American Eagle is now soaring between Gulfport and Chicago.
Thursday, airport leaders were on the tarmac as the first Chicago flight taxied up to the gate. Inside the terminal, coast passengers checked in for the first non-stop flight back to the Windy City.
Linking Gulfport and Chicago connects south Mississippians to one of the world's largest international airports. And it provides a lot more convenience for American Eagle passengers.
"It saves time. I don't have to wait, and then I don't have to worry about missing my fare, and my luggage goes with me," passenger Deborah Graham said.
"I do feel special since it's the first time we're having a flight go to Chicago non-stop. It's been a long time since I've been on a non-stop flight," passenger Gloria Grace said.