United Airlines throws in the towel on San Francisco-Paine Field route

Feb 3, 2020

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.

United Airlines is calling it quits on one of its routes to Paine Field near Seattle, ending San Francisco service after less than a year.

The Star Alliance carrier will end its three daily flights between Everett’s Paine Field (PAE) and San Francisco (SFO) on March 5, according to Cirium schedule data and confirmed by United. United has offered service on the route with 76-seat Embraer 175s since March 31, 2019.

United will continue to serve Paine Field, which is located 23 miles north of downtown Seattle, with expanded service from Denver (DEN). It will add a third daily flight on the route on Feb. 13, said United spokesman Jonathan Guerin.

Sign up for the free daily TPG newsletter for more airline news!

Best known as the home of Boeing’s assembly lines for the 747, 767, 777 and 787 jets, Everett and Paine Field reopened to commercial air service last March. Alaska Airlines and United serve the airport with up to 24 flights a day. Alaska operates 18 of those flights, connecting Everett to 10 cities, including Los Angeles (LAX), San Francisco and Spokane (GEG).

Related: Alaska Airlines Expands Paine Field Map, Adds 10th Nonstop Route


View this post on Instagram


I’m in love with the @flypainefield terminal ???? #airportarchitecture

A post shared by Ned Russell (@airbus777) on

United’s San Francisco flights have been less popular than others at Paine Field. During the first eight months of service through October 2019, the flights were only 52% full on average, according to U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics data via Cirium. By comparison, Alaska’s competing San Francisco-Paine Field flights were on average 72% full, and United’s Denver-Paine Field flights were nearly 83% full.

While the number of passengers on any given flight, or the “load factor,” does not determine how profitable it is, 52% is low by industry standards. United’s systemwide load factor was nearly 86% for the same March-October period.

(Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, via Cirium)


United’s decision to cancel the Paine Field route was part of its continuous review of demand in the markets it serves, said Guerin.

The airline declined to say how it will use its remaining rights for three flights at Paine Field. United has limited options. It can use the rights to add service — either another increase to Denver or on an new route — lease them to another carrier, or return them to private terminal operator Propeller Airports for reallocation.

Related: Why the new Paine Field Airport is a passenger’s dream

Featured image courtesy of Paine Field.

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
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
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.