May 24, 2018

Busy Summer Travel Season Starts with More Than 1.7 Million Passengers Expected at Chicago's Airports

O’Hare and Midway prepared for record travel over six-day period; busiest travel day expected to be Friday

CHICAGO – The summer travel season officially starts today, and the Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) anticipates more than 1.7 million passengers will travel through O’Hare and Midway International Airports over the extended Memorial Day weekend. Based on projections for Thursday, May 24 through Tuesday, May 29, 2018, Chicago expects to again see record travel volumes and a 2.3 percent increase over last year's Memorial Day weekend.

Passenger volume at O’Hare will exceed 1.3 million during the six-day Memorial Day travel period, representing a three percent increase in passengers compared to last year. The busiest travel day at both airports during Memorial Day weekend is projected to be Friday, May 25 with nearly 274,000 travelers at O’Hare and nearly 75,000 passengers at Midway.

“Chicago is prepared to welcome a record number of travelers this summer, thanks to our airline partners who continue to expand service to new international destinations and more cities across the U.S.,” said Ginger S. Evans, Commissioner, CDA. “With our leading connectivity, Chicago will be a top destination for travel this summer and we are well prepared to provide a safe and efficient experience for millions of passengers.”

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, more than 95 percent of passengers have waited less than 15 minutes at the security checkpoint in 2018.

Both airports are decked out in red, white and blue for the Memorial Day holiday as well as for the celebration of Military Appreciation Month. To salute service members, the CDA and United Service Organization (USO) of Illinois have partnered to offer a variety of ways for travelers to donate items and express their gratitude to active and former military personnel during the month of May. Restaurants and shops at both airports are offering discounts of up to 20 percent for traveling military personnel.

At Midway, the CDA will display a wreath at the Battle of Midway exhibit.  U.S. Flags will also be displayed throughout the terminal, on the roadways and parking lots. Midway will also offer complimentary lemonade to passengers on Friday, May 25 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Travel Tips

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 shuttle transportation, airline check-in, obtaining a boarding pass, and going through the security screening process, which includes screening of carry-on baggage. Passengers and visitors are also encouraged to visit the CDA’s website for both O’Hare and Midway,, for the latest information on ground transportation, parking, concessions, amenities and services.

O’Hare travelers are reminded that the Airport Transit System (ATS or “people mover”) is shutdown nightly between 10 p.m. and 8 a.m. Monday through Friday. Effective May 30, 2018 through the winter season, the ATS will be closed 24 hours per day, Monday through Friday. To maintain efficient and reliable ground transportation services for passengers and airport employees, the CDA has implemented an expanded shuttle bus service that operates between Terminals 1, 2, 3 and 5 and economy parking lots when the ATS is closed. Passengers are encouraged to visit to find a map of locations served by the expanded busing operation.

At Midway, extended lane closures on South Cicero Avenue remain in effect. One lane of traffic is closed in each direction on South. Cicero Avenue next to Midway in between West 56th Street and West 61st Street. The closures reduce Cicero Avenue from six lanes to four lanes for about a 1/4 of a mile with access for local traffic maintained with two lanes open in both directions. The lane reductions will be in place through early 2020 for the Midway Modernization Program security checkpoint/bridge expansion project. Access to Midway’s terminal arrival and departure roadways and main terminal parking garage will be maintained at all times during construction.

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