Southwest Airlines is opening new routes to Chicago and it’s not to the airport that many may automatically think. On Monday, the Dallas-based carrier announced that it would begin service to Chicago O’Hare airport, long a stronghold of American and United Airlines, in the first half of 2021. The new service will bring fresh new competition to the city’s biggest airport.
Chicago’s two largest metropolitan airports have always split up traffic between O’Hare on the west side and Midway to the southwest — and traditionally, the airport to the south has been a fortress held by Southwest Airlines. Today, Midway serves as one of the carrier’s biggest hubs; during non-COVID times, Simple Flying reports that Southwest operated as many as 260 flights out of the airport each day.
American and United, by contrast, have largely operated out of O’Hare, where each carrier