First post-hurricane flight from Chicago to Puerto Rico departs

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CHICAGO -- Puerto Ricans desperate to return home, and relatives of this month’s hurricane victims, are finally getting a chance to fly to the island.

The first United Airlines passenger flight from Chicago to San Juan since Hurricane Maria hit departs today from O’Hare Airport.

Until now, United has been using its planes to carry emergency supplies to the island, and carry refugees back to the mainland.

The 8:55 a.m. flight is sold out. Passengers are eager to check on the welfare of relatives who have been unable to contact them.

They’ll also carry whatever emergency provisions they can.

One passenger arrived at the check-in counter with an overweight generator this morning. United workers tell WGN that baggage fees are being waived on all Puerto Rico flights.

Many of today’s passengers are flying one-way, because they don’t know how long they’ll be needed on the island. Some of them are offering their help in Puerto Rico’s rebuilding.