Chicago’s Airports Preparing For Busy And Safe Holiday Travel

July 1, 2021

July 4th weekend expected to see increased passenger travel – with 240% more passengers at O’Hare and 77% more at Midway than Independence Day last year

CDA Media Relations    773.686.3700 |

CHICAGO – The Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) is looking forward to welcoming back large numbers of travelers at both O’Hare and Midway International Airports this holiday weekend. Travel numbers will reach their highest level since the pandemic began last year, with O’Hare International Airport expected to host more than a million passengers between Thursday, July 1 and Tuesday, July 6 - an increase of 240% over the same holiday weekend last year, based on projections from airline carriers. Midway International Airport will host approximately 220,000 passengers, an increase of 77% over last year. Friday, July 2 will be the busiest day of the travel at both airports, with more than 220,000 passengers expected to pass through O’Hare and 41,000 at Midway. 

“We are excited to welcome travelers back to Chicago’s airports, as air travel ramps up and people are eager to visit loved ones and enjoy summer vacations,” said CDA Commissioner Jamie L. Rhee. “Our airports remain vigilant because there is no greater priority than providing a safe, secure and reassuring environment for travelers and employees alike. We remind everyone that although Chicago and many cities around the country have relaxed COVID-19 restrictions, face masks and social distancing are still required at Chicago’s airports in accordance with federal law.” 

Effective June 29, 2021, the Chicago Department of Public Health transitioned the City’s Travel Order to a Travel Advisory after three consecutive periods without any U.S. states in the orange warning tier (over 15 cases per 100,000 residents). No COVID-19 test or quarantine period is presently required to travel to the city of Chicago. Travel restrictions could be reinstated if CDPH sees a surge in cases. More information at

Before heading to the airports this Fourth of July, travelers are encouraged to visit for information on current travel recommendations. Additionally, two videos, produced by the CDA in conjunction with Choose Chicago, explain what to expect for those who haven’t traveled by air recently: 


Welcome Back to the Airports 

Before travel  

  • Get vaccinated – The CDC states that “People who are fully vaccinated with an FDA-authorized vaccine or a vaccine authorized for emergency use by the World Health Organization can travel safely within the United States.” Visit to find a vaccine option near you. 
  • Check with your airline - Understand their mask requirements and new procedures to enhance safety. 
  • If traveling internationally, find out your destination’s requirements – More information at  
  • Check-in online – This option is even more important now to limit contact and speed up the check-in process.  

    Arriving at the airport  
  • Bring your mask – While requirements may have relaxed in many settings, federal law still mandates that everyone over the age of two must wear a mask within an airport and on an aircraft. This is expected to continue until at least September. If you’re in need of a mask, some are available at airport information booths.  
  • Arrive early – With added security measures and resurgent travel demand, you may encounter longer lines at airline check-in, TSA screening, and concessions. Ongoing construction of the Lower Level Utility and Pavement Replacement (LLUPR) Project at O’Hare may impact traffic and cause additional delays in the arrivals lanes near Terminals 1, 2 and 3. 
  • Consider public transportation – When you’re ready, Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) is ready. Visit for more information. 
  • If parking, check lot status – Short- and long-term options are available. Visit O’Hare Parking and Midway Parking for real time updates. Traffic updates are also available on Midway’s Radio Station (1630 AM) within a one-mile radius of the airport. Construction may have changed things since you last visited the airport. 
  • Use shuttle buses to travel between all of O’Hare’s terminals and remote economy parking lots – The buses operate continuously to ensure prompt and reliable service while the Airport Transit System (ATS) is closed. 

    At the airport  
  • Plan for TSA wait times - Typical Security Checkpoint wait times including TSA PreCheck can be viewed for O'Hare and for Midway  
  • Enjoy food, retail and other concessions – Concessions are open and available at O’Hare and Midway  
  • Use contact-free options like mobile food ordering and “Just Walk Out” shopping at Midway Airport – Order food through or by scanning the QR codes at your gate. Hudson Nonstop in Concourse B offers Amazon’s “Just Walk Out” technology for a streamlined and contact free check out experience.   
  • Verify comfort amenities – Some amenities like the Yoga Rooms and Play Areas remain closed. Airline lounge hours and operations may vary. 
  • Enjoy special holiday entertainment – Live entertainment is taking place at O’Hare on July 1 & 2 from 9 a.m. to noon in the Terminal 2 Family Lounge and on July 2 from 1 to 4 p.m. in the Terminal 3 Rotunda. At Midway, the music can be heard on July 1 & 2 from noon to 3 p.m. at baggage claim. 



Travelers bound for Chicago’s airports this holiday weekend can make the most informed decisions about how to access any of the above airport services by visiting The website also contains real-time information about flights, regular updates on traffic and weather, parking updates, taxicab wait times and other special alerts for the traveling public. 

The public is reminded that access to airport terminals at both O’Hare and Midway International Airports is restricted at all times to ticketed passengers, those assisting passengers, badged employees, and others with legitimate airport business 


About the Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA): The Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) is self-supporting, using no local or state tax dollars for operations or capital improvements at O’Hare and Midway International Airports. Chicago’s airports offer service to over 260 nonstop destinations worldwide, including 47 foreign countries, combined. Together, Chicago’s airports serve more than 105 million passengers each year and generate approximately $60 billion in annual economic activity for the region. Please visit to learn more about the Chicago Department of Aviation. 



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