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Chicago O'Hare Airport Passenger Reviews and Chicago O'Hare Traveller Reports


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CHICAGO O'HARE AIRPORT review : 7 October 2009 : by T Vetter

Customer Rating : 3/5

3 Star Rating

Arrived late from Zurich on LX, resulting in a 1:45 connection, which proved to be very tight. Immigration line moved quickly but baggage took nearly twenty minutes to appear on the carousel; customs typical perfunctory effort; tram to Terminal B too infrequent for the number of passengers. The big issue was the glacial TSA screening line at Terminal B - only two scanners for well over 200 people in line. We made our domestic connection with 10 minutes to spare, but like previous reviewers, our bags did not arrive home until the next afternoon, due to inadequate TSA checked baggage screening capacity. United representative in Birmingham told me it happens all the time that bags do not clear screening in time to make the flight. I can see why Chicago did not get the 2016 Summer Olympics : O'Hare is simply overwhelmed with volume.

CHICAGO O'HARE AIRPORT review : 18 September 2009 : by E Ferwerda

Customer Rating : 4/5

4 Star Rating

Used this airport about two weeks ago, transferring from Terminal 1 to Terminal 5. Overall a very pleasant experience, the airport seemed very clean and bright. The transfer between terminals was quick and easy, even in mid-day. Following advice from previous postings here, I ate in Terminal 5 outside security. To my surprise the Security lines at Terminal 5 were non- existent! I wish there was a way to transfer between terminals without having to go back through security, but due to the short lines as mentioned this is only a minor issue. Clear layout and signage, excellent facility overall. Would recommend and will use again.

CHICAGO O'HARE AIRPORT review : 31 July 2009 : by R Tay

Customer Rating : 4/5

4 Star Rating

Toilets were clean. Quite easy to find your boarding gate. Waiting time for immigration clearance should be improved a little. The confusing part lies in tht the international terminal which you arrive in may not be the same terminal as where your check-in counter for your return flight is. Overall a pleasant place to be in.

CHICAGO O'HARE AIRPORT review : 28 July 2009 : by D Murphy

Customer Rating : 2/5

2 Star Rating

I have used Chicago O'Hare numerous times for International and Domestic flights. I wanted to give this airport 4 or even 5 stars for the experience I have had of Terminals 1-3, however, T5 drags it right back down. Departures: There are almost no facilities beyond security, bar a few carts selling candy and cigarettes. There is no bar, except for a temporary stand selling bottled beer - not exactly the way to unwind before a long flight. Before security, things are a little better - you can at least get something to eat, albeit at McDonalds. Arrivals: There's a long wait for bags, however, my destination has always been from Ireland, where immigration is done before take-off, so this mitigates that somewhat, as we don't have to queue. There is a bar in arrivals (one might have considered putting the bar in departures?), and a shop, but little else, and the area is cramped with few seats. The rest of O'Hare is a pleasure, but it's as if International flights are an afterthought. I understand that Chicago is a domestic hub, but as an international traveller it's actually a bit of an insult.

CHICAGO O'HARE AIRPORT review : 21 May 2009 : by T Neyrinck

Customer Rating : 4/5

4 Star Rating

Used T5 at O'Hare twice last week, coming from and leaving to LHR. The terminal is perfect to perform a terminal's main goal - getting people quickly and efficiently off and on an airplane onto or off a cab/bus/. It took less than 10 minutes to leave the plane, pick up my luggage, pass immigration (being a non-US citizen) and into a cab. When leaving, check-in desks are plenty, and gates are only (on average) a 2 minutes walk from security gates (which are next to the check-in desks). Be aware that T5 has no eateries and only very basic duty free. Almost nothing in fact. But, as said before, T5 is meant to be an arrivals/departure building, which works very well, and not a shopping mall.

CHICAGO O'HARE AIRPORT review : 4 March 2009 : by J Olivier

Customer Rating : 2/5

2 Star Rating

Arrived from Paris at O'Hare and everything went downhill from there. We had allowed 2 hours to connect to our flight to Calgary, Canada. The plane was 30 minutes late from Paris, and the immigration line is terrible. It takes forever to go through. Canadians do not require fingerprinting and photos yet we have to stand in the same line. The US residents cleared quickly but it took us 50 minutes. After that, we grabbed our bags which were sitting on a non-revolving luggage carousel since we took so long and attempted to drop off our bags. All there was was United personnel yelling at people to move around to different spots and there was no queue. It shouldn't take 10 minutes to drop the bags off. Took the airport train to terminal 1. Not well thought out, everything revolves around 1 escalator so people bunch up. Went through the United Priority security. Not sure why it was priority, it took 20 minutes for TSA to scan 10 people. I'm sorry, but it shouldn't take that long. We then had to do the run between terminal B and C. When we arrived at the gates, the jetway was pulling away from the plane, fortunately they put it back so we could get on. 2 hours should be sufficient. When we got to Calgary, our bags and the bags of about 15 other passengers were missing. Apparently ours got hung up in TSA which doesn't have screening for transferred bags at the international terminal so they went off sight and then come back. Unfortunately, ours never returned. Now we have to hope they are on the next plane and clear Canadian customs ok.

CHICAGO O'HARE AIRPORT review : 2 February 2009 : by T William

Customer Rating : 3/5

3 Star Rating

I would say that the experience varies greatly depending on the terminal you face, but at least in general security wait times have dramatically improved over the past few years. United and American each have their own terminals more or less that can look somewhat grim but have a fair amount of services available. The United terminal has a tunnel that you must walk through to get to most gates (C Concourse), but at least they more or less synched together the audio warnings about reaching the end of the moving walkway. Walk to gates for American can reach 10-15 minutes if your luck is bad. Terminal 3 feels Soviet in design aesthetic but at least is being updated. Access to/from city center can be truly problematic - most hours of the day the drive (20 minutes no traffic) is at least an hour, and without a car you are consigned to either an extremely overpriced (US$50) cab or an uncomfortable train ride. Delays are probably the worst aspect - part of a political game to make the traveller suffer so that Daley can get the airport expansion approved.

CHICAGO O'HARE AIRPORT review : 12 September 2008 : by M Graham

Customer Rating : 4/5

4 Star Rating

No problems arriving at Chcago o Hare. The immigration officer was very friendly. Queues were minimal and we got our luggage quickly. Leaving was equally problem free. Luckily we ate land side as there was almost nothing airside. Just a few stalls selling sandwiches. Is this normal or part of work being done?

CHICAGO O'HARE AIRPORT review : 11 August 2008 : by A Johnson

Customer Rating : 2/5

2 Star Rating

Despite being one of the world's busiest airports and a hub for two major airlines, O'Hare seems ill-equipped to process an influx of passengers at peak times. During the mid-afternoon international arrivals window, the customs area was mobbed. Lines for US citizens moved swiftly, but the processing of foreigners was glacial, thanks to the multiple fingerprint scans and photographs that need to be taken. Baggage belts were also swamped with people, to the point where it was difficult to elbow in and grab your own bag. Recheck was a mob scene, with people becoming so frustrated at the slow service that they left their bags in a pile for the airline staff to figure out. In order to transfer to a domestic flight, you need to take the airport transit system, which ran so infrequently that it became dangerously overcrowded. At the terminal, all passengers must squeeze onto a narrow escalator, which effectively required everybody (and their rollaboard) to form a single-file line. Domestic departures proceeded more smoothly, with only a minimal wait at security and an adequate number of shops and restaurants airside. One complaint about the departure areas is that many of them are too small to effectively contain the number of people when two flights board from side-by-side gates simultaneously.

CHICAGO O'HARE AIRPORT review : 27 June 2008 : by A Turek

Customer Rating : n/a

No Star Rating

It may look like a vision of hell but it got the job done. Arrived from Heathrow on Virgin Atlantic; Immigration done in fifteen minutes; bags ten minutes more; a well-organised taxi rank with no waiting at all. Coming back security, like Immigration, brusque but efficient. I was glad to have lounge access but it would have been bearable without.

Chicago O'Hare Airport review by S Wilby

23 April 2008   Customer Rating : 3 Star Rating

We expected a surly welcome to America and were not disappointed. The immigration officer seemed to want to provoke an argument with his questions about why we were visiting Chicago and how we could afford to pay for our visit and with his negative comments about the city - I hope he does not apply for a post with the Tourist Board. The signage was poor for train transport to the city. The departure lounges in terminal 5 are disappointing with poor catering facilities once through security but at least the flight was on time and the baggage recovery on arrival was excellent.

Chicago O'Hare Airport review by Dave Hay

8 January 2008   Customer Rating : 1 Star Rating

It's the worst ever airport I have been to. The passport control took over 1 hour to go through, having only 3 people to check International passports for thousands that were passing thru' - welcome to America! Why aren't the airlines doing something to correct this problem - they had to deal with the mess off missed flights, due to poor passport control.Good luck travellers!

Chicago O'Hare Airport review by S Srinivasan

24 December 2007   Customer Rating : 3 Star Rating

I've never had too many problems connecting through ORD. There are dedicated security lines for First/Business/elite FFs, and those lines are never very long. At least in T3, there are a fair number of shops and restaurants to choose from, and the AA Admirals Club is conveniently located between Concourses H and K, so you have an easy walk to your gate. I've also never had to wait more than 5-10 minutes at immigration, though granted, the flight I use from DEL comes in very early in the morning when there aren't any other flights around. The main complaint I have about ORD is the utter lack of information concerning delays, at least for AA flights. Flights are often shown as on-time, right up to the scheduled boarding time, at which point a delay magically appears, with no explanation given by the ground staff. I guess they don't see the need anymore, given the chronic delays that plague ORD these days. Overall, though, there are far worse places to transit through.

Chicago O'Hare Airport review by Frank Sherwin

12 November 2007   Customer Rating : 1 Star Rating

I had the misfortune to connect at O'Hare airport en route from San Jose to Copenhagen. It was my first time in Chicago, and my considered impression is that O'Hare is a breathtakingly unfriendly place. From virtually the moment of disembarking where arriving and transiting passengers were prevented from leaving, having to side-step high-fiving security types and obnoxious passport controls (please and thank you obviously never made it this far into the mid-West), navigating the terminals (gate M11 is in terminal 5, that's perfectly clear then), until the dingy airside international departure lounge with it's roped-shut kiosks and virtually complete lack of facilities... it was an abysmal experience.

Chicago O'Hare Airport review by D Pavlovic

5 October 2007   Customer Rating : 4 Star Rating

Recently flew twice to Chicago, FRA-ORD-MSN and MUC-ORD-MSN, had absolutely no problems with immigration, although there were other flights, arrived at the same time to T5. I would say it just depends on a situation. Had no problems with re-checking my luggage for my connection flight or changing between T5 and T1. There was a queue at the T1 security check, but it moved relatively fast. I consider one of the biggest ORD problems delays and changing of gates - my flight to MSN was delayed, then the delay was shortened, than again increased, then again shortened and so on - gates were being changed three times, people were going crazy. Going back to FRA and MUC, respectively, was nice and smooth. In general, I find it very good and have no complains.

Chicago O'Hare Airport review by Mark Simons

20 April 2007   Customer Rating : n/a

If you have time in connecting , avoid the cramped conditions and queues to eat in the domestic terminals and head for the Hilton - which can be reached by foot. Here there are a choice of a very nice Italian restaurant or a sports bar + if feeling energetic you can also access the Hilton fitness club for ten dollars and have a swim, sauna or workout. It really is worth the detour if you have a couple of hours

Chicago O'Hare Airport review by Martyn Rogers
25 November 2006

Arrived from LHR into terminal 5 and after walking into the immigration area discovered it was virtually empty. Maybe we were just lucky or there are no other international flights arriving around this time (1315) but we were through immigration within 10 mins. Staff took fingerprints, photograph and were on our way, no grilling - just smiles! Flying back from O'Hare, check in was smooth and efficient. As flying business class were able to use the fast track immigration queue, took around 10-15 mins to pass through, once airside was impressed how modern and clean the airport was. Plenty of choice for places to eat/drink, duty free was rather basic but adequate. Overall a very pleassnt experience and a much better one than a visit to Orlando Intl 3 years ago.

Chicago O'Hare Airport review by Jason Lawley
15 November 2006

Arriving into the US after a long transatlantic flight to be greeted by the longest looking Immigration queue of all time is not the best start to a visit to the US (four flights arriving at the same time from Asia and Europe). Non-US citizens queue took 1h 30 mins to get through and in this time, the security staff walk around like prison guards checking that not a single person dare use their cellphone until after immigration. Immigration officers treat you as if you are a possible suspect with questioning and attitude not found at any other airport or country worldwide. Check-in areas are however relatively pleasant - numerous self check-in machines (for United Airlines anyway) in the US- domestic area and security not a problem if you have a Star Alliance Gold/Silver card for instance as there is an express lane for such holders which was a nice surprise. Flight expected departure time updates for both domestic and international flights was found to be largely erratic - if the flight is on-time then the gate/time info is fine, but if your flight is delayed, low betide if you can get any accurate info on where you should go and how long you will be waiting for. For several ORD-LHR flights that I have taken over the past few months, majority have been delayed and the new departure time has almost never been provided, nor has gate info. Meant that pax were wandering around not having a clue whether the flight is cancelled/delayed etc and airport customer services queues were perhaps 30 mins long if you wanted to go find out.

Chicago O'Hare Airport review by Prakash Kotagal
7 November 2006

Now that water bottles are not allowed to be carried through security, guess what has happened to the price of a bottle of water? I had to pay $2.75 for a small bottle because the water fountain adjacent to gate E8 was broken (and has been broken for quite a while). I would like to know what O'Hare airport authorities are doing about this. I am all for a market economy, etc. but this is too much to pay for water! A little bit of oversight by the airport authorities would be welcome and much appreciated by travelers.

Chicago O'Hare Airport review by Steve Maier
15 October 2006

MUC-ORD-CVG. I had a satisfactory experience in ORD. From landing of the aircraft (Lufthansa) to arrival at the nice Red Carpet Lounge of United (comfy, new and well equipped) in terminal 2 took me only 50 minutes. The Terminal where we arrived was relatively new, yes the way from the plane to immigrations was awfully long, but still shorter than in Shanghai. Immigration was efficient, even if it was rush hour it took me only 15 minutes to go through. Took train to terminal 2 and after a couple of minutes I was airside. I have no complaints, will consider flying through Chicago again.

Chicago O'Hare Airport review by Javier Urra
8 September 2006

MAD-ORD with Iberia. If possible, avoid Chicago airport. immigration lines for non American are simply endless and when you finally exit, you will find no indication about baggage claim belt. On the contrary, it is likely to find airport staff gathering suitcases in some corner or even worse, taking suitcases to "somewhere". My baggage was completely unattended, pretty far from the belt, and I did not find my second baggage until 6 days later, completely destroyed. Dirty, old style and feeling guilty just for asking "Where is the Madrid baggage?" is the welcome words you will find if arriving to ORD Chicago O Hare

Chicago O'Hare Airport review by Ed Fry
23 August 2006

Chicago Airport may not be the most favoured hub to pass through, although it's somewhat unavoidable, since both United & American (both Heathrow customers...) hub there. T5 is interesting. Disembarking tired, jetlagged passengers into a grey walled, low-ceiling walkway is not the ideal way to say "hey welcome to the united states". Immigration has queues no matter what, although our queuing only lasted 10 minutes. Cheerful customs greeted us with a smile which was nice after baggage claim and we dropped our bags at the United baggage transfer facility at T5. The train is harmless, although initially from T5 can b a little full. T1 security is somewhat threatening. A women who sticks her hand vaguely in your direction and yelps passports (on a domestic flight) is hardly inviting, and then she scribbles the gate number on our boarding cards ... it's sort of pointless... I transferred through Chicago 3 times in less than 3 weeks. The bus to E & F (United Express) gates from C (United) gates is small, and not wheelchair accessable. It's a minbus with benches all facing inwards. The main C Councourse is rather attractive; it allows plenty of natural light in and allows good views of the tarmac.

Chicago O'Hare Airport review by Neil Ramsay
1 June 2006

Arrived mid afternoon at T5 with other aircraft. The foreigner lines at immigration were extremely long but authorities did their best to open resident gates when not in use and move overflow to other sections to reduce the delay. Took an hour to get through which, considering the crowd, was not too bad. INS agent polite and welcoming. Baggage already available and customs inspection minimal. United's baggage transfer can be a bit confusing for the uninitiated but mine has always turned up at my final destination so there must be a system operating. Train to Terminal 2 was quick and painless. Security here quick and efficient. Bad weather earlier in the day had caused considerable flight back up and eventual cancellations. Terminals were extremely crowded with many angry and frustrated passengers. Our United agent handled our rebooking with good grace. Next morning's checkin was a long and a little frustrating with late arriving passengers with imminent departures getting preference over those who did the right thing and turned up for their flights early. Departure gates in T2 were very crowded and obviously flights had been overbooked with constant requests for passengers with time on their hands to give up their seats for the normal compensations. Not the best airport experience but certainly not the worst.

Chicago O'Hare Airport review by Richard Allan
29 May 2006

I transited thru ORD recently on a London to Appleton WI return trip. It's an awful airport. Terminal 5 is shabby with a complete lack of decent services once thru security. No where to get half-decent food, no shops or bar so you spend 2 hours just waiting at the gate. Going out the transfer from BA terminal 5 to United terminal 2 is poor and confusing. There's uncertainty what to do with your bags, where to get your new boarding pass etc. All my US colleagues smiled knowingly when I told them of my frustrations. Airlines using ORD should pressurize them to upgrade the facilities a bit as I'll be looking for alternative routes when possible.

Chicago O'Hare Airport review by Alex Knisely
18 May 2006

The airport facilities have not been re-arranged to take into account "security" requirements, although 9-11 is several years behind us. Example: Post-office access (Terminal 2 only) is behind the security gates. Airports everywhere need to move general-use sites out of the departing-passenger-only zones; perhaps O'Hare will bear this in mind when a re-build is contemplated (and, shabby as Terminals 3 and 5 are, one is needed soon).

Chicago O'Hare Airport review by Robert Clark
18 May 2006

When changing airlines through ORD, the place can be a nightmare. My flight was Alaska Airlines ANC-ORD and United Xpress ORD-CAE. United and Alaska terminals are very far apart at ORD so you have to cross the street, use the train to the very last terminal, pick up your ticket, go through security, and walk down about 20 minutes to finally get to the xpress gates, which is normally at the end of the United terminal. No moving sidewalk to help out. Should you find yourself changing airlines at ORD, get your ticket from ORD to destination at the airport of origin. (In my case, get my Alaska Airlines ticket, then go to United/Canada and get the ORD-CAE ticket.) Otherwise you could be waiting in line at the ticket counter for a very long time. You will be in the same situation if you are flying to smaller airports in the northeast or southeast USA.

Chicago O'Hare Airport review by Jean Coldham
5 March 2006

I fly Internationally out of Terminal 5 at least 5 times a year and am always amazed at how bad the facilities are at International Departures. Hardly anywhere to sit - just fast food "restaurants", no shops to speak of. This is a golden opportunity missed! International travelers have to spend at least 2 hours in this terminal with nothing decent to eat and no stores to roam around - not even enough room to sit and wait comfortably. Once through security there is nothing at all!! The other terminals, where you only have to wait 1 hour have plenty of amenities. Also bear in mind that lots of Indians and Pakistani families live in the Chicago area and when they leave the country the whole family is there to see them off, so terribly overcrowded!

Chicago O'Hare Airport review by James O'Brien
10 January 2006

I had my first travelling experience through O'Hare over the busy Christmas period. I have used Midway before and avoid O'Hare because of things people told me about it. I found O'Hare pleasant place - I landed at terminal 5 on American Airlines, didn't have to do immigration as it was done in Dublin. After collecting my bags, clearing customs and rechecking was out in 20 mins and in terminal 3 for my flight to Toronto 5 mins later. Nice selection of shops, bars and places to eat. Fast train service between terminals.

Chicago O'Hare Airport review by Aaron Garrett
16 November 2005

I've flown in and out of Chicago's O'Hare and Midway airports on numerous occasions and O'Hare is so much easier. On a recent KLM flight to Amsterdam I was impressed on how quickly we passed through security. Especially considering there were quite a few other airlines checking in for flights. I was disappointed, however, at the lack of services offered once through security. And my experiences with O'Hare customs have been pleasant, no long waits. Each terminal has its own security checkpoint, unlike MDW or ATL which are just a mass of people at one security checkpoint and involve long waits.

Chicago O'Hare Airport review by Yevheniy Kahanovych
2 November 2005

Great architecture, pleasant structure to look at. The whole place is telling "come here again", but as to the functionality of the venue, I have to say some unpleasant words. First, cleanliness of toilets is a must, not facultative. Second, the fact that trolleys are not allowed at the transit train between terminals makes transiting painful for passengers with bags (especially for families). Third, terminals 2 and 3 are not lit enough. In the evening arrivals areas on the ground level look gloomy. Terminal 1 is not well signposted. If you fly with United and your departure terminal is #2, you have to check-in at Terminal 1 and then go to Terminal 2 through a special passage for United domestic passengers. Stupid and terribly confusing for those who fly first time. I've spent some 20 minutes in Terminal 2 trying to find United check-in desks among ones of Northwest and Continental, and then somehow guessed it should be at the Terminal 1. Food I ate at the outlet near the gate (Terminal 2 airside ) was iedible. Departing from Terminal 5 on British Airways was a difficult experience. Slow check-in, and nothing to eat after security at 9pm, but the terminal itself is nice, roomy and convenient. Arriving with united to the state-of-the-art concourse B of Terminal 1 was a great pleasure. All in all, great look, poor touch.

Chicago O'Hare Airport review by Stefan Paetow
12 June 2005

Chicago O'Hare is a mixed opinion here. International Arrivals are fantastic, the most friendly INS and Customs staff I have ever encountered flying to the US. Efficient, straight-forward, and just plain good. International Departures is slightly less nice. Limited seating areas before check-in, NO left luggage facilities even pre-9/11. Airline check-in is airy and open, and makes life in the queue bearable. Almost no shops/amenities after going through security control, which is a real shame. Domestic terminals are a nightmare. United's Terminal has NO information boards to tell you which terminal and which gate your flight is due to depart at, staff are rude and unhelpful when you are stranded and where on earth are the information desks? On the far end of the half-mile terminal? The Skytrain makes moving from International terminal to domestic terminal easy though.

Chicago O'Hare Airport review by A Hilbun
29 June 2005

There is no way around the fact that O'Hare is simply a zoo. The facilities are simply not well equipped to handle the number of people that pass through it. Terminal 1 security is a nightmare, even though there are two checkpoints, one at each end of the building. Terminals 1 and 5 are also starting to look worn, despite the fact that they are relatively new. That said, the airport is well-maintained and relatively clean, especially in light of the number of people who use the facility on a daily basis. United now needs to take a cue from Northwest Airlines (who built a new terminal facility for them and their partners at Detroit Metro) and build a new terminal at O'Hare that would allow United customers to transit from international to domestic flights in the same building.

Chicago O'Hare Airport review by Mark Taylor
29 June 2005

I'd suggest avoiding O'Hare if you are trying to connect from an international flight to a domestic one. No fast track for F/J class passengers, no help whatsoever with flight connections. You just wait in the queue at immigration and take your chances. It's not even logical, they had space at the US immigration channel so some uniform opened the barrier for people waiting behind me to go through. One guy tried to join this from near me- probably also had a connection- but aforementioned jobsworth shooed him back. I can handle the idea of needing extra security but if you, US immigration, can't find a way within this to accommodate the realities of an international hub, then come clean and tell people not to try connecting at this or other US airports operating on this basis- which is many of them I believe. To their credit, the airport and airline staff are pretty good at managing the situation and getting you on a later flight because they are well used to this farce, and ashamed of it too. I know LHR immigration is bad but at least there's an effort to get people to their connection. If this is truly where US government/immigration has arrived at post 9/11, I'm afraid you've conceded a clear victory to the terrorists on this one.



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