News Release
News Release Facts


City Services

December 19, 2013

Four Million Passengers Expected at Chicago's Airports During Christmas / New Year's Holiday

CHICAGO – The Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) anticipates more than four million passengers will travel through Chicago’s airports for the holiday travel period beginning Friday, December 20, 2013 through Monday, January 6, 2014.

The busiest travel day at both airports is projected to be Friday, December 20, with 209,000 passengers at O’Hare and more than 66,000 passengers at Midway.

“On behalf of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, we offer a warm welcome to the millions of passengers who will travel through Chicago’s airports during the holiday season," said CDA Commissioner Rosemarie S. Andolino. “Together with our airport partners, we are ready to provide a safe, efficient and festive travel experience at O’Hare and Midway International Airports.” The CDA will continue to host live entertainment at both airports including choirs, carolers, blues and jazz musicians and a visit from Santa Claus through Tuesday, December 24. Performances will be held at O’Hare stages beyond the security checkpoints in Terminals 2 and 3, in the baggage claim area of Terminal 1 and in the Arrivals Level of International Terminal 5. Entertainment at Midway will take place in the Baggage Claim area.

In partnership with the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE), the CDA will host a “Holiday Delights Fashion Market” at both airports, where local fashion designers and independent retailers will offer unique gifts for sale to passengers including accessories, apparel and jewelry. The fashion market will be held at Midway on December 19 from noon to 5 p.m. and at O’Hare on December 20 from noon to 5 p.m.

The CDA will offer its annual complimentary gift-wrapping services in the terminals past security at both airports on December 18, 19, 20, 23 and 24, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Midway and from noon to 5 p.m. at O’Hare. This service accommodates passengers traveling with gifts, who are advised to not bring wrapped gifts through security checkpoints because they may need to be unwrapped for inspection by security officers.

Midway’s Airport Ambassadors will be at the airport throughout the holiday period and will offer complimentary hot cocoa to travelers on December 23 and January 2, 2013.

Due to the routine holiday closure of the Great Lakes Naval base, the United Service Organization (USO) at both airports will have enhanced programs to accommodate the naval recruits from December 20 through 22. At O’Hare, the USO will set up tables in the terminals which will provide military personnel with refreshments on December 20 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and on December 21from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The USO will also be making pancakes on December 20 and December 21 from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. in Terminals 2 and 3. At Midway, the USO will continuously serve meals, provide rest areas as well as entertainment for the recruits. In addition, the USO at Midway is providing “goodie” bags to all visitors to its USO center in Concourse C on December 24 and 31.

Families looking for a kid-friendly place to relax at O’Hare can visit the “Kids on the Fly” play area in Terminal 2. A Yoga Room is now open at O’Hare Terminal 3 Rotunda, Mezzanine Level, above the entrance to G Concourse.

The CDA’s free cell phone waiting lots at O’Hare and Midway are available and allow motorists to temporarily park until friends, family members or business associates have deplaned, collected baggage and are ready to be picked up curbside. The O’Hare cell phone waiting lot is located at Economy Parking Lot F at Mannheim and Zemke roads. The Midway cell phone waiting lot is located at 61st Street and Cicero Avenue, just south of the main airport entrance.

For more information on airport parking, ground transportation, maps, and passenger services and amenities for O’Hare and Midway International Airports, please visit

Here are some reminders to help plan your trip:

  • Check with your airline’s Web site for the status of your flight before you go to the airports, whether you’re flying or picking up friends and loved ones.
  • Allow for plenty of travel time to get to the airports, for parking, ticketing and going through security screening.
  • Consider getting a flu shot at the University of Illinois – Chicago Medical Clinic at O’Hare.
  • If you’re waiting for a flight to arrive, you can park in the free cell phone lots until your traveler gives you a call. The lots are just minutes away from the terminals.