New flight from Bay area to Aspen is proving popular, official says | AspenTimes.com

New flight from Bay area to Aspen is proving popular, official says

Naomi Havlen

The newest option for getting from San Francisco to Aspen’s slopes is eliciting a large response from Bay area skiers, officials say.

United’s new direct flight between Sardy Field and San Francisco International Airport begins on Dec. 13, but Stay Aspen Snowmass President Bill Tomcich said several flights near the holidays are already sold out.

Three inbound flights in December and four outbound flights in January are booked, he said.

Five other flights close to the holidays are close to being sold out, he added.

“There’s a great deal of excitement in the Bay area over this flight,” Tomcich said. “Now you can get from San Francisco to Aspen in two-and-a-half hours – that’s quicker than those people can get to Lake Tahoe.”

The lowest priced airfare for the flight is $488. But the price of a last-minute, full coach fare is a lofty $1,012 each way. It may sound astronomical, but Tomcich said there are travelers who are willing to pay for the last-minute convenience.

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On the other hand, reserving a local ski tour package could mean paying $488 for a flight that includes two nights of lodging and midweek flights.

“There’s no question the convenience of this flight could result in more incremental business for us from people who otherwise wouldn’t come to Aspen this winter,” he said.

Promoting the flight in the Bay area has been a large task, in part coordinated by the Aspen Chamber Resort Association through local public relations firm Promo Inc. Representatives from Aspen lodges traveled to San Francisco last week and met with travel agents and the media to tout the convenience of the flight, Promo’s Nicole Tarumianz said.

“There are people in San Francisco now who were taking the direct flight to the Eagle airport and driving up to Aspen, and those people seem really excited about this flight,” she said. “The [Aspen] chamber took the lead on this and is working with the Snowmass Village Resort Association and Stay Aspen Snowmass to promote everything.”

A short article on the flight appeared after the press briefing in The San Francisco Chronicle, and Tarumianz said several San Francisco publications have announced the flight. Tomcich said this year’s newsletters sent to past guests from the Aspen Skiing Co., ACRA and SAS have included information about the flight.