One of the reasons people brag on Chicago is that our major airport (O’Hare International) seems to have direct connections to just about anywhere in the world one could want to travel to.
The only reason for having to make connections with flights in other cities is if one chooses to do so in an effort to save some money.
SO WHAT SHOULD we make of the fact that the federal Transportation Department, in its review of proposals for direct flights from the United States to Havana, Cuba, didn’t think any routes connecting O’Hare to Jose Marti International Airport were worthy of consideration.
Federal officials considered more than 60 proposed routes, but only gave their tentative approval to 20 of them. None of which involved a connection from Chicago to Cuba.
Both United and American airlines had desired permission to have such direct flights between the two cities.
But as things now stand, people wishing to fly American will have to go to the airports in Miami or Charlotte, N.C., and transfer there to a flight to Havana.
USING UNITED AIRLINES will entail a trip to Newark International Airport on the fringes of New York or, in what could be considered an insult to the Second City, a flight to Houston – where the transfer to a Cuba-bound flight would be made.
Considering that Houston boosters already are obnoxiously claiming their city will surpass Chicago in population to become the nation’s third largest within another decade, could it be that someone is already anxious to acknowledge the Texas city as somehow superior.
Even though when one considers the entirety of the metro areas, Houston and its suburbs will still remain smaller than Chicago metro for a long, time time.
It does seem odd that O’Hare International wouldn’t get a direct flight – considering that it used to be capable of boasting to be the world’s busiest airport and is still one of the most significant airports in the United States.
BUT APPARENTLY OUR Cuban ethnic population in Chicago (about 23,000 of the city’s 2.7 million residents) isn’t sufficient enough. Federal officials were interested in putting the direct to Havana routes in cities that have the large numbers of Cuban exiles and their families.
Maybe they think those are the only people who would want to travel to Havana, now that our own government is making a serious effort to try to restore relations between our two nations.
So much for the idea of business interests that also would want to have access to the Caribbean island nation and would think that the future economic development would create opportunities that would be beneficial for both nations.
Or maybe it just means that O’Hare’s days as being a leading airport for the United States are in the past. Even though there are many people whose trips to various places across the country mean catching a connecting flight at O’Hare.
COULD IT BE that the only “Havana” in Chicago’s future is the one located in Illinois? As in the Mason County city of some 3,200 people where Peoria is the largest nearby city of size – and whose own access involves a series of Interstates and county roads that would discourage just about anyone from wanting to actually visit the place.
Or perhaps we should consider focusing on the town of Cuba, Ill., in rural Fulton County. Or perhaps a trip to Cuba Township, the suburban place located near Barrington.
They seem to be the only such places in our future.