REDMOND, OR -- United Airlines is expanding its nationwide network, including the addition of a non-stop flight from Redmond to Chicago's O'Hare Airport. Redmond Airport Director Zach Bass says this is a noteworthy flight for Roberts Field, "It's the first Chicago direct we've ever had, but it's also the furthest East-bound direct that we've ever had." It's also the first red-eye, departing Redmond at 11:45 p.m. and arriving in Chicago at 5:15 a.m., Eastern Time. The return flight departs O'Hare at 7:30 p.m. ET, and arrives in Redmond at 9:45 p.m., local time.
The route is seasonal, offered June to October, for now, "A lot of times, they introduce seasonal to see if the market can handle the flight," Bass tells KBND News, "And, hopefully, what we're looking at is Central Oregon stepping up and using the flight, of course; and then, hopefully, we'll see it year-round at some point in the future." He adds, "United Airlines, who's providing this direct flight, has done this in similar-sized cities: Spokane and Fresno, and it's been successful. So, they're hoping it's successful here."
Bass says the new destination is also an opportunity for Central Oregonians to have greater access to more flights because Chicago is United's main hub, "From my understanding, United offers about 500 different flights out of there, almost daily. So, it will be a great asset for someone who wants to get to the East Coast early in the morning and pretty much connect to anywhere East of there."
According to the airline, the daily non-stop flights will be operated by SkyWest, using an Embraer 175 series aircraft that can accommodate up to 76 passengers. It has 12 recliner seats in First Class, 16 seats in Premium Economy-lite and 48 Coach seats.
Photo: A United plane sits on the tarmac at Chicago's O'Hare Airport.