View Full Version : O'Hare - do we have enough time?

25th Jul 2008, 11:54
On 25th October, my wife and I will be flying to Miami via O'Hare, with American. (:confused: - airmiles!)

The flights given us outbound are AA99 arriving ORD at 10:20hrs, then AA2050 leaving ORD at 12:05hrs.

Before we confirmed reservation, I checked with AA who said they wouldn't combine flights where the stopover time was too short. :ok:

Since this is our security/customs stop, there doesn't seem a great deal of time! Should we be concerned? :(

"Peace of mind" replies welcome!

Mark Lewis
25th Jul 2008, 12:16
Yes that connection time is fine. As you know you have to clear immigration, wait for your bags to come out, clear customs, drop your bag, get the transit train to the domestic terminal and reclear security.

Any one of these things could run smoothly and efficiently, or they could all be backed up and take an age to get through. You can never tell in advance.

However on a connection like this AA have full responsibility in getting you to Miami. If any of the above factors delay you and you miss your originally purchased connecting flight, they will merely put you onto the next one. AA have a very active and regular schedule between ORD and MIA so there is absolutely nothing to worry about if you do get held up. :)

25th Jul 2008, 20:31
Thanks Mark, we shall see!

26th Jul 2008, 10:20

I often fly AA to US cities from the UK via Chicago. Your schedule looks a little tight to me but I think Mark Lewis has it right - if your flight is booked with AA they should sort it out if you can't make the connection. A typical connection for me is two hours at ORD and I've not yet missed a flight, but that's no guarantee.

If you haven't gone via ORD before then I recommend trying to familiarise yourself with the inter-terminal transport beforehand. Once you've picked up your luggage and gone through immigration and customs you'll need to drop it off right afterwards. They've not screwed up my luggage so far so suspect you can do this with confidence.

Once you get beyond immigration and customs you suddenly find yourself in the USA. Head up the escalator in front of you and get on the train. You get off at terminal 3 and then go through security again. The whole process takes an hour typically, but it can hinge on if you're unlucky enough to arrive at the same time as five other international flights. I think you'll be OK though. Good luck.

28th Jul 2008, 12:13
Hokulea, mahalo nui loa! :)

We have never travelled through ORD before, so all snippets of info appreciated. Looking at terminal maps, interactive or otherwise, is never really a substitute for being there!


28th Jul 2008, 15:52
There is a very good chance that you will make the connection, but that your baggage will not. Having to re-check your baggage for the Miami flight means that it will effectively be checked in very late. So I would pack on the assumption that your bags will arrive 36 hours after you do.

Because I didn't.


29th Jul 2008, 11:38
Well thanks for that reassurance theothersimon! :rolleyes:

When we travelled through IAD same time last year, going out was OK, but coming back they managed to lose our bags for 36 hours. Flights were United(Ted) going on to BA. Neither side would admit it was their fault! :mad:

29th Jul 2008, 11:40
One thing that confuses at O'Hare is that Terminal 3 is for American flights (and Terminal 1 for United), but the only customs are in Terminal 5, so all incoming international passengers go through there. For AA/UA inbound passengers this can be unexpected. The inbound aircraft will either dock there and be tugged across to its relevant departure terminal later in the day, or you will be bussed over from the aircraft.

Although there are check-ins for all overseas airlines, there is no check-in (or departing flights) for AA/UA in T5, you need to go to the airline's normal terminal for all departures, so this transfer doesn't apply on your return journey.

If being met off an incoming AA/UA international flight there's a long tradition of greeters going to the wrong terminal. They're quite a way apart.

One facility the two main US airlines do maintain in T5 is a bag drop immediately beyond exiting from customs, where you can deposit your bags and thus be unencumbered going over to your departure terminal. When things work well (which is of course most of the time) this works very efficiently and they handle bags for short connections nicely, but if things go awry the opposite can be true.

The rubber-tyred train (no charge) between terminals is known as the Airport Transit System (ATS) which is a simple straight line which links the terminals (numbered 1-5) and the parking lots (lettered A-G). It has its own Wikipedia entry
Airport Transit System - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airport_Transit_System)

As in many US airports a certain familiarity seems assumed, along with inconsistent signing (which might refer to ATS one moment, Terminal Shuttle the next, etc).

29th Jul 2008, 12:46
My recollection of T5 (admittedly from 2001) is that as you exit customs/immigration with your bags there were (are?) check in desks for the major domestic carriers. You drop your bags there and then continue unencumbered to the AA Terminal.

30th Jul 2008, 08:49
Well thanks for that reassurance theothersimon! :rolleyes:

Sorry, but it's true. I've transited through O'Hare four times in the past few years, and all four times I made the connection, but my baggage didn't. The transit flights were all with United.

I've only terminated flights with American at O'Hare, and that seems to have worked so far.


6th Aug 2008, 11:45
Thanks for all your advice.:ok: Apologies for delay, but I can only get limited access at work these days. :{

7th Nov 2008, 07:17
Flight now completed. Problem resolved by flight into Chicago being delayed by hour due excessive headwinds! :*
Travelled on next flight out of Chicago.

Now about the two hour wait to pick up rental from Budget at Miami.............:mad:

7th Nov 2008, 08:19
Sounds like Budget at Miami were having a good day ! I've known longer.

Did they, as normal there, get hacked off with you at the counter if you can't speak Spanish ?

7th Nov 2008, 08:46
I've been through O'Hare and had no problems with connection, however we also had the third degree from the car hire people at Miami who were most upset that we wouldn't upgrade to a larger car. If we hadn't had booked the car hire as a package, I would have walked out after the abrupt service we received.

7th Nov 2008, 12:07
Blimey! This takes me back.

I arrived at Budget in Miami in the mid 80s to be told I was a day too early. I showed them all the documents which proved I'd got it right and they'd got it wrong and was upgraded to a Firebird for free!

I posed outrageously for two weeks. :ok: