Question for those in the know: What is the secret of UA's BFL-DEN flights?
Bakersfield, the truly forgotten city and airport in the state of California, has nearly 67% leakage to LAX, but also to the rest of Southern California, Fresno, and Las Vegas. Its business climate is oil (which will drive premium fares when oil prices are high) and agriculture, but it is relatively poor by California standards and has never supported much of an airport in terms of longevity of service.
The list of canceled routes is painful: LAX, SAN, SBA, FAT, LAS, SMF, SJC, SLC, DEN, DFW, IAH. Even SFO is once a day, and it is never guaranteed. HP/thenUS/nowAA has done well enough to PHX, but there's been no expansion on this route since the 90's in terms of frequency - just an occasional variation in RJ.
But then there is the 2x daily service to DEN. Year in, year out, this route survives. And somehow, United makes money from this route - so where is it coming from? Why DEN and not DFW or SLC? Yes, I know there is a subsidized BFL-DFW non-stop, but that was always considered mainly for oil business.
It's ironic - when I lived in Bakersfield in the 80's, the one route we were missing was a stable DEN schedule. A x2 daily routing via FAT was introduced for a while in 1986 (BFL-FAT-DEN, DEN-BFL-FAT-DEN, & DEN-FAT-BFL), but like everything else United did at the time, they changed the schedule before the ink was dry on the last timetable. Even Continental's brief stint in 87 at BFL didn't help United.
Yet this route that couldn't ever be sustained in the 80's or 90's is now the most stable it has. And I can't even fathom a guess. Anyone know?
By the way, great airport - my 80 year-old mother has had nothing but easy transfers doing Express to Express flights, usually BFL-DEN-XNA. Easier than dealing with DFW, and easy enough to walk with a pit stop along the way.
Limited O&D experience on my end (two arrivals, one departure), but I would agree everything should be on the inside. Last thing anyone wants is the requirement of outside stairs or ramps or escalators if not necessary.