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United to pull out of Chicago Midway

United Airlines will end service at Chicago's Midway Airport by Sept. 5. That will bring to a close United’s roughly 18-month experiment at the smaller of Chicago's two commercial airports. "We've had limited customer interest from Midway," United spokeswoman Robin Urbanski tells the Chicago Tribune (free registration). United’s decision follows a similar move by American, which signaled its intent last month to end Midway flights on Sept. 1. Both American and United –- the nation’s two largest airlines -– operate large hubs at O’Hare International, Chicago’s busier airport. Midway, on the other hand, has emerged as a heavily used alternative for the Chicago area, with discounters Southwest, ATA and AirTran combining to carry 88.5% of the passengers there.

Today_ted_2  “The loss of American, followed by United's departure a few days later, is more symbolic than substantive for the local aviation market,” the Tribune writes, noting the two airlines have hundreds of daily departures from O’Hare but combine for just 10 flights a day at Midway. As for United, it operates at Midway from of one of three gates owned by the city. The airline's departure means Midway may have expanded options for other carriers. "The subsequent change in gate utilization will provide opportunity for additional service expansion at Midway by existing airlines and new entrant carriers," says Chicago Aviation Commissioner Nuria Fernandez.

United’s current Midway schedule features three daily flights to Denver on low-cost unit Ted and two daily flights to Washington Dulles on United Express. United had initially used larger Ted jets on its Washington service, but later scaled back to smaller United Express aircraft. “The decision to shift the Washington market to smaller regional jets was the first acknowledgment that customer interest was not strong,” the Tribune writes.

Photo via AP.


Finally... RIP TED??

Posted by: HSY | Jun 7, 2006 3:09:11 PM

This should benefit Frontier who will probably increase their daily flights from DEN.

Posted by: Aaron Bailey | Jun 7, 2006 4:28:38 PM

I saw this coming. UAL is only going to be facing more pressure from SWA as we move into Dulles, and with the added flights to DEN.

Posted by: Scott in Chicago | Jun 7, 2006 4:38:37 PM

"The airline's departure means Midway may have expanded options for other carriers."

I wonder how agressive Airtran will be in bidding for any new gate(s) that become available. If I remember correctly, Airtran really wanted the gates that ATA vacated at Midway a while back but were outbid by Southwest.

Posted by: Dan in Orlando | Jun 7, 2006 4:39:47 PM

I don't see how - at this point - jetBlue doesn't enter the Chicago market (most likely at Midway)!

Posted by: Ryan | Jun 7, 2006 6:21:59 PM

Now Southwest will def fly from IAD to Midway once it enters Dulles. I forsee it.

Once again i'm guessing IAD to Midway, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Orlando.

But i'll guess we shall find out once Southwest announce its Dulles routes.

Posted by: Altman | Jun 7, 2006 6:47:34 PM

I live much closer to MDW than I do to ORD and I fly United almost exclusively (sometimes American fares are too cheap to pass up). I take 2 flights per week on average.

I have never flown out of MDW.

I don't fly to Dulles but have often flown through or into DEN. I didn't even know MDW to DEN was an option on United.

When your most frequent fliers don't use the service, it's probably time to kill it.

Posted by: Dragonslayer | Jun 7, 2006 9:31:35 PM

The June 2006 edition of United's inflight magazine "Hemispheres" has a TED route map that shows service to Rockford. Obviously it is a misprint (it is United Express that flies the route), but for a second I thought my dreams had come true.

Posted by: Jim | Jun 8, 2006 6:10:18 AM

"The June 2006 edition of United's inflight magazine "Hemispheres" has a TED route map that shows service to Rockford. Obviously it is a misprint (it is United Express that flies the route)"

The UX RFD service has been doing so well it seems like they should add another flight or destination. Ironically they could probably do better putting the RJ from the MDW-IAD route into service flying RFD-IAD.

Posted by: DeKalb Chris | Jun 8, 2006 9:21:32 AM

Let's change hats for a second. In all of your opinions, where do you think Southwest could/should fly from Detroit? Right now, we only have 4 routes non-stop - St. Louis, MDW, Nashville, Phoenix and Vegas (seasonally/partially).

I would love for SWA to add at least 3-5 more cities. Non-stop to Oakland would be great! No other carrier offers that, NWA goes to SFO. This would be great! What other cities would you guys recommend if you were in charge of route planning?

Posted by: Jay | Jun 8, 2006 9:52:50 AM

How about Detroit - Newark on Southwest, Jay?

Posted by: NYC flyer | Jun 8, 2006 9:57:46 AM

they don't fly to EWR yet :(

Posted by: Jay | Jun 8, 2006 11:00:27 AM

So sorry!

Posted by: Constantino Ferrer | Jun 8, 2006 11:53:28 AM

Yeah, what's up with that? We (SWA) need to start flying to EWR.... By the way Jay, some of the most psychotic visitors of this blog think that you work for Southwest... funny, dude!

Posted by: Constantino Ferrer | Jun 8, 2006 11:56:56 AM


No, I don't work for SWA. I wish! I am just a true die-hard fan. I have inquired about employment, but I have a back injury and had surgery and I can't lift 70+ pounds on a daily basis. That's the one thing that is preventing me from taking the plunge. I have had several friends, family and even co-workers tell me I should be going to work for them. I had wrote SWA a letter after the 9/11 regarding some things, and I not only got a letter back, but also a personal phone call expressing thanks for the support and they both said in writing and on phone that are sad to hear my back injury prevents me from employment, because I get the "culture" and way things are there.

I have done several research papers/projects on SWA for my undergrad/grad courses, and read the book from the CEO, and just "get it". There are several people that LUV to slam them, and they don't realize that SWA is not all things to all people. I love the show airline as well!

I play guitar in a rock band, and have been star struck several times opening for national acts in the Detroit area, but the one person I would LUV to meet is Herb Kelleher!
Check out our music if you would like


Posted by: Jay | Jun 8, 2006 12:55:08 PM

This move doesn't surprise me at all, maybe United will add more service into Fll/Mia with the extra planes. United tried midway before and it didn't work...Nice job again United Management! You really derserved your million dollar bonuses!

Posted by: Brian | Jun 8, 2006 1:25:39 PM

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