United to connect Santa Barbara and Chicago in June
United Airlines has begun taking reservations for Santa Barbara-to-Chicago service and offering some Windy City-style hot dogs to make a splash.
What airport officials describe as Santa Barbara’s longest flight will kick off on June 3 with nonstop daily to O’Hare International Airport, leaving at 7 a.m., according to a May 24 news release from Santa Barbara Municipal Airport. The United flights will use 76-seat Embraer 175 aircraft outfitted with two-class cabins.
One attraction of O’Hare compared to United’s Denver service is that Chicago is one of the nation’s major gateways for travel to Europe; pre-pandemic European visitors to the Central Coast played a small but important role in tourism year-round.
“We are honored that United Airlines has chosen SBA for new service via its Chicago hub,” Airport Director Henry Thompson said in a statement. “As international travel opens, this route will connect Santa Barbara to over 60 international destinations.”
The Chicago service caps a busy year for Santa Barbara Airport, which has seen Southwest launch long-sought service to Denver and the Bay Area. As the airport gains regional hub status, airports in San Luis Obispo and Santa Maria have also seen gains in service.
Dave’s Dogs Grill will offer a pop-up unit outside the terminal’s main entrance every Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. during June. The Santa Barbara restaurant will serve its Chicago dogs as well as vegetarian selections.