Arriving at the airport at 4:15 a.m. is not a typical workday for me. However, on August 15 my colleagues and I did just that. We came to work long before dawn to prepare for the first non-stop flight from Raleigh-Durham International Airport to San Francisco on United Airlines.
For more than 10 years, San Francisco had been the number one non-stop destination on our “wish list” for air service from RDU. After years of work, we were finally ready to celebrate the first departing flight, and we did so with food, music, a visit from Gov. Bev Perdue and a traditional water arch. We even had a replica of the Golden Gate Bridge.
Two months later, we’re still excited about how this one daily flight from United Airlines unites our two regions (pun intended.) Whether it’s traveling to one of the high-tech businesses in the Silicon Valley, taking vacations in wine country or connecting to Asia, the RDU-SFO flight is consistently more than three-fourths full. So far, a success.
And, there’s the rub. To stay successful means keeping the seats filled. We wish it were as easy as showing our beautiful terminal and saying we’d like to fly to the West Coast. However, with an ever-changing aviation industry, it’s up to the airport and region; we have to demonstrate financial success to the airline.
At RDU, this effort is directed by Teresa Damiano, deputy airport director of Marketing and Customer Relations. She leads a team that works with the airlines, business community, economic development groups and others to advocate for new air service for our region. But, as she’s quick to say, the customers are the one who determine if a flight is successful.
When passengers don’t consistently fill and fly a route, then the airline loses money. In today’s economy, airlines are flying only where there is sufficient demand and profit. We all need to support the investment that the airline has made in this flight. So, how you can help make the RDU-SFO route even stronger than it is today?
Change Your Habits. Let’s be honest, there may be other connecting routes that fit your schedule better or allow you to earn miles on other carriers. But, flying this new route today demonstrates to the airlines that there is demand, which may bring increased competition and additional flights, which mean more options and better ticket prices for you.
Promote The Route. Do you have family in the Bay Area? Does your company do business in Silicon Valley or in Asia? Help us share the news that there’s now a non-stop option to San Francisco with quick connection times to Asia and West Coast Destinations. The more people who know about the route, the more people will use it.
Stay Connected. Keep informed about what’s happening at RDU. That way, you’ll be the first to know about new air service coming to our region, giving you more options when you fly. Subscribe to this blog by entering your e-mail to the right or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
We’re excited about the start of our non-stop route to San Francisco, and we’re working with the airlines to bring more destinations to you from RDU.