United Airlines mainline service returns to Eugene Airport

United Airlines is bringing its mainline service to Eugene. The large airbuses can transport up to 170 people. (SGB image)

EUGENE, Ore. - The Eugene Airport is bracing for more travelers during the upcoming Olympic trials at Hayward Field in July. United Airlines hopes a new flight service will help travelers coming to and leaving from the area.

United Airlines' mainline service, a larger passenger jet, will return after being gone for over a decade.

"I think it's pretty exciting they have a bigger one coming out now," said Robin Holly, a United Airlines traveler.

Holly is a frequent flyer who lives in Newport. She sees value in the larger aircraft and United Airlines sees value in Eugene.

"In Eugene it's about serving the customer. We have two universities. We got a great customer base here. We can get more seats to San Francisco and from San Francisco to the world," said Eric Wetzel, United Airlines regional operations manager.

Since 2008, United Airlines has limited regional aircraft seating between 50 and 70 passengers at the Eugene Airport. But now, mainline service will allow about 170 available seats in an aircraft, thanks to a sustained increase in passengers.

Eugene Airport spokesperson Cathryn Stephens says the larger aircraft will allow passengers to travel to San Francisco faster when the weather is bad.

"It means the mainline planes have priority, unlike the regional aircraft," Stephens said.

The A319 or A320 airbuses will run three times daily and offer first class seats along with in-flight Wi-Fi and entertainment.

"All those in flight amenities is pretty wonderful. You can keep working, which I'll be doing while you're flying, and get ahead on the day so when you land you're ready to do whatever you're landing to do," Stephens said.

Besides accommodating frequent travelers, United Airlines hopes to provide air service for the University of Oregon and Oregon State University sports teams.

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