When I flew home to Midway Airport last week on Southwest Airlines, I thought back to my first flight on Southwest.
It was one you can’t forget.
I’d been visiting my grandparents in Santa Fe over the winter holidays during my sophomore year of college. So it was early 1990 and I needed to return to Chicago and then to college in Baltimore by the end of January. As it does now, back then Southwest flew to lesser-known municipal airports. And Midway was one of those.
But before we reached Midway, we stopped at Houston Hobby Airport, which used to be Houston’s main airport until 1969 when Houston Intercontinental (now George Bush Intercontinental) came onto the scene. And then we touched down at Dallas Love Field. Not DFW airport, but DAL. Finally, we landed at Midway, which was experiencing a resurgence thanks to Southwest and other budget airlines that took off after deregulation.
My dad met me at the airport. Actually, he was waiting for me in the parking lot out front. I easily found my dad.
Years earlier I’d chosen Midway Airport to study for my high school Chicago history project. I trudged to the former Chicago Historical Society and scrolled through microfilm to find articles about Midway Airport.
I was shocked to learn that it hasn’t always been a substandard field, but was in fact the world’s busiest airport until the inauguration of the jumbo jet. Then Chicago O’Hare took over.
But for many years, including when this postcard was produced in the 1950s, Midway was a major airport.
Now the terminal is modern and complex. And the parking is much more complicated.