Santa Barbara Airport | Credit: Paul Wellman (file)

On Monday, Santa Barbara Airport (SBA) announced that starting June 3, United Airlines will offer daily nonstop flights to Chicago O’Hare International Airport. The daily flight, which can hold up to 76 passengers, will take off from Santa Barbara at 7 a.m., landing in Chicago at 1:20 p.m. local time.

“We are honored that United Airlines has chosen SBA for a new service via its Chicago hub,” said Henry Thompson, SBA’s airport director. This addition will be the farthest direct flight offered at SBA, with more than 40 connections across the Midwest and East Coast, as well as connections to 60 international destinations, according to Thompson. 

Previously, Santa Barbara area residents only had the option to fly through Denver, Los Angeles, or San Francisco to connect to other destinations. Thompson said this new flight will shave hours off travel.

“We are thrilled that our community will now have access to nonstop service from our beautiful city to Chicago and beyond,” said Santa Barbara Mayor Cathy Murillo. “It is equally as important for our tourism industry, and this service will help bring visitors to our region year-round.”

In June, Dave’s Dogs Grill will be selling a variety of food outside SBA’s main entrance, featuring their Chicago Dog, as a promotion for the new Chicago flight. The pop-up will be open to the community Saturday-Sunday, 11 a.m.-1 p.m., and will offer vegetarian selections as well. 

Starting in June, SBA will have a total of 11 direct flights to destinations across the country. Advance booking for the United Airlines Chicago service is available now on

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