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O'Hare International Airport

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Delayed at O'Hare International Airport?

Key Facts and Figures

Initially, O'Hare International Airport was built to alleviate the increasing numbers of passenger traffic flying in and out of Chicago Midway airport. Yet, it only took 7 years after opening to become one of the busiest airports in the world, serving more than 10 million passengers per year. Today, the total number of annual passengers is well over the 66 million mark. Yearly passenger traffic in combination with over 883,000 aircraft operations makes O’Hare International the 5th busiest airport in the world in 2013 according to the Airports Council International statistics.

There are four terminals in use at O'Hare International, with a total of 189 boarding gates handling approximately 1,260 flights in a given day. Over fifty carriers fly in and out of the airport, connecting Chicago with 198 destinations worldwide. The busiest international destinations in 2013 included London (LHR), Toronto (YYZ), Frankfurt (FRA), Tokyo (NRT) and Hong Kong (HKG). The most in-demand domestic destinations are New York (LGA), Los Angeles (LAX), San Francisco (SFO), Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) and Boston (BOS). The main airlines serving O'Hare airport include , Air France, American Airlines, British Airways, KLM, SAS Scandinavian Airlines, Swiss, and United Airlines.

Located 17 miles away from the Chicago Business District, there are shuttles, city buses, trains, and limousine taxis offering transportation for passengers. Trains run 24/7 and take anything between 30 and 50 minutes to reach the airport or the city centre. Long distance buses to nearby states are also available. Considered a major employment hub of the Chicago area, O’Hare International provides over 450,000 jobs to local residents, whether directly or indirectly. Approximately 40,000 people work at the airport itself as badged employees. On an average year, the revenues generated by flight operations and related economic activity are well in excess of $35 billion. Approximately 30 per cent of this amount comes from sources like vehicle rental or car parking fees. For more information about O’Hare International, consider checking out the website for interesting facts & figures, air traffic data or tourism information.

The Airport History

O'Hare International Airport is the main gateway to Chicago for passengers arriving by plane. The airport was built in 1943, and originally was a manufacturing base for aerospace firm Douglas Aircrafts. The airport's original name was Orchard Field, and this name is reflected in the airport's current IATA code, ORD.
Once World War II was over, the airport was expanded to accommodate commercial and passenger flights. The new facilities were inaugurated in 1949 under the name O'Hare International, in memory of war hero Edward O'Hare. Corporate and passenger flights began regular operations in 1955.

Delays and Cancellations - Airlines owe you a Compensation

Due to its sheer size and the large number of operations it handles, O'Hare airport is notorious for its regular flight cancellations and delays. Extreme winter weather also contributes to flight disruptions, especially during December, January, and February. Snow and ice are the most common causes for delays and cancellations during these months, and it is not uncommon for flights to be late for 2 to 3 hours. In addition to weather-related problems, other common reasons for flight delays include long security clearing times, late aircraft arrivals, and issues arising from the National Aviation System.

In an average year, only 66 per cent of all flights into O'Hare International arrive on time. The airport is a top contender for the title of “most delayed airport in the nation” next to Newark and Dallas/Fort Worth. The busiest time of the day to fly in or out of O'Hare is between 6am and 6pm. A large number of delays and cancellations occur between noon and 3pm. The airlines experiencing the highest number of cancellations are US Airways and United Airlines.

According to EU law, passengers flying from or to an EU country who experience a delay of at least 3 hours need to be compensated for their troubles, if the delay was due to a fault of the airline. If you have been one of the thousands of passengers to experience either a flight delay, cancellation or overbooking at O’Hare International Airport, click the button below to check how much you may be able to claim. Our free compensation calculator will only take 2 minutes of your time!

What rights do I have?

Under EU law, you can get up to 480£ compensation in the event of a delay, cancellation or overbooking of your flight.
This is true regardless of the ticket price and up to 6 years retrospectively.


What to do when delayed?

  • gather information
  • Take photos
  • You are entitled to vouchers
  • Keep documents from the airline, such as letters, tickets, vouchers
250 €
< 1,500km
3H Delay
400 €
1,500km - 3,500km
3H Delay
600 €
> 3,500km
3H Delay
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