Spring Break(ing)

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Before I entered the wonderful world of limo service in Chicago about 30 years ago, I had no idea what Spring Break was all about. When people my age were growing up in the south suburbs, our break was a half day off the Friday before Easter. It really was a “Good Friday”. When I got older and started my own family, again in the southern suburbs of Chicago, the concept of an entire week off to kick off spring was unknown.

My first experience with the phenomenon was as a chauffeur in 1984. People wanting to shake off the cobwebs of a long winter, families lugging most of their belongings, businessmen and women suffering from lack of sun exposure…you name it. The exodus was on. And with the possible exception of a privileged few that could sneak away early, to majority of snow birds would assault the airport on Friday afternoon and throughout the weekend, boarding their flights to Florida, Texas, and California for the weather, or to Colorado for the skiing. Fortunately, I was prepared for the insanity, having already been through the chaos of the Thanksgiving and Christmas rushes of 1983. Technically, I was considered a veteran. At the ripe old age of 25.

Over the years, much has changed. Many of those kids that jumped into my limousine in the 1980’s are now piling THEIR children into our limos and SUV’s. And those 80’s parents now tend to shy away from the bustle of spring break locations these days, choosing more restful locations or time periods for travel instead. People are packing lighter due to baggage fees, and the more informed traveling public is allowing extra time to get to the airport, allowing for long check-in and security lines.

Another thing that has changed is the selection of vehicles in the Chicago limo market. In the 1980’s, O’Hare-Midway – like most companies at that time – was a fleet of primarily stretch limousines. At its zenith, the company was one of the largest limousine services in the country, and consisted of almost 100 stretched vehicles. Every vehicle was large capacity; five or six passengers. This worked well for traveling families and people hauling large amounts of luggage. But over the years, the shift in our industry has been to smaller, less conspicuous sedans and SUV’s. And the Lincoln Town Car, the vehicle standard in our industry for 30 years, is no longer being produced as a sedan, leaving big shoes to fill. This presents a significant challenge to operators when trying to accommodate those large capacity vehicle requests.

How will we remember Spring Break 2013? Time will tell, but it will likely be the same as the last few years. Travelers tend to make their air and hotel reservations early, but their car reservations at the last minute, so there will be the inevitable mad scramble to find limousines and full-sized SUV’s. Sedans will be plentiful, but it’s hard to wedge a family of five (with luggage) into a sedan. Then you have the “limo companies” that run older, beat up limousines that have been discarded by one or more operators previously. These tired cars can likely be found with enough searching, but aside from concerns about insurance coverage and driver background, the reliability of the vehicle itself would be questionable.

You are better off in the long run going with a proven company like O’Hare-Midway Limousine Service. With our history and expertise dealing with Spring Break travel, our commitment to customer satisfaction, our professional chauffeurs, and fleet of impeccable vehicles…why would you go anywhere else?

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Dale Schahczinski
Goal driven team leader, with industry experience spanning all aspects of operations and administration.