O’Hare Airport Guide 2024

Whether you’re planning for your layover at O’Hare or just want to be prepared on things to know or do in case of flight delays during your stopover at O’Hare this guide has all you need to know.

Some information in this comprehensive piece is practical advice and tips while others are general things to know about O’Hare. You can skip this guide to whichever section you like.

Let’s get started…

Overview of O’Hare Airport:

O’Hare International Airport is a public airport owned by the city of Chicago and is operated by the Chicago Department of Aviation which serves Chicago and its metropolitan areas. It was opened in February 1994. O’Hare is located in O’Hare, Chicago, Illinois United States. It is a hub for American Airlines, United Airlines Cargo, and Atlas Air. O’Hare airport span 11.9 square miles. Read more on this guide on how big O’Hare is.

You can also check out our JFK, Laguardia, LAX, Denver Airport, Charlotte Airport, and Frankfurt airport guides.

O’Hare began as an airfield serving as a Douglas manufacturing plant for C-54 military transports during World War II. It was named for Edward Butch O’Hare, the US Navy’s first Medal of honor recipient during that war.

As the first major airport planned after World War II, O’Hare innovative designed and pioneered concepts such as concourses, direct highway access to the terminals, jet bridges, and underground refueling systems. It became famous as the first world’s busiest airport of the jet age, holding that distinction from 1963 to 1998. Today it is the sixth-busiest airport serving 83 million passengers in 2018. In the year ending December 31st, 2019, O’Hare had 919,704 aircraft operations, averaging 2,250 per day, the most of any airport in the world in part because of a large number of regional flights.

O’Hare International Airport Codes

The codes for O’Hare International Airport are as follows; IATA Code: ORD, ICAO: KORD, FAA: ORD and zip codes 60656 and 60666. Here is its official website.

O’Hare International Airport Terminals

O’Hare has four numbered passenger terminals with nine lettered concourses and a total of 191 gates. With the exception of flights from airports with U.S Customs and Border Protection preclearance, all inbound international flights arrive at Terminal 5 as the other terminals do not have custom screening facilities. Several alliance partners such as ANA, Iberia, Japan Airlines and Lufthansa, have outbound international flights departing from terminals 1 and 3. This requires that the aircraft arrive and discharge passengers at Terminal 5, after which the empty plane is towed to another terminal for boarding. Terminals 1, 2 and 3 allow airside connections. Terminal 5 is separated from other terminals by a set of taxiways that cross over the airport access road, requiring passengers to exit security, ride a shuttle bus, and then re-clear security before boarding.

Terminal 1

Terminal 1 contains concourses B and C and is home to United Airlines flights, including all mainline flights and some United Express operations, as well as some departures for Star Alliance partners Lufthansa and ANA. Concourse Cis a satellite terminal with gates on all sides, in the middle of a ramp and is connected to concourse B via an underground pedestrian tunnel under the ramp. The tunnel originates between gates B8 and B9 in concourse B, and ends on Concourse C between gates C17 and C 19.

United operates three United Clubs in Terminal 1 and for premium international passengers, United operates a Polaris Lounge and a United Arrivals Suite.

Terminal 2

Terminal 2 contains concourses E and F and houses Air Canada, Alaska Airlines, Delta and Delta Connections domestic flights, JetBlue, and most United Express operations. The terminal contains a Delta Sky Club and a United Club.

 Terminal 3

Terminal 3 contains concourses G, H, K and L and houses all departing and domestic arriving American and American Eagle flights, as well as departures for Oneworld carriers Iberia and Japan Airlines and unaffiliated carriers.

Concourse G and L houses most American Eagle-operated flights, while Concourses H and K house American mainline operations. Concourse L is also used by non-affiliated airlines Air Choice one, Cape Air and Spirit. In May 2018, a new stinger extension of concourse L with five new American regional gates opened.

American has three Admiral Club locations in terminal 3 and for premium international passengers, American operates a Flagship Lounge.

Terminal 5

Terminal 5 contains concourse M and houses all of O’Hare international arrivals. With the exception of select Star Alliance and Oneworld flights that board from terminal 1 or terminal 3 respectively, all non-US carriers except Air Canada depart from terminal 5. Expansion of Terminal 5 began in March 2019 at the eastern end of concourse M and is expected not to interfere with the passenger operations.

Several airlines have lounges in terminal 5, including Air France- KLM, British Airways, Korean Air, SAS and SWISS. There is also a multi-carrier Swissport lounge. The airport’s U.S Customs and Border Protection facility is located on the arrival lower level.

O’Hare International Airport Ground Transportation

Currently, passengers are shuttled between terminal core, terminals 1-3, terminal 5 and the remote lots and new Multi-Modal facility via shuttle buses. Buses board on the lower level of each terminal and run every 5-10 minutes, 24 hours a day. The bus shuttle center, located on the main floor of the parking garage opposite terminals 1-3, provides a temporary boarding location for local hotel shuttles and regional public transport buses.

There are automated Airport Transit System which connects all four terminals landside and the rental and remote parking lots which are 2.5 miles long and are currently under modernization and expansion that includes replacing the existing 15 car fleet with 36 new bombardier vehicles.

There is the MMF which is the home of all on-airport car rentals firms as extended parking. Rental customers proceed from the terminal to the MMF via a shuttle bus. You can access the best price guarantee car hire with Hertz car rentals.

The CTA Blue Line north terminus is at O’Hare and provides direct service to downtown. Trains depart at intervals ranging from every four to thirty minutes, 24 hours a day. The station is located on the lower level of a parking garage and can be accessed directly from terminals 1-3 via tunnel and from terminal 5 via bus shuttle.

O’Hare International Airport Parking

There are about 23,000 parking spaces available at O’Hare. A large multi-agreage containing short-term parking is located immediately opposite the terminal core, and there are also several economy lots available. These are located farther away but are accessed from the terminals with free shuttle bus services. Rates at the airport lots currently range from $15 to $77 a day.

O’Hare International Airport Map

This is how O’Hare International Airport is depicted on google map

O'hare airport map

O’Hare International Airport Duty Free

For access to duty free shops, you can simply find them at all terminals in the airport. There are duty free shops at terminal 1, 2 and 3 and features different top brands. There is a duty-free store that deals with international cosmetics, fragrance, liquor, tobacco, international confectionary and fashion accessories. Duty free at terminal 1 is located in the concourse C, near gate C17, at terminal 2 in concourse CE and at terminal 3 in the concourse K, near gate K5. Terminal 5 has a different duty-free store-Dufry located in the concourse M next to gate M14.

O’Hare International Airport Major Accidents and Incidents

On September 17th, 1961, Northwest Orient Airlines Flight 706, a Lockheed L-188 Electra, crashed upon takeoff killing all 37 onboard.

On August 16th, 1965, United Airlines Flight 389, a Boeing 727, crashed 30 miles east of O’Hare while on approach killing all 30 onboard.

On December 20th, 1968, North Central Airlines Flight 458, a Convair CV-580, crashed into a hangar at O’Hare killing 27 onboard and one on the ground.

On December 20th, 1972, North Central Airlines Flight 575, a Douglas DC-9, crashed upon takeoff after colliding with Delta Airlines Flight 954, a Convair CV-880 which was taxiing across the active runway where 10 passengers on the DC-9 were killed.

On May 25th, 1979, American Airlines Flight 191, a McDonnell Douglas DC-10 on a Memorial Day weekend flight to Los Angeles International Airport, had its left engine detach while taking off from runway 32R, then stalled and crashed into a field some 4,600 feet away. 273 died including two on the ground.

On March 19th 1982, a United States Airforce KC-135 Stratotanker crashed upon approach to O’Hare 40 miles northwest of the city near Woodstock killing 27 people on board.

On February 9, 1998, American Airlines Flight 1340, a Boeing 727, crashed upon landing from Kansas City, injuring 22 passengers.

On October 28, 2016, American Airlines Flight 383 aborted takeoff after fire in the right engine of the Boeing 767, 20 passengers and one flight attendant were injured.

O’Hare International Airport Lost and Found

In case you lose or misplace any of your items at the airport, there are different points of contact depending on where you think your item was lost in case you want to file a baggage claim. For the following location please contact the following associate group;

Near ticket counters, in gate areas or on airplane contact the airline

In public areas of the terminal contact Chicago police on (773) 686-2385

At security checkpoints contact TSA on (773) 894-8760

On the ATS, contact them directly at (773) 601-1817

In the parking facilities contact standard parking at (773) 686-7532

In a food service area call (773) 686-6148

O’Hare International Airport Badging Office

 The ID badging office is open Monday to Friday from 7 am to 4:30 pm and the driver’s testing is administered form 7 am to 2 pm. Their contact details are (773) 686-6487.

O’Hare International Airport Check-in Times

You are advised to arrive early at the airport prior to your flight as the airport allows a minimum of 3 hours for check in, baggage check and security.

O’Hare International Airport Flight Tracker

O’Hare airport uses a flight-tracking program, WebTrak that allows you to watch the movement of flights and air traffic patterns within the Chicago metropolitan area. WebTrak has a graphical interface that helps users easily identify aircraft and their locations. Aircraft Departing and Arriving at O’Hare and Midway are shown in different shades of green and red.

O’Hare International Airport Fire Department

The Chicago Fire Department is responsible for any fire outbreak actions at the airport. This is the second-largest municipal fire departments in the United States and one of the largest in North America. The Chicago Fire Department is organized in a paramilitary fashion similar to that of the largest municipal fire department.

O’Hare International Airport Webcam

There are live webcam cameras where you can check the weather at the airport, watch live departures and arrival of aircraft and listen to live traffic radio.

O’Hare International Airport YouTube and Website

You can find more about O’Hare airport from the official website www.flychicago.com/ohare or find more from YouTube @O’Hare International Airport.

O’Hare International Airport Jobs

 There are different job opportunities to apply from the airport. You can apply from www.indeed.com for slots in flight attendance, custodian, store clerk and many more available depending on the job requirements and your job qualifications.

O’Hare International Airport Luggage Storage

There is no luggage storage at any US airport so in case you want to store your luggage you might have to seek alternative baggage storage at a fee or haul it with you throughout the layover.

O’Hare International Airport Immigration

International travelers must clear U.S Customs and Border Protection checkpoints upon arrival. Step by step instructions is provided to help travelers prepare for the arrival process. There are many factors that impact how long it may take travelers to complete the immigration and CPB process, but on average it takes no more than two hours.

O’Hare International Airport Smoking Area

Smoking is permitted in the three outdoor smoking areas located past security gates at the Tom Bradley International terminal, terminal 2 and terminal 3. Completely smoke-free and e-cigarette use is not permitted indoors. Illinois Clean Air Act prohibits all indoor smoking at the airport.

O’Hare International Airport Pet Relief

There are three outdoor pet relief areas near the lower level curb directly in front of terminal 1, 2 and 5. The area includes real grass, gravel, wood chips, poop bags, and garbage cans. An expansion in October 2015 created a new indoor pet relief area just past the security checkpoint in the Rotunda area of terminal 3. A hose bib and reel are provided for manual spraying, plastic poop bags are provided and there are two sinks for passenger use.

O’Hare International Airport Starbucks

Starbucks corporation is an American coffee company and coffee house chain. There are 17 Starbucks locations including spots in baggage claim, terminal concourses, food courts and near gates. The south side has only nine stores south of 33rd street.

What to do near O’Hare International Airport

Activity Details
Eat like a local Chicago is known for its international dining scene, and that extends to its airport. Dining options range from grab-and-go to full-service, and there is something around practically every corner, so you are sure to find something to enjoy. You can try local specialties at the Chicago Style Hot Dos outposts, Reggio’s Chicago Pizza and Garrett Popcorn Shops. Tortas Frontera by Rick Bayless is a popular celebrity chef restaurant with few concessions in each terminal that stay open 24-hours.
Relax in the airport lounge You can spend some quality time hanging out in the airport lounges. Many lounges allow travelers, regardless of the airline or service class flown to enter for a fee. You can relax in comfort, eat some tasty foods and enjoy the relative quiet. To gain entry, pay at the door or buy online a single-pass or use your membership program. You can access the location details from the Chicago O’Hare Airport Guide.
Go shopping You can go shopping from plenty of shopping opportunities at your disposal. There is plenty of well-known shop in the airport selling a wide range of products and last-minute necessities.
Browse the art O’Hare does a good job of displaying unique public art throughout the airport. You can find sculptures, murals, paintings, and more art pieces. The most popular spot is the oft-Instagrammed neon tunnel, titled,” The Sky’s the Limit”, connecting concourse B and C
Hit the gym and freshen up You can pay to enter the Hilton Athletic Club, located in the Hilton Hotel outside terminal 2 with facilities such as gym equipment, lap pool, sauna, Jacuzzi and full-service locker room. Even if you just want to take a shower and freshen up, the fee is probably worth it.
Enjoy a spa treatment There is terminal Gateway Spa in three locations where you can get a manicure, pedicure, facials, massage treatment and many more spa services. XpresSpa also provide speedier beauty services
Yoga If you need to stretch out after a long flight you can visit the yoga room located in terminal 3 Rotunda, Mezzanine, which is open daily from 6 am to 10 pm. Tv provides yoga poses if you need some prompting.
Go sightseeing You can go check out Chicago. The L train’s Blue will help in transit and have you in the heart of Chicago in about 45 minutes or you can hire a taxi. Few activities you can do within walking distance are; stroll nearby world-class museums, stop for a picture at the popular Bean sculpture in Millennium Park, take in views from the SkyDeck, join a Chicago Riverboat Cruise or tour Wrigley Field for some sports
Get online You can stay connected to friends and family, update social media accounts or surf the internet courtesy of the airport’s free wifi. You will want to use your time wisely as there is a 30 minutes time limit restriction but still there are options to upgrade in hourly, daily or monthly increments.
Catch up on your sleep Should opt to catch up some sleep or take a nap, there are a lot of sleep-friendly benches or chairs. There are curved couches just inside security in concourse K, as well as in the hallway connecting Concourse K and H, near gate K6. The airport does provide cots and toiletry kits to unlucky travelers who have canceled or significantly delayed flights. Read more on O’Hare Airport sleeprooms here.

O’Hare International Airport Facilities

Medical Services

In case you need dome urgent medical assistance you can visit terminal 2, ticketing level, near the Kids on the Fly exhibits and Travelers Aid office for some medical attention, open from 8 am to 5 pm Monday to Friday. You can get flu shots and visitation which are provided in terminal 1, 2 and 3.

Family Restrooms

You can find changing stations restrooms along with the terminals. Unisex family restrooms are also available in each terminal. In terminal 1 its located in gates B4, B10, C20 and at the baggage claim area. In terminal 2 its located across the children museum, gate E5 and at the baggage claim area. In terminal 3 its located in Gates G11, H14, H3, K1, L5, at the Rotunda and at the baggage claim area.

Chapel

If you need some moment for yourself prior to boarding your flight, there is a peaceful chapel with materials helpful to fulfill your prayers. This chapel is located in Mezzanine level of terminal 2, above the Delta Airlines ticketing and close to the USO

USO

USO is the United Service Organization that provides different services to military men and women and their relatives. The variety of facilities includes enjoying relaxing areas, free beverages, information, internet access, a children’s room, TV, books and magazines, emergency medical assistance or flight information. The location of USO is in terminal 1Mwzzanine level, pre-security, open 24 hours daily, terminal 3, Mezzanine Level of the Rotunda, concourse G, post-security and is open from 6 am to 10:30 pm.

Lounges

There are lounges that provide amenities to passengers from different airline clubs. If you are a traveler who is not a member you can still enjoy the relaxing and quiet atmosphere before taking your flight.

Business and meeting rooms

In case you want to have a conference during your layover or before your flight you can access the meeting room available at Hilton Chicago O’Hare airport located from terminals 1, 2, 3 in the lower arcade level of the Hilton Hotel.

Wi-Fi and Internet access

You can access free wifi for 30 minutes where from there you can have premium payments services with unlimited access.

Power Station

You can access power charging stations in case of need and concierge which provides information in 8 different languages about transportation, hotel weather and many more.

Art Exhibitions

There is a public art program with lots of paintings, sculptures and art pieces exhibit through the airport facility where you can go have some look during your layover. There is also the aeroponic gardening, which is the growing of plants without soil you can have a look at.

Other Services

Apart from the listed services, you can enjoy more services such as shops with known brands and also local businesses, dining services with unique restaurants and also national franchises, a relax area where you can practice yoga, go to a spa and visit a barbershop or a health club.

Hotels Near O’Hare International Airport

Hotel Guest rating Price per room and bookings
Hyatt Centric Chicago Magnificent Mile 4.5/5 $170.6 you can book reservation from www.booking.com
Super 8 by Wyndham Chicago O’Hare Airport 3.4/5 $63.6 you can book reservation from www.booking.com
Best Wester O’Hare 3.5/5 $80.8 you can book reservation from www.booking.com
Hilton Chicago O’Hare Airport 3.5/5 $144.4 you can book reservation from www.booking.com
Motel 6 Chicago O’Hare-Schiller Park 3.0/5 $41.5 you can book reservation from www.booking.com
Hyatt Place Chicago 4.6/5 $99.0 you can book reservation from www.booking.com
Majestic Hotel 4.5/5 $89.8 you can book reservation from www.booking.com
Loews Chicago O’Hare Hotel 4.4/5 $110.0 you can book reservation from www.booking.com
Quality Inn O’Hare Airport 3.0/5 $89.8 you can book reservation from www.booking.com
Holiday Inn & Suite Chicago O’Hare-Rosemont 4.7/5 $94.9 you can book reservation from www.booking.com

Destinations from O’Hare International Airport

destination How to get there
Midway airport Take the Blue train from O’Hare statin located in the lower level of terminal 2, get off at the Clark/ Lake station downtown and transfer to the Orange Line free of charge then take the Orange Line towards Midway and get off at the Midway station, you can also use a taxi for hire or shuttles
Indianapolis You can take a bus which costs from $20 to $35 and takes 5hours 15 minutes. You can also take a train which costs $35 to $60 and takes 6 hours 48 minutes
Milwaukee Take the Wisconsin Coach Lines that operates. The tickets cost $5 to $35 and the journey takes 1 hour 50 minutes.
Millennium park Take the Chicago Transit Authority Blue Line which runs directly from the underbelly of O’Hare to the heart of the loop. The total time from the baggage claim to Millennium Park is roughly an hour.
McCormick Place Take the Blue line from O’Hare and transfer to a south-bound Green Line train at Clark and Lake.
Hong Kong Take a flight from O’Hare to Hong Kong.
Hyatt regency Take a taxi which costs from $55-$70 and takes 21 minutes.
Greyhound Bus Station Follow the signs that says “CTA trains” this will take you to Blue line train station. At the Blue Line train station, go to the Ventra Vending machines, take a train to Clinton Station. Walk one block Harrison street then walk two blocks to the Greyhound bus station.
Downtown Take the Blue line L train, it will take you directly to Downtown in about 45 minutes for about $5. Get the Blue Lines from terminal 1, 2 and 3 by following the signs posted at the airport that says “CTA trains”
Union station Get to the CTA on the Blue line, follow the sign “Trains to City” which will take a 10-minute walk. Take a ticket to Clinton Station on the same Blue Line. Get from CTA station to Union station
Hilton Chicago Take a taxi which costs $55-$70 and takes 21 minutes. You can also take a direct train departing from O’Hare and arriving at Jackson Blue
Northwestern University Take the CTA Blue line train from O’Hare to the Washington stop in Chicago’s loop, walk through the pedestrian lane to the Redline train’s Washington stop, take the Red Line train north to the Howard stop, take the Purple line train north to the Foster stop in Evanston. Walk east of Foster about two blocks until you arrive at the Sheridan road. By car, this is a 17-mile trip and will take approximately 35 minutes.
Madison Take a flight at O’Hare airport to Madison.
Navi Pier Take the walk to Navy Pier terminal, take the line 29 bus to state & lake, take a walk to Clark then take a subway to destination.