United Adds Saturday Winter Flights To Whitefish From Chicago
Visiting Northwest Montana in the winter just got a little easier with the addition of a new Saturday nonstop service from Chicago-O’Hare (ORD) to Glacier Park International (FCA). The Glacier Airline Enhancement and Retention Outreach committee (Glacier AERO), a group of local business and tourism leaders, raised $240,000 for a revenue guarantee to secure the new Chicago flight.
This flight marks the first time winter service has been available from Chicago and will coincide with the 2014/2015 Ski & Snowboard Season at Whitefish Mountain Resort.
Flight 6241 departs O’Hare at 9:45 a.m., arriving at Glacier Park International at 12:25 p.m. Those returning from Glacier have a departure at 1:01 p.m, arriving in Chicago at 5:12 p.m. Seting capacity is 66 persons. The flights are set for Saturdays starting Dec. 20 and running through April 4.
“This idea of expanding flight service into the Flathead Valley has been in the works for more than a decade,” Glacier AERO Chair Paul Johannsen said. “We are excited about securing this flight and the solid support of The Flathead County Economic Development Authority and the local businesses that rallied to make this happen.”
United Airlines has provided summer flight service from Chicago to Glacier Park International Airport since 2007. Only 26 miles from Glacier National Park and 11 miles from Kalispell and Whitefish, Montana, Glacier Park International has long serviced summer visitors and has set new records for passenger service in the summer of 2013 and again in 2014. Likewise skier visits at Whitefish Mountain Resort have been steadily increasing over the past several seasons creating a need for additional flight service into the area. The ski area is only 19 miles from the airport.
“We’re absolutely delighted about winter flight service from Chicago,” Whitefish Mountain Resort President Dan Graves said. “I’m convinced this will be another step forward in producing a more sustainable economy in the winter months for the local communities and Whitefish Mountain Resort.”
The Flathead County Economic Development Authority provided a $100,000 matching grant, while Whitefish Mountain Resort contributed $25,000 to the effort. Other contributions were made by Kalispell Chamber of Commerce and Convention and Visitors Bureau, Big Mountain Commercial Association, Whitefish Convention and Visitors Bureau, Glacier Bank, First Interstate Bank, Whitefish Chamber of Commerce and Kandahar Lodge.
United Airlines also provides year-round daily nonstop service from Denver (DEN). Glacier Park International Airport is also served by Alaska, Allegiant and Delta Airlines with year-round service to Denver, Las Vegas, Minneapolis, Salt Lake City and Seattle and additional seasonal service to Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, Oakland/San Francisco and Portland.
Photo: United adds Saturday service to whitefish from Chicago (Whitefish Mountain Resort)