Rosa, including Alaska Airlines and American Airlines (both via SkyWest) as well as Avelo Airlines and ExpressJet Airlines
The elimination of Santa Rosa marks a growing trend at United of reducing or eliminating service to smaller communities. As Zach Griff notes, United Airlines has now dropped service to 25 cities since the pandemic began:
- Abilene, Texas (ABI)
- Alexandria, Louisiana (AEX)
- College Station, Texas (CLL)
- Columbia, Missouri (COU)
- Destin-Fort Walton Beach, Florida (VPS)
- Evansville, Indiana (EVV)
- Flagstaff, Arizona (FLG)
- Kalamazoo, Michigan (AZO)
- Killeen, Texas (GRK)
- Lansing, Michigan (LAN)
- Monroe, Louisiana (MLU)
- Mosinee, Wisconsin (CWA)
- Ogdensburg, New York (OGS)
- Paine Field/Everett, Washington (PAE)
- Pierre, South Dakota (PIR)
- Plattsburgh, New York (PBG)
- Rochester, Minnesota (RST)
- San Angelo, Texas (SJT)
- San Luis Valley/Alamosa, Colorado (ALS)
- Santa Rosa, California (STS)
- Stockton, California (SCK)
- Tallahassee, Florida (TLH)
- Texarkana, Arkansas (TXK)
- Twin Falls, Idaho (TWF)
- Watertown, South Dakota (ATY)
While commercial factors are at play, many service cutbacks have been forced by an ongoing pilot shortage that has hit regional airlines hardest.
United Airlines is eliminating service to California’s wine county, offering no explanation for its elimination of service. Growing competition at the airport, including from a pair of ultra low-cost carriers, may help to explain the cutback, the lingering pilot shortage is the more likely explanation.
I am honestly baffled how this flight could have possibly made sense for people. You’d spend more time between going through airport security, waiting at the gate, landing, and deplaning, then if you simply drove there. Santa Rosa isn’t exactly a hot bed of public transit either, so you’d likely need to rent a car too. Seems like a terrible allocation of a limited resource like a couple of pilots.
I’m sure very few O&D passengers took the route. It existed for people to connect in SFO to and from the rest of UA’s network, particularly to places where backtracking to DEN didn’t make sense (up and down the west coast, Asia, Oceania, etc).
While it’s not a fun drive from SRO to SFO , it’s also not all that distant. granted, the traffic is a big factor in this drive, but I’ve done it a couple of times and it ranged from 80 to 100 minutes. It’s unlikely that you save much time taking United Express in such a case. Many fliers who are traveling to more distant places on UA are just as likely to make the drive to SFO as to mess around with an extra regional flight that can easily be delayed or cancelled.
The problem with liberal california is that the politicians are full of hot air.
Their way to tackle climate change is to pass legislation and ram out down residents throats, increasing costs in the process while not providing any decent alternativess. The public transportation in bay area or greater Los Angeles Angeles pathetic compared to many European cities.
The Californian liberal politician jerks themselves will not make an effort to reduce their own carbon footprint. Newsom should handout free public transportation passes to all state goverment employees and charge them $1000 per month for parking on office premises if they bring their cars. Make politicians and goverment employees take public transportation.
Yeah, ok Debit…show us on the doll where the bad orange man touched you.
We liberals in California are too busy enjoying our 5th largest economy in the world, while subsidizing all the deadbeat states that can’t even pay their own way. FACT: Every single Southern state is run by Republicans, and everyone one of them takes in more in federal money than they pay in federal taxes. Isn’t that the very definition of socialism? Your bitter conservative tears are delicious, and your whining about California is laughable!
Yeah, that’s it.
To put it in perspective, I leave my home an hour before a flight out of sts. You read that right. The parking is cheap and the walk from long term parking to the gate is shorter than the walk from the nearest bathroom to the gate at sfo. Security is never longer than the max number of people that can fit on one flight, never more than 10 min, usually 5. The timing of the United flight was such that it made it to sfo before most common destination s out of sfo. If the connection in sfo was before 1pm it was faster and way more convenient than a drive to sfo or oakland. It had its place, and it was most often fairly full.
It is puzzling! I’ve always flown into SFO or OAK to get to wine country—I’m coming from the PNW, so I’m also coming for the sunshine 🙂 Time your flight to avoid traffic and it’s not a bad drive at all, especially since you are probably renting a car anyway. I go whenever Southwest has cheap deals to the Bay, using my credit card miles—highly recommend taking that route. More info at bit. ly/southwest50 if you’re interested.
Having worked in network planning for several airlines, I can tell you this. If it were profitable, they would find a way to keep it.
You can still get there by flying into San Francisco or Sacramento. Lack of profitability and pilot resource constraints were probably what is killing this. That’s my guess. Airlines will never tell anybody what the real reason is, even if you are a somewhat prominent blogger.
Why would anyone actually connect to this flight? It’s absurd. Of course it should go. By the time you go through a connection, delays, etc, you can enjoy a nice drive over the bridge, up 101, and be far better off for the experience. This must rank as one of the most completely ludicrous flights ever concocted. Bet there were some nice views though!
I could see myself connecting if I lived near STS. Quiet little airport. Just take the puddle jumper to SFO and leave the car at home.
STS local here. United wanted to remove this route years ago, but kept it because there was a lot of demand for it.
Yep, connections at this airport are fantastic as an STS local. Began award travel here many times; same number of miles w/o dealing with transport to SFO. Also has reduced price on revenue flights by not being nonstop.
That said, I can’t imagine ever taking only the STS-SFO segment.
Left off the list is Newport News, VA. I don’t know when they stopped servicing that city, but my relatives are there and I just tried to visit them for the first time post-pandemic only to learn I had to go to Norfolk instead.
UA was serving Stockton recently? Thought that ended in the 80s or 90s.
I would rather take the Airporter bus service from Sonoma Conmtyto SFO, and then be on my way, instead of dealing with yet another airport. and airplane. Never made much sense. I can see Santa Rosa to Las Vegas or LA perhaps but not a short ohop to SFO.
The real Scott finally is coming out
Start cutting routs and problems with employees contract
Since Oscar is not on bord anymore
Scott is going to saving money for the shareholders