Mayor Lightfoot and Chicago Department of Aviation Launch "What We're Made of Campaign"

March 21, 2022

New Campaign Will Welcome Travelers Ahead of Busy Spring and Summer Season

CHICAGO – Today, Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and the Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) announced a new welcome campaign created by marketing agency FCB Chicago ahead of the busy spring and summer travel season. The first phase of the multi-phased “What We’re Made Of” campaign, developed in partnership with CDA and the Mayor’s Office, launches Monday, March 21, and will display on TV monitors, screens, and banners throughout O’Hare and Midway International Airports. It’s a perfect time to welcome travelers as they return to the skies this spring and see the many improvements that have been taking place at Chicago’s airports.

“Whether you’re a tourist here to enjoy our many diverse attractions, a business traveler here to close a deal or a resident coming home, our airports are always ready to welcome you,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “O'Hare and Midway Airports are gateways to the world. That is why we are continuing to make investments in our airports that increase air travel and improve the customer experience. I am grateful to FCB for designing this creative campaign that highlights some of the fun reasons why we love our city. I'm also grateful to CDA, WBC, and Choose Chicago for continuing to show the world why we're number one."

The “What We’re Made Of” campaign thanks visitors for flying into Chicago’s local airports, the gateways to “everything Chicago is made of,” and highlights areas that make this city unique.

"Chicago is a global destination for travelers and businesses alike," said Michael Fassnacht, President and CEO of World Business Chicago and Chief Marketing Officer for the City of Chicago. "As we recover from the inherent challenges of COVID-19, we are reminded of the things that form the foundation of our city's identity. Whether it's highlighting our beautiful beaches or promoting our world-class museums, the "What We're Made Of" campaign takes us back to our roots and welcomes travelers to explore what Chicago is truly made of."

The first phase of the campaign welcomes people to “26 public beaches…and no sharks” with a creative illustration of Chicago lakefront activities. The new artwork will be displayed in O’Hare and Midway throughout the spring travel period. Future iterations of the campaign will highlight Chicago’s numerous public parks, hot dog stands, and museums. FCB Chicago, the agency behind the artwork, is part of Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot’s By Chicago, For Chicago initiative – a commitment to dedicate a percentage of all hours worked towards non-profit, social and cultural organizations, and City agencies.

The announcement of the "What We're Made Of" campaign also marks the beginning of the busy spring and summer travel season.

“Welcome back to everyone returning to local airports for the first time in several years,” said Department of Aviation Commissioner Jamie L. Rhee. “We hope that everyone has a safe and enjoyable experience, and we are excited to share recent updates and additions, including our new vending machines, accessibility improvements, and communication tools.”

Travelers will find the addition of one of the largest and most innovative airport concession vending programs in the country. Nine new vendors represent state-of-the-art, low-touch, 24/7 offerings that meet the evolving needs of travelers. While the vending machines offer an array of healthy prepared food and beverages, they also sell everything from cosmetics and electronics to gourmet cupcakes, specialty popcorn, and LEGOS®. Importantly, these operating leases include a high representation of certified Airport Concessions Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (ACDBEs) and provide opportunities for small and diverse locally owned businesses to grow.

At Midway Airport, low-contact purchase options are available with food delivered to departure gates through or displayed QR codes. Hudson Nonstop in Concourse B offers Amazon’s “Just Walk Out” technology for a streamlined and contact-free checkout experience.

Passengers can find these concessions options, as well the food and retail options located near their gate when they visit the updated and mobile-friendly “My Flight” website. The page also displays real-time flight updates and other targeted resource information for either O’Hare or Midway.

Additional improvements at both airports increase accessibility and efficiency. The O’Hare Airport Transit System reopened for service in November 2021 and is now operating daily from 5 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. The fully automated train system transports passengers between Terminals 1, 2, 3, and 5, as well as the Multi-Modal Facility, which provides immediate access to rental cars, Economy Parking Lot F, the Kiss 'n' Fly, Pace buses, and Metra. Shuttle buses continue to operate at all hours.

At O’Hare Terminals 1, 2, and 3, curbsides are being rebuilt with elevated crosswalks for greater accessibility. At Midway, parking structure improvements include upgraded pavement and ramps. The Midway Kiss ‘n’ Ride implemented multiple ADA improvements, including a designated passenger loading and unloading zone, a raised accessible path, and new signage.

Passengers will find that construction continues at O’Hare, especially in Terminal 5 and along the curbsides and roadways of Terminals 1, 2 and 3. While these projects create temporary disruptions to airport operations, they are essential as the CDA works to fulfill “O’Hare 21” — a curb-to-gate transformation that meets the traveling public’s needs for the 21st century and beyond. These continued investments will deliver the airport of tomorrow while creating economic benefits for Chicago’s communities.

For everyone planning to travel through the airports this spring, please remember these guidelines for a smooth travel experience:

  • Wear your mask – The TSA recently extended the national mask mandate that requires everyone over the age of two to cover their face in the airport and on airplanes through at least Monday, April 18.
  • Arrive early – With added security measures and resurgent travel demand, you may encounter longer lines at airline check-in, security screening, and concessions.
  • Prevent traffic congestion – Avoid the busy curb drop-off. Consider arriving at O'Hare on the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) Blue Line, or getting dropped off at the Kiss 'n' Fly area at the Multi-Modal Facility, now served by the Airport Transit System (ATS) to all terminals. Midway is accessible via the CTA Orange Line or the Kiss 'n' Fly area at West 59th Street and South Kilpatrick Avenue. For those picking up travelers, avoid circling or illegally parking on the shoulder by utilizing the cell phone lots available at each airport — 560 Bessie Coleman Drive at O'Hare and West 61st Street, and South Cicero Avenue at Midway — to wait for your arrivals to call you. 
  • Visit and the recently updated “My Flight” page – The website contains real-time information about flights, parking updates, taxicab wait times, available concession businesses, and other special alerts for the traveling public. “My Flight” shows flight updates along with amenities located near the flight gate and other targeted travel resources.

News Release Facts

I Want To