American Airlines is testing out a midday departure to Chicago from Columbia Regional Airport for the next three weeks according to a report from KOMU-TV.

Currently, American Airlines serves Chicago O'Hare Airport with two flights daily from Columbia, one that departs at 6:18 AM, and another that leaves at 3:15 PM. That's not a bad schedule.

The 6:18 AM flight is great for those who might need to do a day trip to Chicago for business and return that same night, and the 3:15 PM flight isn't bad for Mizzou students or others heading to the windy city, yet that flight plunks you down at O'Hare right as rush hour is starting. It might take you as long as your flight to get where you're going when you get to Chicago.

The "test" flight American is running is an 11:45 AM departure and it's on the schedule for the next three weeks. KOMU says American Airlines told them they continuously evaluate its network for opportunities to add flights.

Columbia Regional Airport Manager Mike Parks told the television station the airline will determine pilot and aircraft availability in the future to decide whether or not that mid-day flight will become a permanent addition to departures at the airport.

What's nice about this midday flight is that it puts you into Chicago just after 1:00 PM, and its 11:45 AM departure isn't so early in the day that people using it need to get up at the butt crack of dawn. Also getting into Chicago just after 1:00 PM means an easier time getting through the airport, and into downtown or the suburbs.

In fact, if this flight sticks, I might actually fly out of Columbia the next time I go to Chicago. Kansas City isn't a small airport. While it is closer to my home in Warrensburg it's still a long drive, and between parking, security, and the walk to the gate I'm not sure it's any quicker than the longer ride to Columbia.

What I am sure of is if you live in Sedalia, flying out of Columbia Regional Airport is closer than flying out of Kansas City. Not to mention, everything from parking to security to checked baggage is just a little more relaxed at smaller airports like Columbia Regional than dealing with Kansas City. That's a win if you ask me.

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