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I am a Michigan Tech student and live in Houghton, MI. I am in need of traveling to/from Midway airport in Chicago and need any feedback that may be helpful for me. I am carrying 2 big bags along with a laptop backpack. Here is my itinerary:

A) HOUGHTON - CHICAGO
1. Houghton[11:52pm, July 4]
2. Greyhound Bus station[1:30pm, July 5] {$65}
3. Chicago HI Hostel via Blue line[2:00pm, July 5] {$1}
4. Stay at HI for 1 night[checkout 9:00am, July 6] {$40}
5. Midway airport(MDW) via orange line[9:45am, July 6] {$1}
6. MDW flight depart[12:30pm, July 6]
7. MDW - DTW - CDG - BOM[11:30pm, July 7]

B) CHICAGO - HOUGHTON
1. BOM - CDG - ATL - MDW[2:20am, August 16]
2. MDW Flight arrival[6:40pm, August 17]
3. HI Hostel via orange line@7pm[7:45pm, August 17] {$1}
4. Stay at HI for 1 night[checkout 12pm, August 18] {$40}
5. Greyhound bus depart[7:15pm, August 18] {$72}
6. Houghton[8:45am, August 19]

As can be seen the cost of this itinerary is $220.

An alternative is a flight operated CMX-ORD for $300, but I have heard that it gets cancelled most of the times. So if I have to stay at one of the airport hotels than that cost will go much higher. I really do not have any expert advice available and so need any help available from all the helpful people here.

QUESTIONS

  1. Are there any pitfalls/improvisations for the itinerary for the bus journey?

  2. Is it advisable to take the flight option instead? I was just concerned if the flight gets cancelled or delayed, my international travel is in danger because it is not a connecting flight.

  3. I have option of choosing travel insurance for $62 for the international flight from the same airlines. Would this ameliorate the risk of flight cancellation for the CMX-ORD flight?

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    Your itinerary seems sensible, so I'm not sure what you're trying to ask. Can you clarify what your actual doubt is? – Michael Hampton Apr 23 '16 at 5:03
  • I just figured out the itinerary on my own, so I am doubtful whether I am going the right way. Just wanted to know if there are any pitfalls. I am also looking for the direct flight option. I guess its better to update the question with specific questions. – Cool_Coder Apr 23 '16 at 5:50
  • Well, there's the obvious one of being able to fly in and out of CMX. There haven't been any cancelled CMX-ORD flights in the last couple of weeks, and I have very little idea why you have heard they are cancelled most of the time, unless you're referring to flights in the winter (which I mentioned to you last year). You can also fly out of ESC. – Michael Hampton Apr 23 '16 at 5:57
  • Last Fall (August ~16), the students who arrived by flight to CMX had their flights cancelled for 2 days. They do that if there is too much fog I guess, but the idea is that there is no reliability for that service. – Cool_Coder Apr 23 '16 at 6:00
  • Aha, I've discovered what some of the problems with CMX are and they go well beyond weather. For alternate airports you have ESC, RHI and IMT (Delta), and MQT (Delta and American). Since it seems the big problems are United sucks and your airport doesn't have radar... There is apparently a bus service to/from ESC. – Michael Hampton Apr 23 '16 at 6:08
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When I read your previous question last year about traveling to CMX, I had absolutely no idea just how bad an airport in the US could be...

Flights in and out of your local airport (CMX) apparently have the worst on-time record in the US. This seems a little odd when there are only two arrivals and two departures daily, they're all United Express/SkyWest, and they are all to/from ORD. But your airport has issues. It's an untowered airport with no ground radar or ground weather services, and apparently an automated weather sensor decides whether the airport will be open or closed. Which is a little strange since the airport does have ILS. And neither the airport nor the airline seem particularly interested in improving service.

Nearby airports aren't much better. SAW (aka MQT) is only a few hours away on an Indian Trails/Greyhound bus ($18 each way, and you'll need a taxi), but it's also on the aforementioned list of worst on-time airports. ESC is even farther away, and suffers many of the same weather-related issues. IMT is apparently not reachable by public transit at all. And RHI, while relatively close as the crow flies, public transit takes so long to get there that you would be as well off just going to Chicago.

So, you may as well go to Chicago, which you have planned to do. Your itinerary looks reasonable. The only thing you may want to be aware of is that your hostel is 1.9 km away from the Greyhound station (which does not map correctly on Google Maps; it is actually here). While this can obviously be walked, if you have two large bags and a smaller one you may wish to take a taxi anyway; note that taxis in Chicago are metered and have teal number plates, and this should be quite a short trip.

I would definitely recommend the travel insurance if you decide to use any of the regional airports. While it won't guarantee you get there on time, it may help you cover the costs of getting there if you are diverted to another airport, a hotel if your flight is cancelled, etc. In fact, you probably should have travel insurance even if you fly out of Chicago, just in case.

P.S. Remember to check your visa expiration and renew it if it has expired or will expire before you get back.

  • Thank you very much for the highly informational answer! Not many people here are aware of the reasons you mentioned! Thanks for the heads up for the visa, though I am good for the next 4 years. :) – Cool_Coder Apr 23 '16 at 20:54

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