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Chicago O'Hare airport

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1. Posted by anna_mg (Budding Member 22 posts) 10y

I've traveled quite a bit in the past, but it's always been with my family. This summer, I'm flying from Anchorage to London on my own. Unfortunately, the flight goes Anchorage to Denver, Denver to Chicago, Chicago to London. Anything with fewer stops than that was way too expensive!

Anyway, my questions is this. How bad is the Chicago O'Hare airport? For some reason, when I mention that I'm stopping there, several people have felt the need to tell me how awful it is and how difficult and complicated it is to navigate the terminals, especially for a "young traveler" like me. Is it really all that bad? Now I'm even more apprehensive than I was before...

2. Posted by GregW (Travel Guru 2635 posts) 10y

The worst thing about Chicago's O'Hare Airport is the tendency for flights to get dealyed, especially in the summer due to the high likelihood of nearby Thunderstorms.

Based on your routing, I am assuming that you are flying United. I haven't found it hard to navigate, but it might take some time. Assuming you have a decent amount of time for a layover, you should be fine.

A United flight from Denver will probably come in at B or C (maybe F). London leaves from C. If you both arrive and depart from C, no problem. If you arrive in B and leave from C, you can take the connecting tunnel between them (they are both in terminal 1). It's very pretty with neon lights and plays cool, tinkly music. Check out a picture here: Fly the Friendly Skies.

If you have to transfer from F, then you need to switch from Terminal 3 to Terminal 1. You can walk if you have time and energy, or take the "ATS" which is the small train that runs between terminals.

Assuming you fly through Chicago on the way back from London, you will arrive in the international terminal and clear US customs there. That's terminal 5. You would then need to take the ATS to terminal 1 for your departure onwards in the USA.

3. Posted by larondey (Full Member 105 posts) 10y

I was at O'Hare this past weekend and was very impressed by the airport. Very clean, friendly employees and my flight left on time and even arrived in Boston 30 minutes early.

4. Posted by karazyal (Travel Guru 1595 posts) 10y

Quoting anna_mg

I've traveled quite a bit in the past, but it's always been with my family. This summer, I'm flying from Anchorage to London on my own. Unfortunately, the flight goes Anchorage to Denver, Denver to Chicago, Chicago to London. Anything with fewer stops than that was way too expensive!

Anyway, my questions is this. How bad is the Chicago O'Hare airport? For some reason, when I mention that I'm stopping there, several people have felt the need to tell me how awful it is and how difficult and complicated it is to navigate the terminals, especially for a "young traveler" like me. Is it really all that bad? Now I'm even more apprehensive than I was before...

I usually don't have any trouble going through Chicago. The only potential problem that I can warn you of is IF you return from London through Chicago you have to allow time for customs and immigration.

When I am flying in from Japan through Chicago I try to have at least 2 hours between flights, just in case there is any back up with customs checks.

AL

5. Posted by vickim (Full Member 125 posts) 10y

I have been to dozens of airports and Chicago is my favourite. There's nothing fanastic about it and it is far behind others as far as modernity and technology goes, but it just has a neat character to it.

Since you will be switching from a domestic route to an international route there you may have to switch terminals. There is a rail system for that and you might have to check in again at the other terminal. Just keep a level head and ask questions if you start to get confused and you will be fine.

Chicago is notorious for delays but most delays seem to be on North American routes. If that happens to you, it is more likely that will be when you return home. Your flight from London to Chicago should be fine but be prepared to wait at Chicago for your connection.

[ Edit: Edited at May 21, 2006 8:27 PM by vickim ]