United Airlines will offer daily one-hop flights to Los Angeles next summer from two airports in western Montana.
Missoula International and Glacier Park International near Kalispell announced Tuesday the airline’s plan to fly directly to Los Angeles International starting June 7 through, tentatively, Aug. 20.
“They always have the right to extend it, and they’ve told us it does have the potential to shift to later in the year,” said Brian Ellestad, deputy airport director in Missoula.
For Missoula, United is the third airline to offer flights directly to the southern California hub, but the first to do it on an extended daily basis. Delta flies in and out each day for a couple of weeks through the Christmas period, while Allegiant Air has two weekly flights to and from LAX during the summer.
Director Cris Jensen thanked United for its commitment to the community and its investment to serve the transportation needs of the region.
“This new flight is an excellent opportunity for travelers to access Los Angeles, in addition (to) easy access for southern Californians to witness the beauty of Montana,” Jensen said in a news release.
“This direct service provides significant advantages, both to those who live in the valley and guests wishing to visit the Flathead,” Rob Ratkowski, airport director for Glacier Park International, said in a separate release. “Not only does this direct flight drastically reduce travel time to the West Coast, the flight’s arrival times will make it possible for travelers to easily catch same-day connections out of LAX. It really opens up travel options for residents and tourists.”
Five airlines service Missoula, and nonstop flights are offered year-round to seven destinations: Denver, Las Vegas, Minneapolis, Phoenix-Mesa, Portland, Salt Lake City and Seattle. Seasonal nonstop service goes to Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles and Oakland.
Efforts are underway in Missoula to attract a carrier for Texas flights.
“We continue to talk to both United and American for Texas service for next summer. That’s still a possibility,” Ellestad said.
As is the case with Missoula, three airlines that fly out of Glacier Park International will now go to Los Angeles on a seasonal basis.
The four airlines that service the Flathead airport have year-round nonstop flights to Denver, Las Vegas, Minneapolis, Salt Lake City and Seattle. Seasonal flights go to and from Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, Oakland and Portland.