Most people who fly out of Chico to San Francisco on United Express do so in order to connect with a flight to a further destination. Furthermore prices have historically been relatively high for those only flying the short segment to SFO.
But right now the fares for travel purely between Chico and San Francisco are a flat-out bargain that make it worth your while to consider flying when you need to get to San Francisco.
The prices below are for one person and include all of the taxes. They do not include optional fees such as for checked baggage. The code in parentheses is the fare basis code that references the rules. The first letter of the fare basis is the seat inventory code that must be available in order to get the rate. Naturally these fares are nonrefundable and nonchangeable.
Round-trip, 21-day advance purchase, Saturday night minimum stay: $98 (KE21N2SC)
One way, 14-day advance purchase: $59 (LA14N2SC)
One-way, 7-day advance purchase: $79 (TA7N2SC)
One way, 3-day advance purchase: $89 (SA3N2SC)
One way, no advance purchase: $99 (WA0N2SC)
One limitation to be aware of is that these fares are not valid for the first flight of the day, which currently departs Chico at 6:00 a.m. No flight restrictions apply in the opposite direction.
While you might be focused on the low-cost round-trip fare, using the service one way can really make sense. Imagine that your spouse is working during the week in the Bay Area, and you want to join him or her to spend the weekend in the City. It would be way more costly to drive a second car down there – why not just fly down on Friday and then drive back together?
Remember, too, that BART runs directly into SFO. Step off the plane, hop on BART and you’ll be in downtown San Francisco in about 30 minutes. Alternatively a 12 minute ride on BART to Millbrae lets you connect with frequent Caltrain service down the Peninsula as far as San Jose and Gilroy.
But it’s not just for Chicoans. Tell your Bay Area friends about this so they can wing it to Chico and skip the drive.
Airline fares change relentlessly so what gives now may be completely different in an hour. But I’ve been seeing these fares in the market for at least a month so maybe United is experimenting to see if it can stimulate traffic.