JONES COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - Hattiesburg-Laurel Regional Airport is now offering daily flights to and from Chicago.
SkyWest took off with the first passengers to the Windy City Friday afternoon.
A return flight was scheduled to arrive around 9:30 p.m. Friday.
Each trip makes a stop in Meridian.
The airport's daily service to Dallas will continue.
"Instead of driving two hours to New Orleans and two hours back, this is more convenient," said Joyce Bailey of Hattiesburg. She and her 15-month-old son, D.J., were among the first passengers to take advantage of the new service. "I'm so happy that we have a second flight that's going out and we'll be using it more frequently now."
""I live ten minutes away and it's such a convenience," said Joy Lee, of Petal, another passenger on the first Chicago flight. "I always fly from here. It'a a little more, but I don't mind."
"There are probably only two other airports of our size in the whole United States that have dual-hub service, so when you talk about a community of our size being given that opportunity you know, it's imperative that we get out and support it," said Tom Heanue, executive director of the Hattiesburg-Laurel Regional Airport.
The first flight left the airport with about a half dozen passengers.