CHICAGO – O’Hare and Midway International Airports continue to be among the busiest in the country this summer as travelers take to the skies for the Fourth of July holiday travel. More than 2.1 million passengers are projected to travel through Chicago’s airports during the seven-day holiday travel period that begins Monday, July 2 and continues through Sunday, July 8. More than 1.6 million passengers are projected to travel through O’Hare during the week-long travel period and nearly 496,000 travelers are expected at Midway. The busiest day at both airports will be Sunday, July 8, with nearly 258,000 passengers at O’Hare and more than 76,500 passengers at Midway.
With indications that 2018 is expected to be one of the busiest summers for travel nationwide, Chicago’s record-breaking travel numbers will also continue with a one percent increase in total passengers over last summer’s Fourth of July travel period.
“The busy summer travel season is in full swing and we’re working closely with our airport partners to ensure a safe and efficient experience for millions of passengers at O’Hare and Midway this week,” said Ginger S. Evans, Commissioner, Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA). “With major modernization projects underway at both airports, we’re working hard to make traveling through the airports easy and enjoyable, with the full range of amenities and services available, and some extra holiday flair to join our passengers celebrating the Fourth.”
Both airports are decked out in red, white and blue for the holiday. Midway will offer free lemonade to passengers on July 3 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Firecracker frozen popsicles and lemonade to passengers on July 4 from 12 to 1 p.m. Travelers can also take patriotic "selfies" with Uncle Sam who will be walking tall on stilts throughout the food court and creating balloon sculptures.
Travelers are encouraged to arrive at the airport with sufficient time for screening, allowing two hours prior to flight departure for domestic travel and three hours for international travel. This provides time for parking and bus shuttle transportation, airline check-in, obtaining a boarding pass, and going through the security screening process, which includes screening of carry-on baggage.
Chicago continues to report some of the lowest security checkpoint wait times nationwide, even with record travel volume, thanks to an expanded partnership and additional resources secured by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). On average across O'Hare and Midway, with more than 95 percent of passengers waiting less than 15 minutes, even during peak travel periods, at the security checkpoint in 2018.
Getting to and around the Airports
O’Hare’s Airport Transit System (ATS or “people mover”), which provides transport between terminals and economy parking lots, will have adjusted hours during the Fourth of July holiday travel period. The ATS will temporarily return to a 24/7 schedule of operations between Monday, July 2 through Friday, July 6. To accommodate an influx of travelers during the week, the CDA’s shuttle bus operations will also continue full service during the holiday travel period. The ATS system, which has been closed Monday-Friday to allow for construction on the modernization and expansion of the system, will resume its normal schedule on Monday, July 9 at 5:30 a.m., with full shuttle service available to passengers during hours of train closure. Passengers are encouraged to visit the CDA’s website to view a map of locations served by the expanded busing operation.
At Midway, travelers are advised of extended lane closures on South Cicero Avenue that remain in effect, with multiple lanes remaining open at all times in either direction. Access to Midway’s terminal arrival and departure roadways and main terminal parking garage will be maintained at all times during construction. The lane reductions will be in place through early 2020 for the Midway Modernization Program security checkpoint/bridge expansion project. Travelers are advised that the pickup/drop-off areas for some ground transportation services have been moved temporarily and access to some elevators, escalators and doors on the north end of Midway’s terminal are closed to accommodate construction. Visit the Midway Modernization Program website, www.MDWMod.com, for more details about travel impacts and the overall modernization program.
Due to the anticipated increase in travelers using the parking lots during the holiday week, visitors are encouraged to check real-time parking lot availability at O’Hare and Midway on the CDA’s website before they arrive. Passengers may also reserve a parking space in advance inside the main terminal parking garages at both airports. For the latest information on parking, ground transportation, and all other airport travel needs, passengers and visitors are encouraged to visit the CDA’s website, www.flychicago.com.