United Airlines scraps plans to add a new pin to its route map

Jun 30, 2021

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

There’s a regional airport that won’t be happy about United’s latest cut.

During the past the weekend, the Chicago-based carrier filed a sweeping schedule update that included bad news for Santa Maria, California: United is dropping its plan to serve the Santa Maria Public Airport (SMX) airport, per Cirium schedules and later confirmed by the carrier.

Want more airline-specific news? Sign up for TPG’s free new biweekly Aviation newsletter!

Santa Maria would’ve been a new route-map pin for United, connecting the city to mainline service for the first time since October 2016, when United last served the airport.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

United had originally planned to launch nonstop service from Santa Maria to three of its largest hubs — Denver (DEN), Los Angeles (LAX) and San Francisco (SFO) — in June 2020. The carrier then delayed the start of service and adjusted schedules due to the pandemic. The latest plan was for flights to take off in October 2021.

In confirming the move to TPG, United cited the pandemic and market dynamics as the reason that SMX flights won’t take off.

Throughout the pandemic, United has continued to evaluate and adapt its network to respond to the changing travel landscape. Due to the pandemic and changes in market conditions since our initial announcement, United has made the difficult decision to suspend its plan to operate nonstop service to Santa Maria, Calif. (SMX) from Denver and San Francisco. We will continue to serve the region and greater Central Coast community with service to Santa Barbara Airport (SBA) and San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport (SBP).

Going forward, if residents of the Santa Maria area want to connect to mainline service, they’ll need to drive nearly an hour or more to reach either Santa Barbara or San Luis Obispo.

Santa Maria remains connected by just one airline, Allegiant, whose ultra-low-cost strategy might not appeal to everyone. The Summerlin, Nevada-based airline flies to three destinations from the California city, none of which are operated daily:

  • Las Vegas (LAS)
  • Phoenix/Mesa (AZA)
  • Portland (PDX)

The move to drop plans to serve Santa Maria comes just a week after United announced new service to two brand-new destinations, including Eastern Sierra Regional Airport near Bishop, California (BIH), and Lewiston-Nez Perce County Airport in Lewiston, Idaho (LWS).

Related: United bets big on winter travel in 39-route boost to the mountains

Along with tweaking its regional airport strategy, United also is beefing up service in anticipation of a busy winter travel season.

The carrier recently boosted 39 routes to the mountains just in time for the ski season. Additionally, just this week, the carrier upgauged eight Hawaii routes with its top-notch Polaris and Premium Plus products, to deliver an upgraded experience for those traveling to the Aloha State.

Featured photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.