Getting Through The Chicago O’Hare International Airport… Not Always An Easy Task.
While travelers usually end up enjoying their end destination, the journey to that destination is often hectic and filled with last minute issues. Traveling on your own is more manageable, but if you’re hauling precious cargo such as your children or other loved ones, it’s anything but simple.
Managing to corral the family is one thing, but tasks such as finding affordable parking options in town that are also close to the airport creates a lot of pressure.
Have no fear. We’ve compiled an extensive travel guide to help you get through the international airport in one piece and find the best parking options in town.
According to a recent article in the Chicago Tribune, the O’Hare International Airport is once again the busiest in the nation in terms of total flights, surpassing Atlanta for the first time since 2014.
Over 900,000 travelers made their way through the airport terminals last year alone. The busiest travel days occurred during June & July and the busiest day was by far June 27 with 2,847 arrivals and departures.
What does this mean? It means that airport traffic is making BAD street traffic even worse.
A recent report from INRIX, a transportation analytics firm, announced that Chicago is now ranked 3rd in the United States for most traffic congestion. This ranking is even higher than New York City and Los Angeles.
It makes sense why. With new road infrastructure issues and increasing traffic in and out of the city, there are plenty of reasons why Chicago’s roads and airport terminals are getting more clogged up.
So if you have to bring your car with you to the airport, you’ve got to think ahead.
These travel tips will get you to and through the airport as quickly as possible.
1) Consider Investing In TSA Pre-Check.
TSA pre-check only takes roughly five minutes to apply for and it will save you a TON of time. The TSA website provides simple instructions for application for pre-check.
If you are deemed “low risk” you will be able to pass through an expedited security screening at the airport and get to where you need to go fast.
2) Make Sure To Check In To Your Flight Before You Arrive.
Download the app of whichever airline you are flying with and be sure to check in to your flight earlier rather than later. Often they will disable the ability to check in online if it is done last minute, which will cost you precious minutes if you’re in a hurry.
Most of these apps also allow you to download your ticket as an “e-ticket.” For example, you can download your ticket to your iPhone’s apple wallet for quick access.
3) Look At The Airport Map And Find Your Security Gate Ahead Of Time.
The Chicago O’hare International Airport has an easy-access airport map that will allow you to find your airline security gate ahead of time. Use this to your advantage and tell your shuttle or ride-share service exactly where you need to be dropped off for less foot travel.
4) Wear Only The Essentials.
Bring your favorite set of “air travel clothes” that are both comfortable and have secure pockets. Avoid wearing athletic wear with short pockets, you could easily lose an important item or two if you sit down.
Your travel clothes should be comfortable but also presentable. Studies show that people with nicer clothing receive better treatment at the security gate.
5) If Possible, Consolidate Belongings Into Carry On Bags.
If you don’t have to check a bag, be sure to put your items into easy to transport carry on luggage.
If you’re worried that your luggage may be close to your airline’s weight limit, be sure to bring a jacket that you can take out of the bag and put items in.
Keep the jacket at the top of the luggage for easy removal.
6) Go To The Left At Security.
If there is an opportunity in security to go to the left, take it! Since the majority of people are right-handed this causes the majority of people to head to the security lane on the right when faced with a choice.
7) Mark Where You Park.
Apps such as Waze allow for you to leave a marker at your current parking location.
You can also take a picture of the parking location on the phone for future reference when you return from your destination.
8) Find Parking That Is Both Affordable & Close To The Airport.
When choosing an airport parking lot, be sure to choose a location that is both affordable and also close to the airport. It’s one of the most important parts of expedited air travel.
Often times you will find a good parking spot but will also need to order a Taxi to get to the terminal. One Spot offers a complimentary valet shuttle straight to the Chicago O’Hare Airport so you don’t have to waste additional time looking for a ride.