Contained within a square-mile on the city’s south side, the airline terminal is at 5700 South Cicero Ave. The current airline passenger terminal was completed in 2001 but the airport itself dates back to 1923 when it was used as a landing strip for four years before it became Chicago Municipal Airport. Renamed in 1949 for the World War II naval Battle of Midway, the airport lays claim to being Chicago’s “close-in” airport.
The Orange Line of the Chicago Transit Authority’s ‘L’ train operates from the airport to the downtown Loop with a scheduled travel time of just under 25 minutes. Follow the signs in the airport for ‘CTA Trains’ or ‘Trains to the City,’ and the orange line painted on the ground, to reach the transportation center by way of an enclosed walkway. Several CTA and Pace suburban bus routes also serve Midway Airport’s transportation center.
Midway has one terminal with two main concourses, A and B. There is also a three-gate area labeled as Concourse C. All of the gate areas are connected in the TSA secure area.
Southwest Airlines flights arrive and depart at gates on the A and B concourses. Passengers making connections to other flights can do so without exiting the TSA secure area.
Opened in 1955 to accommodate first-generation jet airliners on its long runways, O’Hare Airport’s passenger terminal featured an innovative design using what they called “fingers,” now commonly known as concourses, radiating out from central terminal buildings. O’Hare is a major hub for both American and United airlines. The airport is closest to Chicago’s northwest suburbs. Downtown is about 18 miles southeast and takes about 40 minutes in normal traffic. The Blue Line of the Chicago Transit Authority’s ‘L’ train is scheduled to make the trip in about 45 minutes. Signs in the terminals point the way to the trains.
O’Hare has four terminals. Domestic flights use terminals 1, 2 and 3. International flights use Terminal 5 (there is no Terminal 4). Walkways connect terminals 1, 2 and 3, both pre- and post-security. The Airport Transit System (ATS), an automated people mover, connects all terminals with the Multi-Modal Facility (rental cars, economy parking and regional bus services), and the Metra North Central Service commuter rail station.
American Airlines flights arrive and depart at the G, H, K and L gates in Terminal 3. Passengers can reach other American gates and all other domestic gates in Terminals 1 and 2 using walkways without exiting the TSA secure area. Passengers making international connections to flights leaving from Terminal 5 can use the Terminal Transfer Bus service that operates 10 a.m.-8:30 p.m. from gate G17, K20 or L24 to avoid exiting the secure area. (International passengers who have not checked baggage through to their final destination or otherwise must reclaim checked bags at O’Hare are required to exit the secure area and use the automated ATS or shuttle buses then recheck bags with the connecting airline.)
United Airlines flights arrive and depart at the B and C gates in Terminal 1. Passengers can reach departure gates in Terminal 1 for United, ANA and Lufthansa flights as well all departures in terminals 2 and 3 using walkways without exiting the TSA secure area. Passengers making connections to international departures leaving from Terminal 5 should use the automated Airport Transit System or shuttle service, which requires leaving the TSA secure area and being re-screened. Arriving international flights on all flights that were not pre-cleared by U.S. Customs at their departure airport arrive at Terminal 5. After clearing Customs all passengers must use the Airport Transit System or shuttle to return to other terminals.
With nicknames including The Windy City, Second City, City of Big Shoulders and The City That Works, Chicago’s Midwest location has long made it a hub for commerce. With a population of 9.5 million, Chicago, or Chicagoland as it’s sometimes called, is the third largest metropolitan area in the U.S. behind New York and Los Angeles.
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