30 June 2014
Yellowstone Regional Airport welcomed the inaugural flight linking two windy cities Saturday.
Direct flights between Cody and Chicago were approved 27, January.
66 passengers touched-down after leaving Chicago Saturday and spending a little over two hours in the air.
Patsy King was one of the passengers on board. King has made the flight between Cody and Chicago many times before, back when there were multiple connections and layovers involved. She enjoyed the streamlined flight this time around.
“It was great,” said King. “I have family in Chaicago and I live in Greybull.”
King said before the direct flight she would have to stop-over in Denver or Salt Lake City, resulting in hours of lay-overs. Sometimes, she would even get stuck in Denver due to weather delays.
James Katz was another passenger who flew-in. A Chicago native, Katz and his family landed Saturday to begin their vacation in Yellowstone. Katz said that if it weren't for the direct flight into Cody, the family's trip to Yellowstone would have looked a lot different.
“The reason I'm here is because the flight was a available,” said Katz. “I would have had to go to Cheyenne or Jackson Hole rather than come directly to Cody. It's great.”
Chamber Director Scott Balyo and staff were in waiting in the lobby to greet Saturday's passengers with gift bags and a hearty welcome to Cody.
Balyo says the direct flights between Cody and Chicago are going to bring a noticeable positive impact to Cody's summer economy.
“I talked to somebody from Cross Sabre Ranch; he was picking-up guests,” said Balyo. “The ability to get here by air – we're obviously still a drive market – but to have that air travel option in addition to Denver and Salt Lake is critical for our economy. It's certainly welcome. It's going to be a very good thing for us.”
Direct flights between Cody and Chicago will be available for the next eight weeks.