American Airlines adds holiday flights to Willard Airport

By Elyssa Kaufman

Due to the overwhelming number of students and Champaign residents flying in and out of Willard Airport around Thanksgiving, American Airlines and its affiliate Envoy Air have decided to add three new flights — two to Chicago and one to Dallas. 

Typically, the flights from Champaign to Chicago and Dallas are 85 percent full, causing students traveling home or back to school to face overcrowding and the potential of not getting a seat on the plane, said Steve Wanzek, manager of Willard Airport. 

Vacation travelers, including students as well as Champaign residents, make up the majority of Willard Airport flyers during Thanksgiving break. 

In the past, overbooked flights have delayed holiday plans and other sources of transportation were needed. 

“The extra flights show that American Airlines values the community and the people who fly in and out of Champaign,” Wanzek said. 

Wanzek said that Dallas and Chicago are the two main cities in which people fly in and out of most frequently, as the two cities serve as hubs for connecting flights

to many other states. 

In addition to adding extra flights, Willard Airport is hoping that this decision will possibly lead to future destination expansions. Wanzek said that adding a third destination of Philadelphia or Charlotte, North Carolina, would be beneficial due to those destinations’ ability to connect to other cities. 

Elyssa can be reached at [email protected]