Traveling From ORD and MDW During the Holidays

In 2018, AAA predicted that over 4.5 million Americans would take to the skies to travel during Thanksgiving. With so many people planning to fly, some extra planning is needed to ensure a stress-free trip.

If you plan to fly from a Chicago airport during the holidays, there are many factors you pay attention to.

With all those people flying, things can all too easily go wrong. Here are a few things to keep in mind when traveling this Thanksgiving holiday.

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Expect Delays

The most important thing to keep in mind when traveling during the Thanksgiving holiday is to expect delays. Travel times skyrocket, as many families are on the roads to visit family or go out of town.

Expect to be in traffic when traveling to the airport, and plan accordingly to give yourself additional time.

Delays will be found at the airport in the check-in line and through security. With so many people flying in and out of Chicago, check-in lines may double or triple.

A general rule of thumb for domestic flights is to be at the airport at least 2 hours before your flight is scheduled for takeoff. During the Thanksgiving season, it may be beneficial to aim for 3 hours to make room for any mishaps that may occur.

Most importantly, remember to be patient and kind to the workers. The staff at the check-in counters most likely feel just as overwhelmed as you do.

How Do You Plan to get to Your Chicago Airport?

If you’re considering alternate ways of traveling to the airport, here are a few factors to ponder over:

●  How close do you live to the airport? Depending on where you live, public transportation may seem like a natural choice. However, if you don’t live near Downtown Chicago or off a stop on the CTA line, it may be more challenging to choose this method. Sometimes, driving yourself and using off-site MDW or ORD Airport parking is the best option. You’d be surprised how much you can save by using off-site ORD and MDW Airport parking!

●  What is the average cost of alternate transportation to MDW or ORD? While public transportation may be affordable, if this is not an option and you must take an Uber, it can quickly add up. Not to mention that surge pricing may be a factor due to the Thanksgiving holiday season. For this reason, driving yourself and using ORD long-term airport parking could be much cheaper.

●  Is public transportation reliable? At times, unexpected repairs or problems can come up with a metro or bus line, leaving you stuck waiting for a fix. When trying to catch a plane, the last thing you need is more delays.

●  When does your flight from Chicago leave and when does it land? If your flight takes off or arrives late at night, it may be more difficult to get an Uber. It’s also important to consider the safety factor if you will be traveling alone late at night.

●  Is it likely there will be bad weather? Chicago during the holiday seasons can be synonymous with bad weather. Be sure to check the forecast and see if any inclement weather is headed your way. This could cause delays or even canceled flights.

What is the General Travel Time to the Airport?

After you’ve agreed on how you will get to the airport, you must now calculate how long it will take. For example, if you’ve decided on the CTA line, you must think about how much time is needed to reach the airport.

Ask yourself:

●  Do I need to change trains?
●  How often do the trains run?
●  What will I do if there is a delay?

Considering these questions ahead of time and developing a plan of action will save you valuable time and money on the day of your flight.

As stated earlier, it’s in your best interest to be at the airport at least 2 hours before a domestic flight. If there are any delays or extended wait times when taking the CTA line, this may cause you to arrive late to the airport.

Certain airlines begin to close down check-in around 45 minutes before the departure time. It would be a shame to rush to the airport, only to find that you’ve missed the cut off time completely!

Prepare a Back-Up Plan

Flying from ORD or MDW airport can be especially tricky during the fall and winter seasons as the weather becomes increasingly bad. Heavy winds, snowstorms, or intense rain can result in substantial delays or even canceled flights.

Most travelers begin to panic when flights are delayed extensively or even grounded. If they’re flying out of Chicago to a connecting flight, they may worry about how they will reach their end destination.

If you fall into this category, be sure to prepare a back-up plan ahead of your travel date. Here are some questions to help you prepare:

●  What will I do in the event of a canceled flight? Most travelers are so excited for their end destination that they forget to think about what they will do if they need to fly out later. If you’re staying in a hotel near MDW, check to see what their policy is on changed dates.

●  What is my airline’s policy on canceled or delayed flights? Some airlines will provide flyers with hotel vouchers for a free night if their flight is canceled or delayed. They may also help to put you on another flight at the earliest convenience.

Flying From Chicago O’Hare Stress-Free

When taking a flight from the Chicago airport, it’s important to be prepared for anything. Make a plan of action to arrive early and leave time for any mishaps or accidents that may occur.

There may be extended wait times to check-in and for going through security, so be patient. If you plan to take public transit to the ORD airport, be sure to check if any transfers are needed and how long these will take.

Most importantly, have a back-up plan in mind as to what you will do if inclement weather grounds your flight.

All in all, once you’ve dotted your I’s and crossed your T’s, you’re ready to fly! Enjoy your holiday travels!

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