With Final United Departure, MTAA Looks Ahead

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - While those who used the service in its final days give it glowing reviews, the Metropolitan Topeka Airport Authority plans to figure out what went wrong that caused United Airlines to end flights between Topeka Regional Airport and Chicago's O'Hare Airport.

The twice-daily flights had their final departure Tuesday afternoon. The service launched just eight months ago.

Karen Kasey was among passengers on the last Topeka takeoff. She said she appreciated the convenience of Topeka's airport.

"Coming from Chicago and to Cleveland, this is the way to fly and makes life very easy and enjoyable actually," she said.

MTAA director Eric Johnson says he's disappointed to see United go. He plans to go back and analyze all the data to see what exactly caused response to be lower than anticipated.

"We had some issues with cancelled flights and late flights and the weather in Chicago is certainly worst in a long time and that had an impact," Johnson said.

United said the service failed to meet revenue and passenger forecasts. On average, just 49 percent of seats were filled, compared with an average 86 percent on all United's Chicago flights.

More than 16,000 people used the service. Customers who had tickets booked after Tuesday were provided the option to receive a refund, a travel credit or rebook their flights in and out of Kansas City.