No direct flights between most populous US cities?

My wife was looking for a direct flight (no stops) from San Francisco (#12 in US population) and Indianapolis (#14) and she couldn’t find any anywhere. Not a single airline offers such an option.

So of the top 15 most populated US cities (as itemized [url=]here), how many other combinations are there that offer absolutely no direct flights among any carrier at any time of the day?

I’m inclined to think that a few toward the bottom of that list (Jacksonville, Austin) will have more limited options, but they’re also pretty far south. What amazed me about Indianapolis is that it’s square in the middle (kinda) of the US! And still not a single SFO flight.


You might want to double-check that link there.

While your link is interesting, it is not helpful in any way.

I know Chicago and Detroit are major hubs for several airlines and they are also relatively close to Indianapolis. I know airlines like to route flights through their hubs and with two big hubs so close Indy kind of loses out.

Hasn’t pretty much every airline used the hub system since the late 1970s or so?

Is it this list? Looking at it, I suspect that there are no direct flights between San Jose and San Francisco.

Hubs and switching are far more efficient than direct flights. While it’s probably a little less convenient for you, it saves them money and, overall, gets you where you’re going faster.

They used to have direct flights between IND and either SFO or OAK as recent as 2 years ago.
Indianapolis isn’t that important of a city, anyway. It’s relatively small and you’re using a poor metric (city size, not metro area) to gauge city importance. It’s the 33rd largest metro area.

Southwest doesn’t use a traditional hub and spoke model. They are also the only airline that has been consistently profitable over a very long period.

Actually, it was pointed out to me that this list of metropolitan areas is a lot more meaningful. Otherwise, we might be left wondering about the lack of flights between Dallas and Fort Worth. :dubious:

Ignorance fought, thanks!

Yes, apologies for the bad OP link.

I’ve never been to Indianapolis but I’d always heard that it was pretty big and in close proximity to all parts of the country (often a popular destination for conferences because of its centrality), but the metro listing helps clarify why she can’t find a flight (too bad; she got a job offer that she would’ve taken if direct flights were available so she wouldn’t lose 2 days/week commuting). Thanks.

My impression is that it is a real cow town trying desperately to come off as global.

by the by, one of the versions of their license plates really bothers me. It’s partly the source of my disdain for that state.

Looking at the list of the biggest MSAs, I cannot find a nonstop flight from New York City (#1) or Washington DC #9) to Riverside-Ontario, California (#14).

Flights to the nearly Los Angeles MSA are plentiful, though.


And agreed. I can’t wait to get out of this state…

However, I was once on a flight between Providence (#136) and Boston.

Fly Southwest ad you can get to DC Direct from Ontario. Jetblue used to do a run from Ontario as well to both JFK and Dulles.

You have to go direct to the Southwest and Jetblue sites, though. They don’t participate in Sabre to save costs.

Whoops - looks like Southwest killed their direct as well. Never mind.

Southwest actually does offer “direct” flights from SFO to IND. They’re one-stop flights, but they have a single flight number and no change of planes.

If you want a city pair that you literally can’t fly between without changing planes, try Seattle and Pittsburgh.

Indianapolis is 100 miles from Cincinnati and 200 miles from Chicago, each of which is a major hub.