On Monday, Ethiopian Airlines began offering nonstop flights between O'Hare International Airport and Addis Ababa Bole International Airport in Ethiopia, marking the first direct flight between Chicago and Africa. The Chicago Tribune reported that when Air New Zealand begins offering direct flights from O'Hare to Auckland in November, Chicago will become only the fifth city in the world to offer nonstop travel to all six major continents in the world (unfortunately, you'll still have to transfer if you're spending spring break in Antarctica).
Joining the ranks of Dubai, Doha, Johannesburg and London, Chicago will also become the only U.S. city with an airport that offers nonstop flights to every major continent. The increased direct flight options arrive as O'Hare prepares for an $8.7 billion expansion and modernization of its facilities, which was approved by City Council in March.
Earlier this week, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced that the city will launch an international competition that will challenge designers to submit their vision for O'Hare's new international terminal. Replacing the existing Terminal 2, the new addition to O'Hare will include more customs and immigration facilities and will be the first thing that many international travelers see upon arriving in Chicago.
While new direct flights are a boon to Chicagoans with a bit of wanderlust, they'll likely also make best city in the world an even more appealing destination for international travelers.