Oh Crap, I’m Connecting Through O’Hare

I have never once managed to make a connecting flight at O’Hare on Memorial Day. Never. We’ll see what happens this year. See you all on the other side.

Update, 11:51am: What? My flight out of Phoenix has been delayed due to weather in Chicago? That’s unpossible!

Update, 4:39pm: Hey, guess what? My flight to Dayton was canceled and the earliest I’ll get there is tomorrow!

Update, 10:46pm: Rented a car and drove home. And here I am. Go me.

55 thoughts on “Oh Crap, I’m Connecting Through O’Hare

  1. May you be misrouted to Maui. May your lovely family also, through a series of wacky, harmless accidents and misunderstandings, wind up in the same place.

  2. You DO realize, that on Memorial Day, the TSA Clowns have extra permits to mess with you, and for the **full range** of mess with you. I’d load up on the antibiotics and painkillers NOW. . .

  3. Its not bad if you don’t have to change terminals (like connecting from United in terminal 1 to USAir in T5 for example). If you stay in T1-T2 you should be ok.

  4. Welcome to the club.

    O’Hare has been my least-favorite airport for more than 40 years – and missed connections is only the start of my litany of reasons why I avoid that place if at all possible.

    I haven’t checked, but I was under the impression that there are direct Phoenix-Cincinnati flights. If so, I would have opted to take one of those and drive between Cincinnati and Bedford, regardless of how bad or good the flight times might be. IMO, any flight that avoids O’Hare will be a superior experience, even if it sucks on an absolute scale.

  5. Well, when they booked my flight, I was going to Dallas on the way back. When I got here, I was going to Chicago. I should have complained. Stupid me.

  6. One of the reasons I am a regular on Southwest is that it doesn’t go through O’Hare. Dreadful airport, unless you are really, really big fan of slidewalks and that Puffy Combs video.

  7. #11 Pathetic Earthling – Yeah, I completely agree. Phoenix happens to be a pretty major connector for Suothwest, too, so you can get to alot of places from Phoenix nonstop.

    Argh! Must. Leave. Internet. I want to win my $.10 per minute rather than giving my $.02 per comment.

  8. OK, I have to ask: how many times have you attempted to make a connecting flight at O’Hare on Memorial Day? Really, just how big is your sample size?

  9. From a fellow Ohioan: Alas, there is a major storm system plodding through our lovely state today. I am quite annoyed, as I work through the weekend and it’s going to be raining on today, my paid vacation day.

  10. The only time I went through O’Hare was on a trip from London to New Orleans. It was July and hot as Hades. So of course the air conditioning in the terminal was broken. There were a few of us on the same flight going to the same convention. We went to a local bar to kill the time and it was actually too hot to drink beer. Compared to that the airplane felt great!

  11. My friend whose work is in part funded by the FAA was just mentioning that the FAA officials she knows always avoid connecting through ORD or JFK, sometimes to the point of disembarking at JFK and driving to Boston instead. I think that says something.

    There are so many nicer airports around that part of the country — DTW and MSP are the ones I frequent.

  12. I believe some big-wig is leaving town today from O’Hare as well. Good luck with that.

  13. John: I hate to bring this up but – if you had a unicorn pegasus kitty this wouldn’t have happened. :)

  14. Travelling to and from the Midwest is never easy. I have the same issues with flying from Cincinnati. The only times I seem to avoid problems is direct flights to LAX. Even then, my last trip was screwed up due to the plane not being fly worthy. I feel your pain. Probably not as frequent, but I still feel it.

  15. Oh come on, O’Hare has that totally awesome Jangling Neon Tunnel of Doom… used to be my favorite part of the experience. I particularly loved the recorded “walkway is ending” messages, as I’m sure they were added later after many distracted pedestrians face-planted while watching the pretty sparklies.

    That said, my worst air travel stories come from connecting via San Francisco, perennially fogbound and inaccessible. One time, after circling the dang bay a gajillion-and-a-half times, we finally landed. In Oakland. To refuel. And then took off into the holding pattern again.

    I kid you not.

  16. There are two airports I automatically consider to be bad planning when they appear on my itinerary: O’Hare and Atlanta.

    In fact, I’ve been tormented twice at Atlanta.

    Newark is supposedly the same, but Newark was always a destination, not a connection.

    Best is Logan in Boston. When Jet Blue says you have a 45 minute layover there, you have a 45 minute layover. God bless ‘em, and when will they come back to CVG? It’s not a Delta hub anymore.

  17. Have a red hot. you can get decent Chicago “red hots” (that’s hot dogs with a lot of stuff on them in the earthling tongue) at dozens of locations in the airport. They are good. They are worth a little heartburn.

  18. The few times I have been through Atlanta, there was no problem. O’Hare, however, seems to be problem central. I have had air crews and reservation agents warn me about two things.
    1) Never go through O’Hare unless you are going to or from Chicago.
    2) Never trust a flight that originates in Newark to be anywhere near on time.

  19. John, I’m so sorry. O’Hare is the worst airport for changes in all of America. I’ve actually had a flight jump to a different terminal 20 minutes before it was scheduled to leave there!

  20. In the parlance of our times: word.

    My wife and kid were out of town this weekend. I drove from sterling VA to Baltimore in memorial day traffic to get them from the airport.

  21. Best airport I ever landed in was Chicago O’Hare. Of course it was August 1974 the day Nixon resigned and Ford took the oath of office. We flew from London direct to O’Hare and flew straight in and down to the runway, not even circling once waiting our turn.

    They parked us as far away from the terminals as the plane could get, had us slide down the emergency slides and bussed us back to the terminal pronto.

    You see, on that day the Irish Republican Army had called in about eight bomb threats on international flights. Ours was one of them. But, oh what service. They got our luggage off that plane screened them for bombs and then gave them directly to us to make our way through customs. We only were on the ground in the terminal waiting about 45 minutes for that process to start and be finished. Yep, great service at O’Hare, if your plane had a bomb threat called in on it while over the Atlantic Ocean. Not flown through O’Hare since as Southwest goes through Midway.

  22. But…. But…. But God came to me last night and told me your purpose for being here. I was going to help you write a new book.

  23. Argh!

    John asked that we book his flights to avoid O’Hare and both directions that were booked took him through DFW. When we picked him up on Thursday in Phoenix, he said he’d had a great flight with no problems and that he usually had bad travel kharma. It definitely caught up with him today. From what I could see, AA canceled the flight to Dallas, and then booked John on a flight through O’Hare. That flight got delayed due to the weather, which would have made him miss his connecting flight to Dayton, anyway. However, they canceled the connecting flight anyway. Some days you just can’t win….

  24. Is it just me? or did The military driver in SGU this week hold up a trade paperback edition of Old Mans War?

  25. Dear God, man, fly Southwest next time! They go in and out of Midway, which is a much better, smaller airport, and they have flights to Columbus.

  26. The TSA is a conspiracy created by railroad interests to kill commercial air flight. The U.S. used to have one of the best passenger rail systems in the world and I would mind if they succeed.

  27. Funny how this comment string is going and I’m probably upsetting my travel karma by saying this but…

    I’ve never had a bad connection, arrival, departure or any problem whatsoever at O’hare. Atlanta, yes OMG yes. Denver, a couple of times, weather related, including getting out just ahead of the last big March blizzard.(two times through the de-icing pad after they blew off a windsheild wiper on the first pass) LAX, man I could rant for 20 minutes on travel weirdness at LAX but never O’hare.

    I fly out of SeaTac, so maybe the travel gods figure I’ve already paid my dues and give me a pass when going to Chicago.

    Glad you’re home safe and sound John.

  28. The savvy Chicagoan (like me) tries to fly through Midway. Although Midway obviously has the same weather as O’Hare, because of Midway’s runway configuration, there are two states – “open” or “closed.” O’Hare, with its multiple runways, has various states, from “all runways open” (which equals no delays) to one runway open which means “delayed to next Tuesday.”

  29. I long ago made the decision that I would happily drive a couple of hundred miles to another airport and pay the airport parking fees if it would let me book a direct flight and avoid connecting through anywhere.

  30. When I was deciding between law schools, I decided not to go to Nortwestern because it meant if I wanted to go anywhere, I would have to fly out of O’Hare.

  31. I also will not fly in or out of O’Hare, due to an extremely bad experience at Christmas when I was 5 years old and had a very bad ear infection. In fact, when we fly to Madison, Wisconsin to visit my huband’s family, we fly in and out of Indiannapolis’s airport, drive to Midway, and then fly to Madison. Reservations people are not happy, but tough, I’m the one flying, not them.

  32. longest time in ohare: 3 days.
    i was on the way to russia with my choir and we were delayed in phoenix and missed our flight. 4o students stuck in chicago. i was one of the last ones out.

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