As she waited at O'Hare International Airport for her son's plane to arrive from Mexico, Cindy Cook looked somber over the news of a Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 crashing in Ukraine after it was hit by a missile.
"How horrible … what a tragedy for their families," said Cook, of Wisconsin.
Operations at O'Hare were normal Thursday after the jetliner tragedy, Chicago Department of Aviation officials said. There were 295 people aboard the 777 when it plummeted into a field in eastern Ukraine, en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Over at the Lot Airlines counter in the International Terminal, former Arlington Heights residents Jim and Marilyn Novak said the news of the downed jetliner was sobering just hours before they left for Poland on a tour, but they felt confident flying to Eastern Europe.
Their plane will be landing in Warsaw. "We're looking forward to it. It will be fine," Jim Novak said. The couple said there are too many unknowns now to make any judgments about the circumstances surrounding the tragedy.
"We can't decide who, what and why (yet)," Jim Novak said.
A spokesman for United Airlines, which has its hub in Chicago, said operations at O'Hare were not affected by the crash.
Asked if she was worried, AnnMarie VanRooij, who was flying to Amsterdam, said, "Not at all. It's safer in the sky than driving."
"We won't be flying over Ukrainian skies," said Julia Brania of Chicago, who was headed to Australia.