Chicago's Airports Prepare For Big Travel Increase
Memorial Day Weekend expects to bring 565% more passengers at O’Hare and over 433% at Midway than the same time last year
CDA Media Relations 773.686.3700 | firstname.lastname@example.org
CHICAGO – The Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) is preparing for a busy and safe travel weekend this Memorial Day. While numbers still remain below 2019 travel figures, O’Hare International Airport is expecting to see 827,000 passengers pass through between Thursday, May 27 and Tuesday, June 1– an increase of 565% over the same period last year, based on projections from airline carriers. Midway International Airport will see an additional 224,000 passengers, an increase of 433%, over the holiday weekend. To ensure the safest possible environment for travelers and staff, please remember that mask-wearing, as well as maintaining a safe social distance from those not in your immediate traveling party, is required inside airports.
“As Chicago’s airports see increased numbers of passengers, there is no greater priority than providing a safe and secure environment for travelers and employees alike,” said CDA Commissioner Jamie L. Rhee. “We are anticipating the increases during this Memorial Day travel period and upcoming summer months, and we remind everyone that although COVID-19 restrictions have been relaxed in some settings, Chicago’s airports still require face coverings.”
Before heading to the airports this Memorial Day, travelers are encouraged to visit www.flychicago.com for information on current travel requirements. 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:
The CDA has been in close contact with federal and public health partners at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) to strictly adhere to their recommendations to combat COVID-19 at Chicago’s airports. These measures include:
- enhanced cleaning and sanitation of all surfaces in accordance with all CDC guidance;
- ventilation that exceeds CDC recommendations;
- hundreds of new hand sanitizer dispensers throughout the airports, as well as hundreds of Plexiglas barriers to ensure passenger and employee safety;
- hundreds of social distancing markers on floors in areas where lines form; public address announcements in English, Spanish and Polish.
For those traveling through O’Hare, visit the new Safety Cow – a cow from Chicago’s famed “Cows on Parade” exhibit repurposed to display current safety messages, located in Terminal 3.
Food, beverages and essentials are available at both airports with safety protocols in place to continue to ensure the traveling public’s safety. Additional contactless payment options are available, Plexiglas dividers have been installed and menus are available by scanning QR codes. Concession seating areas allow for social distancing. Airline lounge hours and operations may vary, so please confirm that information with your airline.
Both airports feature ample public parking capacity, but O’Hare’s Terminal 5 parking lot is experiencing some limitations during peak periods. Passengers parking and flying out of Terminal 5 are encouraged to check www.flychicago.com/T5Parking for real-time update and allow extra time to park at alternate parking lots.
At Midway, message board display signs direct passengers to access available parking off of Cicero Avenue and also provides shuttle service to move passengers quickly and efficiently to the terminal. Additional signage at Midway is utilized throughout the new checkpoint area to guide travelers through the new configuration. Traffic updates are also available on Midway’s Radio Station (1630 AM) within a one-mile radius of the airport.
The CDA and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) encourage passengers to arrive at the airport two hours before domestic departures and three hours ahead of international departures to ensure adequate time for ticketing, baggage check, security screening and travel to the airline gate.
Train service on Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) via the Orange and Blue Lines provides passengers an affordable, efficient route between downtown and the airports, with service offered 24/7. Travelers are advised that during the overnight hours, Blue Line service toward Downtown departs from the Rosemont CTA station.
A shuttle to Rosemont is available from the Bus and Shuttle Center. For information on the recently safety updates by the CTA, visit www.transitchicago.com/coronavirus.
The O'Hare Airport Transit System (ATS or “people mover) is closed 24/7 to finalize modernization efforts and expansion of the system. In order to maintain a travel connection between all of O’Hare’s terminals and parking lots, the CDA is operating shuttle buses to transport passengers and employees between terminals (Terminals 1, 2, 3 and 5) and from the terminals to each economy parking lot (Lots E, G, H); the Multi-Modal Facility (MMF), where Lot F and rental cars are housed; and the Metra O’Hare Transfer station. The buses will operate continuously to ensure prompt and reliable service while the ATS is closed.
For passenger pick-up, drivers are reminded it is illegal to stand along airport and surrounding roadways and shoulders. Ongoing construction on the arrivals curbsides at Terminals 1, 2 and 3 has reduced overall curbside capacity. Drivers are encouraged to utilize airport cell phone lots, as well as the convenient hourly parking garages, which allow drivers to park for up to one hour for $3 at O’Hare and $5 at Midway, to avoid traffic congestion. When picking up passengers, please watch for construction on the lower level arrival areas in Terminals 1, 2 and 3. Pay extra attention in these areas, as traffic patterns have changed.
In remembrance this Memorial Day, red, white and blue wreaths are on display at the Butch O’Hare exhibit in O’Hare’s Terminal 2. At Midway, a wreath is on display at the Battle of Midway exhibit on Concourse A and flags are posted in various locations to observe the holiday.
The United Service Organizations (USO) plans to be open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. throughout the weekend at O’Hare. After the holiday weekend, the office at O’Hare will return to the current schedule of 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Monday-Friday. At Midway, the USO regularly operates 9 a.m.–6 p.m., daily, including this weekend.
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 www.flychicago.com. The website also contains real-time information on 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 www.flychicago.com to learn more about the Chicago Department of Aviation.