A busy day at Chicago airports as holiday travelers rush to beat winter storm


CHICAGO — Days before Christmas, airports across the Chicago area are packed with optimistic and concerned travelers as the threat of a late-week winter storm looms.

Joel Reyes told WGN News that he was headed to Detroit from Chicago O’Hare International Airport for a business trip amid hopes he could beat the storm before his return on Thursday.

“I was worried enough that I was thinking about canceling, but when business calls, you have to make it out there,” Reyes said.

Reyes was not the only airline passenger who considered canceling their flight.

Several airlines have waived flight change fees to allow arriving or departing passengers some leeway ahead of the impending storm that will likely strike in the middle of peak holiday travel.  

It’s an option that Anthony Perez, on his way to Budapest to spend Christmas with his family, says helped him leave the area before the snowfall.

“Super excited to beat the storm,” he said. “All these poor people on Friday, it’s going to be a madhouse. It’s going to be wild.”

As a bonus, Perez told WGN News that leaving will spare him some outdoor work that usually accompanies heavy snowfall.

“No shoveling at all. Not going to miss it,” he said. “My back has been thanking me all month.”

Almost three million people are expected to pass through O’Hare airport between Wednesday and Monday, a 4.7% percent increase on last year’s numbers. 

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