Dining at Chicago’s O’Hare airport just got bumped up a notch or two: master Mexican food chef Rick Bayless announced he’s opening two new restaurants in Windy City’s major airport this fall.
The restaurants will feature Bayless’s signature Mexican cuisine, and will be located in terminals 1 and 3 — not a bad way to kill a an hour or so while on an endless layover.
Bayless owns several restaurants in the Chicago area, including the much-lauded Frontera Grill, Topolobampo and most recently, Xoco, which opened in September 2009 in the city’s River North neighborhood. Bayless is a highly respected chef who competed against Bobby Flay on “Iron Chef America” in 2005, and most recently caught national attention when he competed and won Bravo TV’s “Top Chef Masters.”
[Image credit, Getty Images]
Yesterday, American Airlines was scheduled to start a new non-stop route from Chicago O’Hare to Beijing – but a last minute snag has forced them to delay the launch. American had requested a preferential take-off and landing slot from the Chinese Government, but was handed slots for a 2:20am arrival, and a 4:40am departure – making the whole thing pretty useless.
American Airlines is working behind the scenes to negotiate a better schedule, and as of right now, the first Chicago-Beijing flight should leave on Tuesday May 4.
Customers who were supposed to be on the inaugural flight are being offered a full refund or free date change to the later flights. Of course, nobody knows yet whether those dates will stay put, or what the final departure and arrival times are, so keep checking AA.com for updates.
Delta airlines just announced the introduction of 22 new daily flights between Chicago and New York. The new flights will be operated as Delta Shuttle flights, and will start June 10th.
The new hourly service out of O’Hare replaces current Delta flights between Chicago Midway and LaGuardia.
Delta obviously means business – because they are also going to offer free coffee and newspapers at the gate, which will be located as close as possible to the terminal 2 security checkpoint.
More flights on this route means cheaper fares for everyone, because the other airlines will clearly be paying attention to this increased capacity. Delta kiosks will be available for same-day ticket purchases.
The route will be operated by an Embraer 175 jet – with 12 seats in first class, and 64 seats in coach. Because this is a narrow body jet, there are no middle seats. The flights will offer Delta’s “enhanced shuttle service” which means meals in first class, and free wine and beer in all cabins.
Airlines are using the little planes for longer runs, these days. According to the Las Vegas Sun, the average regional airline flight hit 461 miles in 2008, up profoundly from 274 miles in 2009. That’s an increase of 41 percent! This is an industry-wide trend, so shopping around isn’t likely to help you get a larger jet. The major carriers are relying on regional affiliates, so you’ll probably be out of luck. The regionals fly more than half the flights from some pretty hefty airports, including LaGuardia, O’Hare, Milwaukee, Raleigh and Memphis. And, these airlines account for 45% of the traffic at Atlanta’s Hartsfield International, the busiest airport in the United States.
American Airlines and United announced that they were adopting this approach back in September, particularly at airports such as Chicago and Denver. Delta has moved its Washington-to-New York shuttle to one of its regional carriers, as well.
[Via USA Today]
It’s hard to see how the machinations of Wall Street affect the end consumer, sometimes. In the case of American Airlines and its recent pickup of $2.9 billion, you can draw a straight line from the money to the exit row.
The hefty infusion, a risky move because revenues are down and this is not a trivial amount of debt, has already prompted announcements of schedule changes … for the better. American is planning to increase flying in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Dallas-Fort Worth and Miami, though there will be fewer flights in Raleigh/Durham and St. Louis. Look for 57 new daily flights at O’Hare, six more from JFK, two in Los Angeles and anther 19 in Dallas-Fort Worth.
The news comes at a time when most airlines are cutting back service as a way to control costs due to reductions in passenger traffic.
Since we’ve seen what fewer flights can mean – more crowded flights, less legroom and higher odds of getting stuck in a middle seat – the financial breathing room that American has gained could actually give you more actual breathing room the next time you fly. If American fill these extra seats (at the expense of your throwing up the armrest and claiming two), it will generate more revenue, which could turn into real growth. Maybe some of that cash will be used to bring back some amenities.