Chicago’s Airports Poised to Welcome 1.75 Million Passengers Over Long Independence Day Weekend

July 2, 2024

O’Hare, Midway International Airports Provide Tips for Chicagoans on the Move Over Independence Day, NASCAR Street Race Weekend

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Summer travel is here at O’Hare and Midway International Airports, and both world-class hubs are prepared to welcome more than 1.75 million passengers between Wednesday, July 3 and Monday, July 8, based on airline projections.

“I am thrilled to welcome everyone to our incredible city this summer. Whether you are a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler, summertime in Chicago is second to none,” said Mayor Brandon Johnson. "We look forward to showing just how special our city is – from our 77 communities to our world class museums, food, festivals and everything in between. There is something for everyone in Chicago, and we invite visitors to partake in all the joy and culture we have to offer as the greatest freaking city in the world.”

O’Hare is expected to welcome approximately 1.43 million passengers, while Midway will welcome nearly 320,000 individuals. Compared to 2023, Chicago’s airports will see a 10.4% increase in passengers. O’Hare will see a large increase of 12.3%, while Midway will see an increase of approximately 3%. Wednesday, July 3 is expected to be the busiest day at both airports.

“As one of the nation’s busiest airport systems, O’Hare and Midway International Airports are ready to welcome the many passengers coming to our City for the Fourth of July weekend,” said Jamie L. Rhee, Commissioner, Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA). “The great employees at both airports, along with everyone at the CDA, will work tirelessly to ensure a safe, efficient and enjoyable holiday travel experience for our passengers.” 

Travelers who are making their way to and through Chicago’s airports are reminded of the following tips:


Prevent Traffic Congestion

Traffic back-ups at Chicago's airports are possible over holiday weekends, and motorists on their way to each airport are asked to be mindful of the following tips to minimize congestion:       

  • Consider taking public transit to avoid curbside crowds. The CTA Blue Line provides 24/7 service to O'Hare, and the CTA Orange Line serves Midway between 4 a.m. and 1 a.m. Additionally, Metra's North Central Service offers weekday service from downtown Chicago's Union Station to the O'Hare transfer station next to the Multi-Modal Facility (MMF), with access to the Airport Transit System (ATS).
  • Kiss n' Fly drop-offs are provided at both airports. At Midway, drivers can drop off passengers at West 59th Street and South Kilpatrick Avenue, which is just a short walk into the terminals. At O'Hare, passengers can be dropped off at the Multi-Modal Facility, 10255 W. Zemke Blvd., and board the ATS for a short ride to Terminals 1, 2, 3 and 5.
  • Cell Phone Lots are completely free and available at both airports for locals picking up arriving passengers. Simply wait in these convenient parking lots until arriving passengers call to say they are ready for pickup. The O'Hare Cell Phone Lot is at 560 N. Bessie Coleman Drive, and the Midway Cell Phone Lot is located on the southeast corner of West 61st Street and South Cicero Avenue.


Terminal Upgrades Underway

Passengers traveling through Terminal 3 may notice the early stages of construction for the ElevateT3 development, a $300 million investment in the airport's aging terminal facilities to upgrade customer amenities, improve security screening and expand access for customers with disabilities. The project will also reconfigure Terminal 3 baggage claim and make other upgrades to the terminal's baggage facilities. No significant impacts to passenger operations are expected at Terminal 3 over the Fourth of July holiday weekend.

At Terminal 5, construction crews have topped out on the Terminal 5 parking garage. The new garage is being built on top of the current surface parking lot, which severely limits available parking at Lot D. O'Hare visitors picking up friends or family arriving in Terminal 5 during the ongoing construction are encouraged to wait in the free Cell Phone Lot at 560 N. Bessie Coleman Drive. When the new garage opens in October, it will more than double the amount of available parking at the terminal, and expand capacity to offer a mix of short- and long-term parking options, like those available at the airport's main terminals.

Meanwhile, west of Terminals 1 and 2, construction crews have begun site preparation work for Satellite Concourse 1, the first major component of the O’Hare 21 Terminal Area Plan. Mayor Johnson unveiled the first architectural renderings of this development with the CDA and airline, design and construction partners last month. Airfield construction underway for this development will have no effect on existing terminal facilities.


Check Parking Updates Before You Leave

Economy lots at O'Hare often reach capacity during peak travel weekends. Passengers planning to park at O'Hare are encouraged to check the status of available parking before leaving for O'Hare at

Reserved parking is also available on a limited basis for certain O'Hare lots, visit for more information. Parking lot status, pricing and advance reservations for Midway's lots and garages can also be found at


Arrive Early

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) may experience longer than usual wait times at security checkpoints given the influx of travelers. Real-time updates for O'Hare TSA checkpoints are available at 

At O'Hare, CLEAR Lanes and enrollment options are available in Terminal 5 for PreCheck-eligible travelers and standard security. CLEAR Lanes are also available at O'Hare Terminals 1 and 2, and at Midway.

To expedite the screening process, travelers should consult TSA guidelines to ensure there are no prohibited items in their carry-on or checked baggage, and that all foods are packed in accordance with the TSA's rules regarding liquids.


Mobile Passport Control

CBP offers a Mobile Passport Control (MPC) smartphone app to help streamline the international arrival process for U.S. passport holders at O’Hare. MPC allows eligible travelers to submit travel documents, a photo of themselves and customs declaration information from their own phones to reduce passport inspection time and overall wait times when entering the U.S.

Eligibility for MPC currently applies to U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, Canadian B1 and B2 visa holders and returning Visa Waiver Program applicants. More information on the program is available on CBP’s website.


Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Program

In commemoration of Global Accessibility Awareness Day on May 16, the CDA announced its partnership with the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower program.

The program raises awareness of hidden disabilities and creates more accessible and inclusive spaces through the use of a sunflower symbol. More than 1 billion people globally experience some form of disability and not all of those conditions are visible. With nearly 100 million passengers traveling through Chicago’s airports each year, this new initiative allows the City of Chicago to increase accessibility for all travelers at its airports.

Passengers can find lanyards at information booths at both airports.


New Patriotic Activity Book

Young travelers will be entertained during the Fourth of July weekend, thanks to the CDA’s new “Welcome to Chicago” patriotic coloring and activity books available at information desks at O’Hare and Midway, and online at The nine-page, illustrated books feature greetings to readers from Mayor Johnson and First Lady Stacie Johnson, as well as drawings and puzzles that provide readers with information about U.S. history, the City of Chicago, Chicago’s airports and several Chicago neighborhoods.   


Star-Spangled Entertainment for Ticketed Passengers

The #ChiontheFly summer entertainment series continues over the long holiday weekend at both O’Hare and Midway airports. Uncle Sam himself will pose for selfies and patriotic salutes from 9 a.m. to noon on Wednesday, July 3 throughout the core terminals at O’Hare. He will also be stationed at Midway’s Battle of Midway Exhibit near Concourse A from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday, July 5.


Patriotic Décor

O’Hare and Midway will be decked out in the stars and stripes for the summer. The decorations can be seen throughout the terminals and passenger check-in areas, as well as on roadways and welcome signage. Red, white and blue lighting, 15-foot flags, patriotic bunting and decorative spheres are among the featured displays, which will remain in place through Labor Day weekend.


New Concessions

There are a variety of new options for dining and shopping on the go at O’Hare and Midway. At Midway, local favorite R.J. Grunts is open near Gate B16. Recent openings at O’Hare include ; Publican Quality Bread in Terminal 5 near Gate M5; Metropolis Coffee, BLDV & Branch and Six Points Market in Terminal 5 near Gate M30; and InMotion in Terminal 5 near Gate M29.

The ORDer mobile ordering platform is also offering a promotion for travelers around the holiday weekend. Travelers can use the code ORD4th at to save 25% on their mobile concessions orders at O’Hare from July 2-7.


New Passenger Amenities

Several new amenities are available to enhance the travel experience for visitors at Chicago’s airports over the holiday period.

At Midway, the Kids Play Area is open in Concourse A near Gate A5, with carpeted flooring and comfortable cushioned seating for parents. New seating areas are also available in Concourse A and the newly renovated Central Market at the intersection of Concourses A and B.

At O’Hare, three new Service Animal Relief Areas (SARAs) have been added, one in Terminal 3 near Gate L26 and two in Terminal 5’s Lower Level Baggage Claim Area. A new Mother’s Room has also been added to Terminal 3 near Gate L26.


General Information

Travelers bound for Chicago's airports can make the most informed decisions about how to access any of the above airport services by visiting The website contains real-time information about flights, parking updates, taxicab wait times, available concession businesses, and other special alerts for the traveling public. The update “My Flight" search page shows specific flight updates, along with amenities located near the flight gate and other targeted travel resources.



About the Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA):

The Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) owns and operates one of the world's busiest airport systems, comprised of O'Hare and Midway International Airports. Chicago's airports offer service to more than 250 nonstop destinations worldwide, including 47 foreign countries, combined. Together, Chicago's airports serve more than 105 million passengers each year and generate approximately $70 billion in annual economic activity for the region. The CDA is self-supporting, using no local or state tax dollars for operations or capital improvements at either airport. For more information, visit