United Airlines ending daily nonstop Pittsburgh-to-Los Angeles service
July 31, 2014 11:24 AM
Paul Sakuma/Associated Press
United Airlines passengers check in at San Francisco International Airport.
By Mark Belko / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Apparently two daily nonstop flights to Los Angeles from Pittsburgh International Airport proved to be one too many.
United Airlines will be ending its daily nonstop service to the City of Angels on Aug. 18, making it a little tougher for local travelers to get to the West Coast.
The decision comes roughly a year after American Airlines launched its own daily nonstop to L.A. from Pittsburgh, one that competes directly with United and provides another means of access to an important business and leisure market.
In a statement Wednesday, Charles Hobart, a United spokesman, said the airline was dropping its L.A. flight because it “wasn’t meeting expectations.”
He did not elaborate.
Jeff Martinelli, an airport spokesman, said the L.A. market generates about 200 passengers each way every day. The addition of the American flight last year did not change that, meaning the two carriers were battling for the same customers.
At least one frequent flier between the two cities isn’t happy with United’s decision.
Dawn Keezer, director of the Pittsburgh Film Office, bemoaned the loss of the flight, saying it could have a “negative impact” on the city’s film trade.
“It’s another market factor,” she said. “They still need to bring in talent. They need to get here and we want to make it easy for them to do business in the commonwealth. We want to make it seamless and not having an option on the flight makes it more difficult.”
The American nonstop, she said, is not as convenient as United’s because it doesn’t get into Pittsburgh until close to midnight. The United flight, on the other hand, arrives at 3:55 p.m.
“We were thrilled to have two nonstops and now we’re back to one and it’s one with an inconvenient time,” she said.
Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, who has made boosting service from Pittsburgh International a top priority, said American apparently will be making some adjustments to its L.A. service to make it more convenient for passengers.
But he acknowledged that the loss of the United flight will have an impact on travelers. “Any time you take away options, it makes it more difficult,” he said.
The county did reach out to United to try to save the flight.
It also is believed to be talking to other carriers about perhaps adding service to Los Angeles, although Mr. Fitzgerald would not comment specifically on that.
“We continue to have discussions with a lot of airlines to try to add service to a lot of different cities, not just L.A., but other cities as well,” he said.
Ms. Keezer, meanwhile, has tried calling Dennis Yablonsky, CEO of the Allegheny Conference on Community Development, to see if anything can be done to get additional service to L.A.
Mark Belko: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1262.
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