Transfer between terminal 5 and terminal 1 at O’Hare airport

Travel Forums North America Transfer between terminal 5 and terminal 1 at O’Hare airport

1. Posted by Helip (Budding Member 3 posts) 4w Star this if you like it!

I am desperate for help. My daughter is flying into Terminal 5 from Frankfurt in O’Hare tomorrow and has to transfer to terminal 1 for southwest flight. I’ve tried to research the process for her ( first time travelling alone and starting college) but all modes of transport seem to be cancelled, buses and trains. Please could you advise me of how she can get between the terminals?

2. Posted by Sander (Moderator 5485 posts) 4w Star this if you like it!

The way I read it, there's usually two options to get between terminals: the automatic 'train' (ATS), and the terminal transfer bus (TTB). The ATS is being renovated, and has been replaced by shuttle buses. The TTB is closed due to corona.

However, the shuttle buses which replaced the ATS should (the way I read it) still be operating! These are not the same as the TTB which has been suspended.
The corona FAQ points out that drivers will limit the amount of passengers on the shuttle buses, and that there should be plenty of shuttle buses operating, though it's all worded pretty badly, with no way to tell if these are indeed also the ATS-replacing shuttle buses.

Obviously I could be wrong in my reading, and I have no recent experience on the ground, but it's simply inconceivable that the airport wouldn't offer any way to get from terminal 5 to the other terminals. O'Hare is a major international hub, and even these days there'll be many thousands of people making connections there.

Your daughter can ask for instructions from the flight crew before arriving at O'Hare (they'll be aware of the most up to date information), though I expect them to announce details on the flight for everyone. Otherwise the airport will also have information points. If everything else fails, she should simply make her way to the ATS, and on the way there, she'll encounter directions to the shuttle buses.

[ Edit: Edited on 19-Aug-2020, 07:30 GMT by Sander ]

3. Posted by leics2 (Travel Guru 1508 posts) 4w Star this if you like it!

I read the badly-written airport website pages in a different way to Sander. The section about transferring from T5 on the page below is followed by a very clear statement in red that TTB buses are suspended. Although there are still international arrivals at T5 their numbers will be much, much lower than usual so the airport may well feel running buses isn't necessary.

Terminal transfer page

You could try to phone the airport'sCustomer Services on (800) 832-6352 to clarify the situation?

Walking isn't feasible but there *should* be taxis at T5 Arrivals and they *should* be willing to take your daughter to T1 departures. It's about 2 miles, taking 5-10 minutes max. Your daughter should make sure she uses the official taxis at the taxi stand outside T5 baggage reclaim. Imo it would be sensible to have some USD cash (maybe 50USD minimum?) before she leaves Frankfurt to cover taxi cost, drinks, food etc. There is a currency exchange in T5 but it may not be open....and there are ATMs but there are no guarantees they'll work.

[ Edit: Edited on 19-Aug-2020, 07:45 GMT by leics2 ]

4. Posted by Helip (Budding Member 3 posts) 4w Star this if you like it!

Thanks to you both for your quick replies. They are very helpful. I’m glad I joined this site:):):)

I have read the website pages several times and the very last section says that the shuttle buses are running but if you have to check in your luggage for an onward Destination ie terminal 1 you cannot access the shuttle buses. No other alternative is given. Thanks for explaining there are taxis that may do it
I’ll give the phone number a ring too.

5. Posted by leics2 (Travel Guru 1508 posts) 4w Star this if you like it!

I do hope you manage to put your mind at rest before tomorrow. I know how worrying it is when a child travels abroad alone for the first time in normal times, let alone now.

6. Posted by Helip (Budding Member 3 posts) 4w Star this if you like it!

Thank so so much. It hard to cut my apron ties :(

7. Posted by berner256 (Moderator 1407 posts) 4w 1 Star this if you like it!

Please check your daughter's airline tickets. Southwest Airlines does not fly from Chicago's O'Hare Airport. It flies from Chicago's Midway Airport. Some major cities are served by multiple airports.

If she indeed has to travel from O'Hare to Midway, see this link:

If her connection is tight she should revise her departure with Southwest, which has a customer-friendly change/cancellation policy. She also should have Southwest's app on her mobile phone, which should make any change easier.

Please also note that if she has to take a taxi or Uber or Lyft that it might take extra time since there are fewer drivers around because of the pandemic.

Finally, if she's not connecting to Southwest Airlines but another domestic carrier at O'Hare, she should not have any difficulty in using the free shuttle bus from the international terminal to a domestic one. On arrival, simply ask for help from one of the available agents.

Update: United Airlines uses O'Hare's Terminal 1. If your daughter is connecting to United (instead of Southwest) then ask Lufthansa (a fellow member of the Star Alliance) to check her bags all the way to her final destination. But she still will need to accompany the bags through immigration and customs and another security check.

See this link:

[ Edit: Edited on 19-Aug-2020, 13:25 GMT by berner256 ]

Post 8 was removed by a moderator