EVERETT, Wash. — It was 80 years ago that United Airlines started the first commercial flights to Everett’s Paine Field, and now they’re coming back. United Airlines announced Thursday that it will offer six daily flights from Everett to their hubs in Denver and San Francisco.
“Oh goodie,” Perry Welch said sarcastically when hearing of the news.
Like many folks trying to enjoy Mukilteo’s Lighthouse Park with the smoky air hanging over Puget Sound, she lives under the Paine Field flight paths. Her biggest concern is the service will be so successful they’ll keep adding more.
“Once it starts,” the Lynnwood resident said, pausing and shrugging. “Well, it’s progress. And Sea-Tac is way too crowded.”
The CEO of Propeller Airports, Scott Smith, tells Q13 News that nothing will change with Paine Field's flight paths. Propeller Airports is the company that's building and will run run passenger operations at Paine Field. The new terminal will only have two gates, so the facility could only handle two dozen flights total. Smith says that's a drop in the bucket for Paine Field, which already has 300 daily flights.
Most folks Q13 News found were less concerned with traffic overhead and more bothered by the already clogged roads to get to Sea-Tac International Airport.
"It's brutal. It sucks," says Mike Maher, who works in Mukilteo and lives in nearby Edmonds.
Maher says it's taken him as long as an hour and a half to get to Sea-Tac during rush hour and that it's highly stressful.
"It'll just be a lot easier to catch a flight from Paine Field than having to get all the way to Sea-Tac."
Software mapping company Tom Tom ranks our region as the fourth worst traffic in the U.S., so for travelers who live in Snohomish County or points north, the drive to Sea-Tac can easily take more than an hour.
Many we found seem excited that Alaska Airlines will not be the only player at Paine Field. Adding United flights could keep certain routes competitive -- at least to Denver and San Francisco. There has also been much speculation on travel blogs that Allegiant Air, which currently services the Bellingham Airport, will also step up and add service to Everett.
Allegiant does not currently service Sea-Tac, but has twice petitioned in the past to bring commercial passenger service to Paine Field.
While United has said their flights will serve Denver and San Francisco, Alaska Airlines has not yet revealed where their 9 flights will go. Scott Smith with Propeller Airports says Paine Field will only serve domestic flights. Groundbreaking for the new terminal was in June and commercial passenger flights are expected to begin in October 2018.