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United to operate flights between Orange County and Aspen this winter

There’s some good news for those who are planning to hit the slopes this winter. United is adding a brand-new route between Orange County and Aspen this winter.

Starting 16th December 2021 and running through 26th March 2022, United will operate a daily flight between Orange County’s John Wayne International Airport and Aspen/Pitkin County Airport. These flights will operate with the following schedule:

  • Aspen-Orange County
  • Departure time: 14:00
  • Arrival time: 15:24
  • Flight time: 2 hours and 24 minutes
  • Flight number: UA5707
  • Frequency: Daily
  • Orange County-Aspen
  • Departure time: 16:00
  • Arrival time: 19:08
  • Flight time: 2 hours and 08 minutes
  • Flight number: UA5450
  • Frequency: Daily

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The flights will be operated by United Express partner Skywest aboard a CRJ-700, featuring six first-class seats and 64 standard economy class seats. Flights are already available for sale, with one-way fares starting at $259 for Economy and $439 for First Class.

With the addition of flights between Orange County and Aspen, United says that it will offer nonstop service to the most ski destinations from Southern California. In Colorado, the airline will serve Aspen, Vail/Eagle, Hayden/Steamboat and Montrose/Telluride. The Chicago-based carrier will also fly to Bishop/Mammoth (another new route for the airline), Sun Valley, Bozeman/Big Sky and Jackson Hole.

While all of the 8 above mentioned destinations will be served from Los Angeles, only Aspen is lucky enough to be served from both Los Angeles International Airport and Orange County’s John Wayne Airport.

This new route could be a hit with local residents who prefer to fly from the John Wayne Airport, which is far more convenient for flyers who live south of Los Angeles International Airport.

It remains to be seen if this new point-to-point route will be successful for United. Department of Transportation data analyzed by Cirium shows that just eight passengers on average traveled from Orange County to Aspen each day in the first quarter of 2019. Of course, that can be due to the fact that no nonstop flight existed then – all of those passengers needed to connect somewhere in order to get to Aspen.

If we look at the nearby Los Angeles International Airport, the data shows that 155 passengers flew to Aspen each day in the first quarter of 2019. Though United held a 56% share of passengers flying between Los Angeles and Aspen in that quarter, the airline’s likely hoping to grow that number with the new Orange County flight, as the carrier will not face any direct competition on this route.

This isn’t United’s only new route from Orange County during the COVID-19 pandemic. In May 2021, the airline restarted flights to Honolulu, Hawaii, from John Wayne Airport, marking the first time the route’s been flown since 2012.

United inherited two legacy Continental routes, one from Orange County to Honolulu and the other being between Orange County and Maui/Kahului when the carriers merged in 2010. United stopped the Maui flight in January 2012, followed by the Honolulu one six months later.

Meanwhile, United is heavily investing on Carbon-Free aircraft. The airline recently announced that it will buy up to 50 Supersonic aircraft from BOOM Aerospace. The Chicago-based carrier is also investing in airplanes that have lower carbon emissions. It includes the airline’s recent order of 200 Boeing B737MAX and 70 Airbus A321neo aircraft. It is also eyeing flying electric aircraft by 2026.

The airline recently added nearly 150 flights to Warm-Weather cities for Winter season, has added 74 flights targeted at Football fans and three brand-new Transcontinental routes. United is now also offering the option to pre-order snacks and beverages including to Economy class passengers. It is also offering more than 40 weekly flights between United States and London in anticipation of high travel demand as the United Kingdom has scraped the mandatory quarantine for fully vaccinated Americans. United has partnered with Walmart and Albertson Companies for easier COVID-19 testing.

Featured image by United

What do you think of United’s new flights between Orange County and Aspen? Let me know in the comments section below.

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