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United has now dropped 25 US cities during the pandemic

Small U.S. cities continue to lose airline service, as the pandemic has caused carriers to redraw their route maps in the face of a growing pilot shortage and reduced demand. Santa Rosa, California, is the latest city to lose a chunk of its air service, when United cuts its flights there in October, as first …



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In light of a growing pilot shortage and decreased demand, airlines are redrawing their route maps and cutting service to smaller cities in the United States.

According to Cirium schedules and later confirmation from United Airlines, Santa Rosa, California, will be the latest city to see some of its air service reduced when United reduces its flights there in October.

The Charles M. Schulz–Sonoma County Airport (STS) will no longer be served by United Express regional affiliate SkyWest Airlines on Oct. 28 when it ends service to San Francisco (SFO). The airline also canceled its plans to resume service between STS and its Denver (DEN) hub over the long holiday weekend.


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American Eagle and Alaska Airlines will continue to use SkyWest to fly to STS, but United will stop serving the city in the fall.

According to Cirium schedules, United has been flying from San Francisco to Sonoma County Airport since June 2017. While both flights were suspended early in the pandemic, the Denver route was added in March 2019.

Denver’s puddle jumper hasn’t run since April 2020, while the 66-mile San Francisco version resumed service in August 2021 after a hiatus.


San Francisco-Santa Rosa has long been the quickest United flight, according to past records. 66 miles is the distance of some of the temporary regional triangle routes However, it is possible that the airline maintained the SFO link for customers who wanted to connect to flights outside of the Bay Area and international destinations.

As a result, the Chicago-based airline is no longer operating at the airport. Travelers to and from Sonoma County enjoy easy access to outdoor-friendly destinations with plenty of built-in social distancing because it is the gateway to California’s world-renowned wine country. The airport has seen significant growth during the pandemic.

As of July 14, Avelo Airlines added STS to its initial route map, while long-time regional operator ExpressJet Airlines recently landed at the airport with nonstop service from its Reno/Tahoe (RNO) hub for the first time on July 14th.

United has confirmed its decision to leave the Santa Rosa market, but has not provided any explanation for its decision. Santa Rosa service will be discontinued in the fall, and the carrier said it has already begun working with customers on alternative arrangements.


During the pandemic, United has seen a steady stream of station closures. Cirium and Ailevon Pacific data show that the carrier has withdrawn from 25 U.S. cities since the outbreak of the pandemic. To see the full list of city budget cuts, please click here.

There will be no United flights to Flagstaff, Arizona (FLG) or Texarkana (TXK) in the fall, United announced earlier this month. Even though a lack of customer demand is frequently cited as the reason for the service cuts, the major U.S. carriers’ regional networks continue to be adversely affected by the nationwide pilot shortage.

Although United has the most city cuts, it is by no means the only one. Last month, American filed documents outlining a massive restructuring of its network, which included the elimination of four U.S. cities and the elimination of three routes. The lack of pilots is causing the airline to park about 100 regional planes. As a result of the “ongoing travel demand impact from the pandemic,” Delta Air Lines also dropped three small cities earlier this year.

As a result of the pilot shortage, many American airlines, including start-ups, have begun offering substantial pay raises to pilots in order to attract new pilots. The United Aviate Academy, the airline’s new flight school, opened its doors just a few weeks ago with the goal of ensuring a steady supply of future three- and four-striped pilots.


During the pandemic, United made 25 city cuts.

According to Cirium and Aivelon Pacific data, United Airlines has exited the following cities in the United States during the pandemic:

Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington (DFW) (AEX)

University of Texas at College Station (CLL)


The city of Columbia, MO (COU)

Florida’s Destin-Fort Walton Beach (VPS) Evansville, Indiana (EVV) Arizona’s Flagstaff (FLG)

In addition to the cities of Kalamazoo (AZO), Killeen, Texas (GRK), Lansing, Michigan (LAN) and Monroe, Louisiana (MLU), the following cities are also included: Ogdensburg, New York (OGS), Paine Field/Everett, Washington (PAE), Pierre, South Dakota (PIR), Plattsburgh, New York (PBG), Rochester, Minnesota (RST), and San Angelo, Texas (SJT) (TXK)

Watertown, South Dakota, and Twin Falls, Idaho (ATY)


Zach Griff/The Points Guy took the featured image.

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