Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Chicago is destroying O'Hare too

O'Hare Airport
One of the few things, money wise that is, Chicago has going for it is O'Hare International Airport. This cash cow, which is the nation's third busiest airport, is nearly completely surrounded by the suburbs. It's a public and private sector jobs machine for Chicago. The city makes a fortune on airline gate fee rentals. Contractors are generous contributors to campaign war chests.

Chicago is losing population because of corruption, runaway public-sector pension obligations, and crime. Now it's screwing up O'Hare.

Sunday night Chicago-based United Airlines, as you almost certainly know already, bumped a Kentucky passenger from a jet on the runway at O'Hare; he was forcibly dragged off the plane by Chicago Department of Aviation police as he screamed in horror.

Twenty years ago O'Hare was the world's busiest airport, and while Chicago remains a popular destination for travelers because many people--for now--live in the area, and it's a popular--for now--convention town, many O'Hare flights are connecting flights. If you are flying from Charlotte to Seattle, there's a good chance you'll have to switch planes at O'Hare. But let's say Detroit or Memphis expand their airports--who's to say those cities won't siphon off a big chunk of O'Hare business?
Gen. Billy Mitchell painting,
Mitchell Airport

Or Milwaukee.

Mrs. Marathon Pundit is a limousine driver. She regularly takes clients who live a dozen miles or so from O'Hare to Milwaukee's General Mitchell Airport. The airfares are often radically cheaper, there is little congestion, and the staff there is much friendlier, although Chicago and O'Hare set a pretty low bar for hospitality as the world now knows.

When my family accompanied me to CPAC in Washington in 2011 we flew out of Mitchell. It was fabulous. Sure we had to drive 80 miles to get there, but we saved a ton of money. And the parking fees were half of what O'Hare charges.

O'Hare is ten miles from where we live.

Decline and fall.

Cash cow is of course a metaphor--because what do you do with cows? You milk them.

But eventually cows go dry. Or folks go elsewhere when they are compelled to endure rude and hostile sales people who charge too much for a gallon of milk.

Chicago has always been about making a fast buck. Amazingly it has not fallen flat on its face in its 18 decades of existence. It's luck is changing, however.

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