Chicago Department of Aviation expects more than 2 million passengers this Thanksgiving holiday travel week

CHICAGO, IL, 2018-Nov-21 — /Travel PR News/ — The Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) today (11/19/2018) announced that O’Hare and Midway International Airports are expected to be among the busiest airports in the nation for Thanksgiving holiday travel this year, with more than 2 million passengers expected over the next seven days.

Passenger volume is projected to increase at both O’Hare and Midway compared to last year’s Thanksgiving holiday by 5.4 percent based on ticket information available through Chicago’s airline partners.

“The City of Chicago and our airport partners are well prepared to provide a safe and efficient experience for millions of travelers choosing O’Hare and Midway this holiday season,” said Jamie L. Rhee, CDA Commissioner. “We are proud that Chicago continues to be a top choice hub for air travel this year. We look forward to bringing our passengers not only better travel options, but better service, as Chicago’s airports continue to grow and modernize in the years ahead.”

The travel industry is predicting 2018 to be one of the busiest Thanksgiving travel periods in over a decade, according to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Nearly 1.5 million passengers are expected to travel through O’Hare beginning Tuesday, November 20 through Monday,

November 26. More than 540,000 passengers will travel through Midway during the seven-day Thanksgiving holiday travel period. Sunday, November 25, is again projected to be the busiest travel day at both airports with about 260,000 passengers at O’Hare and over 90,000 at Midway.

“TSA’s top priority is to ensure the safety and security of the more than 25 million people traveling through our checkpoints nationwide this Thanksgiving travel period,” said Steve Lorincz, TSA Regional Director. “Working with our partners in Chicago and across the country, we’re prepared to activate all of our resources–including use of canines and overtime hours–to offer the most effective and efficient screening possible.”

This year’s projected increase in passenger volumes over the holiday travel period is consistent with the steady year over year growth trends seen for O’Hare and Midway, thanks to continued investments O’Hare and Midway airline partners to expand service to Chicago travelers.  In 2018, O’Hare and Midway have already seen 3.5 percent more passengers over this same time period last year.

Both airports are decked out for the holidays, with holiday trees at O’Hare that have been decorated by some of Chicago’s prominent cultural institutions such as Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Field Museum and Copernicus Center.

On Tuesday, November 20 and Wednesday, November 21, the CDA will host live musical entertainment at O’Hare, and will host live music at Midway on Wednesday. The CDA will also provide complimentary hot cocoa to Midway passengers on November 21, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Concessionaires are sponsoring “Black Friday Weekend” at both O’Hare and Midway with special discounts at restaurants and shops throughout the airports Friday, November 23 through Sunday November 26. The CDA encourages travelers to visit new and old favorite concessions offerings at O’Hare and Midway—including the new Concourse A Food Hall at Midway; as well as the multitude of Chicago-centric and award-winning favorites offered at O’Hare, including some new to the airport this year. Visit for a map of all dining and retail choices at both airports.

CDA joins the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in encouraging passengers to arrive at the airport two hours in advance of domestic flights and three hours in advance of international flights to ensure adequate time for ticketing, baggage check, security screening and travel to the airline gate. With both airports continuing to report some of the shortest TSA checkpoint wait times in the country, travel through Chicago’s airports this holiday season is expected to be smooth and efficient for passengers.

Travelers can find a wide range of transportation options available to and from the airports, including: public transportation, curbside shuttle services, limousines, taxicab and rideshare services. Train service on the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) via the Orange and Blue Lines provides passengers an affordable, efficient route between downtown and the airports, with service offered 24/7.

Both airports feature ample public parking capacity to serve passengers traveling this year. Midway will feature LED signs directing passengers to access available parking off of Cicero, and will also provide shuttle service to move passengers quickly and efficiently to the terminal. The recently opened O’Hare Multi Modal Facility (MMF) expands public parking options at the airport, and provides easier access to car rental in a new one-stop-shop facility for O’Hare’s rental car providers.

The O’Hare Airport Transit System (ATS) will operate 24 hours a day during the Thanksgiving travel week to accommodate peak Thanksgiving travel. Overnight closures of the ATS, necessary for the ATS modernization and expansion project, will resume next week, Tuesday November 27.

O’Hare’s Travelers Aid office will also feature special holiday office hours to assist passengers during the holiday rush.

Travelers bound for Chicago’s airports this holiday season can make the most informed decisions about how to access any of the above airport services by visiting CDA’s website at The website also contains real-time information on flights, regular updates on traffic and weather, real-time taxicab wait times, and other special alerts for the traveling public.

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Source: Chicago Department of Aviation