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SBA & United Airlines Announce Nonstop Service to Chicago

Santa Barbara Airport (SBA) announces today that United Airlines will offer direct, “red-eye” service to Chicago O'Hare International Airport (ORD) starting on June 4, 2020.

The daily service will depart from SBA at 11:20 pm and arrive at ORD at 5:20 am local time. For Santa Barbara area residents, it will be the most time-efficient nonstop service available to the Midwest with connections to more than a hundred destinations in Europe and the Caribbean. The route will be served by an Airbus 319, with the capacity of up to 128 passengers.

“We are honored that United Airlines has chosen SBA for new service via its Chicago hub,” says Airport Director, Henry Thompson. “Whether for business or leisure, we encourage everyone to take advantage of this service. It’s a great way to spend a full day in our beautiful city and arrive in Chicago, or on the East Coast, in the morning rather than during the evening rush hour. This nonstop flight will also shave hours off the typical routes via Denver, Los Angeles or San Francisco.” 

“We are thrilled to offer our Central California customers with nonstop service between beautiful Santa Barbara and United’s hub in Chicago,” said Janet Lamkin, United’s California President. “United’s new service to Chicago will connect Santa Barbara to more than 40 destinations across the Midwest and East Coast.” 

The success in bringing this new and sought-after service is the result of a close partnership between Santa Barbara Airport and the region’s tourism marketing powerhouse, Visit Santa Barbara. “The service is equally important for our tourism industry. We know that easy access from new markets can bring repeat visitors to our region year-round. Visit Santa Barbara looks forward to aggressively promoting this new service in Chicago,” says Kathy Janega-Dykes, CEO for Visit Santa Barbara. A Santa Barbara-bound traveler will conveniently depart at the end of a workday in Chicago at 7:45 pm and arrive at 10:30 pm.

Beginning November 13, United will also offer exclusive service to Denver three to four times a day as Frontier Airlines transitions to seasonal service. 


Santa Barbara Airport is expected to serve nearly 1 million passengers in 2019 as the 13th largest airport in California. Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Contour Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Frontier Airlines, and United Airlines serve the airport with 32 daily departures to eleven non-stop destinations – Dallas, Denver, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Oakland, Phoenix, Portland, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, San Francisco and Seattle. SBA is a self-sustaining enterprise operated by the City of Santa Barbara.

Last Updated: Aug 22, 2018
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