Chicago’s O’Hare airport has the reputation of being one of the busiest in the country. Unfortunately it also has a reputation for having a lot of delayed flights. Sometimes there is nothing you can do about these delays but if you know more about what you can expect at the airport then you can be more prepared. There are four terminals at O’Hare and you may end up using more than one of these if you are taking a connecting flight. It can be a good idea to familiarize yourself with details about the terminal that you will be using before you fly so you have a better idea of what to expect. Within each terminal there are at least two concourses which are identified by letters of the alphabet. A more detailed view of what you can expect at each terminal is given below.
If you are taking a domestic flight with United Airlines, then it is likely that you will be using Terminal One. Concourses B and C can be found in this terminal but the only exit is through concourse B. If you land into C then there is an underground tunnel that will take you into concourse B. There are three United Club lounges in terminal one that departing passengers can use.
United Express flights mainly depart from terminal two, although you will need to use terminal one for checking in. Terminal two is also the hub for Delta airlines and so you will be using this terminal if your flight is with this airline. Air Canada also uses this terminal. Passengers flying with United or Delta are able to use the United Club and Delta Sky Club lounges.
All domestic arriving and departing flights from American Airlines use terminal three. It is the second biggest terminal in the airport and is also used by several other carriers including Jet Blue, Alaska Airways and Air Choice One. There are four concourses in the terminal lettered G, H, K & L. There are three Admirals Clubs in the terminal which are operated by American Airlines. Terminal three is also the location for American’s Flagship Lounge.
Terminal Five is the biggest in the airport because all international flights land and depart from here. It is the only terminal that has customs clearance for passengers who are arriving in the country. Some airlines allow you to preclear US Customs but these flights will still come into Terminal Five, passengers can just skip past customs. If you have a connecting flight to another destination in the US then you will probably need a different terminal for this flight. There is a free shuttle bus that will take you between terminals but you will need to clear security again.
Other Things To Be Aware Of
In terms of trying to avoid delays, then it is often a good idea to book a flight that leaves earlier in the day. This also has the added benefit of making it easier to get another flight the same day if yours is cancelled for any reason. There is no reason to expect that this will happen to you but it is always better to be prepared. There are only thirty minutes of free WiFi that is offered by the airport. After this you will have to find a lounge or restaurant that offers this service for free if you do not want to use your own data. If you are sitting in a restaurant to make use of the free wi-fi, then you will probably be expected to buy something to eat or drink while you are there.
If your airline offers a way to pre clear security then this is something you may want to take advantage of. Generally speaking, getting through security will be the longest part of your time in the airport because of the large volume of people. There are some very good restaurants located within the airport such as Rick Bayless’ Tortas Frontera and the local Goose Island Brewery. If you do not have the time to actually sit down and eat, then there are also plenty of places where you can grab a quick snack to eat on the go.