RALEIGH — United Airlines is adding a second nonstop daily flight from Raleigh-Durham International Airport to San Francisco International Airport next spring.
It will run seasonally from April 1 through Aug. 18 and will give travelers the choice between an early-morning and afternoon departures and returns.
“It’s peak travel season for us,” RDU marketing communications officer Andrew Sawyer said. “You have a high volume of leisure travel as well as business travel.”
Adding the extra nonstop flight, even only seasonally, may lead to permanent changes, according to deputy airport director Teresa Damiano.
“The ease of travel increases the likelihood of repeat travel,” Damiano said. “Strong use of this flight could lead to a year-round increase in service.”
For years, RDU has struggled to provide nonstop service to the West Coast. Midway Airlines ran nonstop flights to Los Angeles and San Jose from 1997 to 2001. Delta flies to Los Angeles during warmer months, but has started and stopped that service periodically since 2008. The first consistent United Airlines nonstop flight to the West Coast came in August 2012.
United Airlines recently announced it would add a second, temporary daily flight to San Francisco for the holiday season, starting Dec. 19 and ending Jan. 6.
The two-per-day holiday nonstop flights take six hours and 10 minutes to cover 2,400 miles. Early morning flights arrive in San Francisco around 10 a.m. Pacific time, and evening flights arrive around 8:30 p.m. Returning flights arrive in Raleigh around 4:30 and 10:45 p.m.
The April-August seasonal flight will have similar or identical schedules, Sawyer said. The airline will post the exact times online this weekend.
Meanwhile, Sawyer said he had not heard about any changed or canceled flights as a result of the upcoming merger between American and US Airways. This week, the federal government agreed to drop an anti-trust challenge to the merger after the airlines agreed to give up some flights to Reagan National Airport in Washington and LaGuardia Airport in New York, two popular destinations from RDU.