Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Boise to Houston: United Airlines Fills Flight for Wednesday Morning's Inaugural Take-Off

Posted By on Wed, Aug 20, 2014 at 10:01 AM

click to enlarge Jennifer Rooney, United Airport Operations supervisor, prepares the inaugural flight of United Airlines 4978 at the Boise Airport. - GEORGE PRENTICE
  • George Prentice
  • Jennifer Rooney, United Airport Operations supervisor, prepares the inaugural flight of United Airlines 4978 at the Boise Airport.

Yes, United Airlines Flight 4978, from Boise to Houston, left on time Wednesday morning, heading into a beautiful sunrise. But passengers (it was a nearly full flight) were greeted by a lot more than baggage handlers and gate agents as city officials, Chamber of Commerce representatives and United management greeted the travelers in celebration of the inaugural service.

"The business community has been clamoring for this nonstop service for quite a long time," Kevin Price, Seattle-based United regional sales manager told Boise Weekly. "Houston is a huge hub for us."

And indeed, most of the passengers BW spoke to this morning were using Houston as a hub to continue to final destinations of Mexico City, Florida, Louisiana and a number of smaller Texas cities. But one local businessman was particularly pleased with the new Houston service.

"I'm fortunate to live in Eagle, but I still need to travel to Houston four or five times each month," said Chris Phillip, America's manager for Optasense, a London-based global technology firm. "Our headquarters for North and South America is Houston. "I usually have to travel through Phoenix, Salt Lake city or Denver to get there. I just came back from Houston last Friday, so yes, this was a great surprise."

And that's the key to the Boise Airport's effort to secure a new hub: business travelers.

"Our economic model is very tied to how much the business community wants a particular service," Price told BW. "We've been hearing quite a bit about Houston and that helped to make this happen."

And as UA 4978 taxied out onto the runway of the Boise Airport, it was greeted by a so-called "water arch" from two fire trucks, creating an inaugural liquid gateway before the jet took off.

click to enlarge A water arch served as a gateway Wednesday morning for  United Airlines inaugural flight from Boise to Houston. - GEORGE PRENTICE
  • George Prentice
  • A water arch served as a gateway Wednesday morning for United Airlines inaugural flight from Boise to Houston.
click to enlarge Charles Wolfe, a United Airlines platinum card frequent flier, was given the honor of cutting the ribbon to Wednesday's inaugural flight from Boise to Houston. To the left is Boise City Council President Maryanne Jordan. To the right is Boise City Councilwoman Elaine Clegg. - GEORGE PRENTICE
  • George Prentice
  • Charles Wolfe, a United Airlines platinum card frequent flier, was given the honor of cutting the ribbon to Wednesday's inaugural flight from Boise to Houston. To the left is Boise City Council President Maryanne Jordan. To the right is Boise City Councilwoman Elaine Clegg.



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