You can now officially ride a jet round-trip from Owensboro to Chicago any day of the week. The inaugural flight for the new service, provided by Contour Airlines, lifted off just before 11 a.m. Tuesday.

Contour offers 12 weekly round trips between Owensboro-Daviess County Regional Airport (OWB) and Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD). The flight time is approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes each way. 

“We are the only airport in the region that’s going to be offering Chicago service, and we think that’ll really help to cement Owensboro’s place as an airport of choice in the region,” Contour CEO Matt Chaifetz previously said.

If booked at least a week in advance, tickets start at $69 each way. Flights can be booked on the Contour website here. The weekly flight schedule will be as follows:

  • Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday:
    • Departures from OWB at 9:55 a.m. and 5 p.m.
    • Departures from ORD at 1:50 p.m. and 8:45 p.m.
  • Wednesday
    • Departures from OWB at 5 p.m.
    • Departures from ORD at 8:45 p.m.
  • Saturday
    • Departures from OWB at 9:55 a.m.
    • Departures from ORD at 1:50 p.m.

The aircraft is a major upgrade from the one used by Cape Air for OWB’s previous daily flights to and from St. Louis and Nashville. 

Contour uses a 30-passenger Embraer 135 Regional Jet. It was originally built to hold 37 passengers, but Contour removed a couple of rows of seats and re-spaced so that every row has 36 inches of seat pitch.

Chaifetz said other perks include flight attendant service, a lavatory, complimentary snacks and beverages, as well as the first checked bag being free. 

Contour is an American Airlines interline partner. That means passengers don’t have to re-check bags if they connect from a Contour to an American flight. Travelers also have the ability to ticket seamlessly from their originating airport and through a connecting hub to global destinations. 

“We’re thrilled, and we know that the community is going to really enjoy this service,” Chaifetz said. “The introduction of jet service (from Owensboro) to one of the largest hubs in the country really opens up connectivity, not just to this region and to other parts of the country but to the world.”

OWB Board Chair Doug Hoyt said the new airline service is a benefit to all of Daviess County, not just the airport.

“The airport is an economic tool, and I think today you’re gonna see that this is just another way that we are able to contribute to the economy. One example … is Contour’s Chicago-based crew will use three hotel rooms every night. That’s more than 1,000 additional hotel rooms that Contour will be contributing to the Owensboro economy, in addition to the 12 flights each week,” Hoyt said.

Commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Aviation Mark Carter added, “You don’t know who’s going to show up on that airplane one day that’s going to look at this community and say, ‘maybe this is a place that we ought to have a business.’ So for the community, it’s just a great thing.”

Published on August 2, 2023