Daily Inter Lake: United Adds Direct Flight To L.A.

United Airlines will offer direct seasonal flights from Glacier Park International Airport to Los Angeles International Airport starting June 7, Glacier Airport Director Rob Ratkowski announced Tuesday.

The Flathead Valley is one of four new markets chosen by United Airlines for direct service to LAX. The flight will depart daily from Glacier Park International at 12:55 p.m. with an estimated arrival time of 2:52 p.m. into LAX. The flight originating from Los Angeles will leave daily at 8:28 a.m., landing at Glacier Park International at 12:25 p.m.

“This direct service provides significant advantages, both to those who live in the valley and guests wishing to visit the Flathead,” Ratowski said. “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.”

The addition of direct service to Los Angeles comes on the heels of a record-setting summer at Glacier Park International Airport. The growth was aided in part by United’s increased market offerings in 2017, Ratkowski said, including direct summer service from San Francisco and increased capacity on flights to Chicago and Denver.

Missoula International Airport also will add the daily non-stop service to Los Angeles starting June 7.

Dylan Boyle, who serves as the executive director of Explore Whitefish and board chairman of Glacier AERO (Airline Enhancement and Retention Outreach), said he believes the addition is another encouraging sign of business and tourism growth in the Flathead Valley.

“Glacier AERO is thrilled by the announcement of the new summer daily service on United to Los Angeles,” Boyle said in a prepared statement. “United continues to have confidence in our market by adding new and expanded air service to Glacier Park International Airport.

“Additionally, from a tourism perspective, California always ranks as a top destination in our visitor surveys in Whitefish year in and year out,” Boyle said.

“As transportation infrastructure has long been a challenge for us, having direct air service increases the probability that a prospective visitor would choose to visit the Flathead Valley instead of a competitor destination and thus provide increased economic impact to local businesses and communities.”

U.S. Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., applauded the addition of direct flights to LAX from Kalispell and Missoula.

“Tourism is a critical part of the Montana economy and supports tens of thousands of jobs,” Daines said in a press release.

“Having more flight options means less expensive airfare for Montana families and more business opportunities for the Treasure State.”