by Michael Lowrey
No, not Charlotte but rather Raleigh-Durham (RDU), with a daily flight to Seattle starting in October. Which raises the question as to when we might see some airlines besides US Airways/American Airlines offer flights from Charlotte Douglas International Airport to the Mountain and Pacific time zones. The only non-US Airways/American Airlines flight we currently have going that far west is a Delta flight to Salt Lake City. RDU, by comparison, doesn’t have a Salt Lake City but instead has two United Airlines flights to San Francisco, Southwest Airlines flights to Denver, Las Vegas, and Phoenix, and soon Alaska Airlines to Seattle and Frontier Airlines to Denver. Both Delta and US Airways offer nonstops from RDU to Los Angeles.
The answer is likely to disappoint Charlotte boosters: It could be awhile and come only after the Charlotte metro adds more population. The big US Airways presence on routes to the West Coast and Mountain Time Zone offers tough competition. The airline, will offer six flights each from Charlotte to Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Denver this summer. Las Vegas will have five flights and Seattle four. To definitely complicate matters, neither United nor Southwest Airlines do particularly well from the Queen City. Seattle, where Alaska Airlines is strong and Delta is also building a hub, may be a possibility but it’s an extremely seasonal market and also considerably smaller than San Francisco or Los Angeles.
Which, leaves, I suppose, Denver on Frontier though it’s at times hard to make sense of what Frontier’s exact business plan is. Another more possible option would be Los Angeles, likely on Delta beginning in maybe two to five years, depending on the economy and the price of oil.