Chicago/ Transportation & Infrastructure
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Published on June 12, 2024
United Airlines Boosts Chicago Flights by 118 for Democratic National ConventionSource: N509FZ, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

As Chicago braces for the influx of delegates and attendees for the Democratic National Convention in August, United Airlines is gearing up to accommodate the crowds. The Chicago-based airline is adding an impressive 118 flights to and from the city, according to the Chicago Tribune. This move marks United's busiest schedule out of O’Hare International Airport since 2019, before the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic swept across the travel industry.

The expansion in service includes an additional 38 flights to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, a number that signifies a 40% increase, Chicago Business reports. Overall, United's daily operations will rise to more than 530 flights on peak days. Cities such as Atlanta, Baltimore, and Boston, together with Austin, Phoenix, San Diego, and Seattle will all see the benefit of the increased schedule.

The economic impact of the DNC is not only reflected in the aviation sector but also in the hospitality industry. Hotels and restaurants are anticipating considerable business during the convention days. According to Patrick Quayle, United's senior vice president of global network planning and alliances, "These conventions are steeped in tradition and have now evolved to become a weeklong celebration of our political process," and he highlighted the airline's role in facilitating participation in this celebration by stating, "We’re proud to give people even more for options to visit two great cities, and participate in these historic events and make their voices heard," in a statement obtained by Chicago Tribune.

Not to be outdone by its neighbor, Milwaukee is preparing for the Republican National Convention next month, an event for which United is also ramping up service with a 75% increase in flights. This higher proportional increase translates to approximately 5,000 more travelers to the smaller Milwaukee airport. Contrastingly, Southwest and American Airlines, other major carriers with a significant presence in Chicago, have not announced extra flights for the conventions. With the stage set for a significant number of visitors, it's gearing up to be a bustling summer for Chicago, one that could see August potentially outperform other typically busy months for local businesses, with restaurant bookings already underway as Sam Toia, president of the Illinois Restaurant Association told Chicago Business, "There was a lot of chatter early, but recently they started to put pen to paper."

Chicago-Transportation & Infrastructure