SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Daily nonstop flights from Santa Barbara Airport to Chicago started early Thursday morning.
Passengers at the Santa Barbara Airport got set to take off to a brand new destination.
“This is our first flight to Chicago here in an international airport,” said Henry Thompson, director at the Santa Barbara Airport. “It is a great day for Santa Barbara, we’ve been working on this destination for a really long time, and United finally decided to offer this opportunity for our community.”
United Airlines will now take off each morning at 7 a.m. for the longest daily flight Santa Barbara Airport has to offer. Thursday's first flight was nearly 90 percent full.
"I just went to look at what was available online and it was an option and I was really surprised I was not going to have to take the bus down to LA and get the flight direct,” said Terra Thomas, who was one of those first passengers to Chicago.
The airport director says this flight has been in the works for more than a year.
“This flight was originally scheduled to launch pre-pandemic and because of the pandemic the service launch was delayed and so we are actually about a year-and-a-half behind its original launch date so that is another reason why we are very excited to offer this,” said Thompson.
Santa Barbara Airport is looking into adding more destinations soon.
“I am just glad to see that the airport is adding in more flights and get more connecting options internationally,” said Thomas. “My sister lives on the East Coast so that is very exciting.”
“We have many many options to get across the county and across the world. You no longer need to travel to Los Angeles International Airport or Burbank because you can get to anywhere right here from Santa Barbara,” said Thompson.