Visit Sarasota County Partners with Bradenton Area CVB to Celebrate New United Airlines Flight

Todays News


Visit Sarasota County (VSC) and the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau (BACVB) teamed up with United Airlines to add a nonstop route from Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) to Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport (SRQ). “We’re giving our customers throughout the Washington region more access and options to fly to Florida,” says Ankit Gupta, Vice President of Domestic Network Planning, United Airlines.  “We’re excited to add Sarasota to Dulles and give fliers from the Sunshine State another convenient connection to our vast network.” The two destination marketing organizations celebrated the inaugural Flight 3402 on Sunday, October 27 with a water cannon salute, giveaways and a ribbon cutting ceremony at SRQ.

The two daily nonstop flights will now provide domestic and international travelers the ability to connect through one of United’s hub cities if a layover is necessary. This flight will also likely open economical opportunities due to the corporations and associations surrounding the Nation’s Capital—many of whom will now consider sourcing Sarasota County and the Bradenton area as a destination for meetings, now that there is a more direct route available and convenient group airlift access—key factors in business destination selection. Additionally, the central location of SRQ, only 5 miles from some of downtown’s largest meeting hotels, makes getting to meetings or incentive locations a breeze. 

Virginia Haley, President of VSC, Elliott Falcione, Executive Director of BACVB and Christian Dorn, Marketing Program Manager of Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority led a group of meeting professionals, who arrived on the first arriving flight Sunday, to Muse restaurant at The Ringling Museum for a celebration luncheon and tour. More extensive “Familiarization Tours” (known in the industry as ‘FAM’) of Sarasota and Bradenton will occur throughout the week with various local hotels, attractions and restaurants. “We have planned a varied and fun agenda to show off our amazing destinations to our special guests!” says Ellen Thomas, Senior Meetings Sales Manager of VSC. VSC and BACVB hope to work with more industry partners, meeting professionals, airlines, airports, media or each other, to continue promoting the destination and attract visitors. 

“Our destination has recently seen a tremendous expansion of non-stop flights into and out of the Sarasota Bradenton International Airport, which is quickly growing into one of the best airports in the region, further setting the Bradenton/Sarasota Area apart from other beach destinations in the state,” says Falcione. “We are thrilled to see the new United Flight from Dulles as the D.C. area is historically an important market for destination visitation from leisure travelers, groups and meetings. We know that those who take advantage of the flight (and especially the planners on the inaugural flight) will enjoy the convenience of flying into SRQ and landing minutes from the world-class beaches, dining, arts and more offered in the destination.”


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