Chicago Travel Guide
The United Terminal at Chicago O’Hare International Airport just got a little artsier.
“City Windows,” a permanent art installation has been unveiled near gate B19, It was created by Chinese artist Qiao Xiaoguang and it’s pretty awesome. So awesome, it might not make us so pissed off to fly United anymore.
The ancient art of Chinese paper cutting was used to create a panorama of iconic images from Chicago and Beijing. The images highlight landmarks like Navy Pier and the Willis Tower in Chicago, and Tiananmen Square and the Olympic Stadium in Beijing. The display symbolizes the deep friendship and cultural and business connections between Chicago and China, and can also be viewed from outside the airport when approaching the terminal.
Wish We Were There / Wish You Were Here / American Airlines Flagship. First Class Travel / ORD / → All Tags
Normally, our recurring travel snapshot series is called "Wish You Were Here" where we show off amazing travel destinations that we think you should go to. But today, we're reversing the roles and saying, "Wish We Were There".
That's because while flying out of Chicago O'Hare the other day, we noticed an exclusive zone amidst all the other lowly check-in desks-- The American Airlines Flagship Check-In . This writer had never seen an AA Flagship Check-in the wild but thanks to Jaunted's inside look at the AA Flagship lounge at JFK, I now know exactly all the luxury traveler shenanigans that are happening behind this walled-off entrance, such as: checking-in, changing seat assignments, and checking luggage. However, fancy pants Flagship travelers still have to go through TSA. Hah, suckers.
Think you can access the Flagship private check-in and the lounge once you're past security, check yourself. Do you meet the following requirements?
Virgin Hotels officially opened their doors to guests in Chicago yesterday and our sister site, HotelChatter, has the first look inside a Virgin guest room, excuse us, chamber for those visiting Chi-town. But if you were expecting to find a replica of a Virgin America airplane, complete with purple mood lighting and singing and dancing employees, you might be disappointed.
The historic building on Wabash has been done over into a very Virgin property, with lots of bright red touches everywhere, from the red tiles in the shower to the red SMEG mini fridge in the chambers, and the bright red coats worn by the lovely lady greeters at the entrance.
And even though the hotel is an American company, there are quite a few tributes to its British heritage--like the London Bridge depicted on the chamber rugs, the Birds and Blokes signs for the bathroom, the bright red telephone booth that serves as the hostess station at the not-yet-opened Miss Ricky's All-American Diner and the Union Jack on the dog bed at check-in. And for some reason, the chamber bed reminds us of Upper Class on Virgin Atlantic.
There's even a wall devoted to Sir Richard Branson in the 203 Coffee Bar (opening in a few weeks) and the history of his Virgin multimedia company, featuring photographs of Branson and his various companies, including Virgin Cola. (RIP.)
While the staff is incredibly happy and relaxed, no one has busted out a robot rap...yet. So if we're talking airlines here, Virgin Hotels feel more Virgin Atlantic than Virgin America but at the end of the day, Virgin Chicago actually wants to be a hub for locals.
Holiday Travel / Christmas Travel / Airports / Tech Travel / Travel Tech / ORD / Chicago Travel / Airport News / → All Tags
If your electronics and mobile doodads aren’t behaving this holiday season there’s a new way to get things repaired and fix while on the go. Best Buy is sending their Geek Squad unit into the airport, as the brave women and men will be stationed at Chicago-O’Hare for the next few weeks.
When your phone just isn’t keeping up its end of the bargain make your way over to Terminal 3 near the Concourse H food court. There you’ll find the Geek Squad, and that’s where they will be providing tech support for free through December 23.
Henry Cavill is proving he can do it all while filming Batman v Superman in Chicago.
On Friday, Henry filmed a scene in which he was suspended from a wire high above the streets of Chicago just hours after carrying his co-star Amy Adams, aka Lois Lane, to safety. And, he did it all while squeezed into that iconic Superman suit.
Airports / ORD / Airplanes / A380 / Airport Renovations / Airbus / → All Tags
ORD would be the last of the top 5 busiest U.S. airports to upgrade facilities for the double-decker airplane, and this is great news not only for travelers, but for a few airlines who have already pinned Chicago on their route map.
The massive airplane will head on over to Terminal 5, and the 34 airlines who call it home in Chicago have agreed to open up their wallets and cough up the $1 million for the preliminary designs for the airport upgrades. This comes after O'Hare's newest runway, (10C and 28C) along with nearby taxi route, was rated to accommodate the heavy aircraft.
Fall Travel / Chicago Travel / ORD / Architecture Travel / Food Travel / Festival Travel / Events / Winter Travel / Holiday Travel / → All Tags
During the summer Chicago is a paradise of outdoor festivals, concerts, and events, but that doesn't mean the fun must be restricted to warm days. Chicago works with its weather to promote a range of activities throughout the year, well into turtleneck and mitten weather.
Here's our round-up of the best Chicago events during the fall and winter:
Travel News / Airlines / Virgin America / Virgin Atlantic / Virgin Australia / Virgin / Virgin Hotels / Hotels / Chicago Travel / Frequent Flyer Miles / Airline Loyalty Programs / eleVAte / → All Tags
It feels like forever ago that the future existence of Virgin Hotels was teased. In reality it was only 2010, and finally there's a solid opening date. The first Virgin Hotel will open in Chicago in January 2015, and roomsexcuse us, "Chambers"just went on sale from $209 per night.
For everything we know about Virgin Hotels to this minute, you'll want to check out the HotelChatter story, because right now we're pretty distracted by the tasty news that hotel stays will work with flights towards your frequent flying totals. The NY Times tucked this tidbit into the very end of their story:
Train Travel / High-Speed Rail / Chicago Travel / St. Louis Travel / Trains / Siemens / Amtrak / Train Stations / → All Tags
Riding the rails out of Chicago will not only get easier, but a whole lot faster thanks to a plan to run a high-speed rail link between the Midwestern metropolis and the Gateway to the West, St. Louis. Just last week, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn allotted a whopping $102 million from the state's budget for improvement of the rail corridor between the two cities.
The plan for the sped-up Amtrak line will allow higher speed trains to travel up to 110 mph between St. Louis and Dwight (about 75 minutes from Chicago). The final leg to Chicago will also be ready to go fast in 2017.
Airport News / Airports / ORD / Chicago Travel / Green Travel / → All Tags
Some furry friends are now back doing their thing over at Chicago-O’Hare, as they do their best to keep the airport grounds in tip-top shape.
We’ve mentioned unique airport groundskeeping crews before, but the herd that tends to the land in and around O’Hare might just be one of the best. They’re back at work this year, as goats, sheep, llamas, and donkeys are all doing their thing. They’re hungry and there’s apparently plenty to eat, as they work to eliminate all kinds of vegetation—even poison ivy.
United / United Airlines / Airline News / Airlines / ORD / Checked Baggage / Luggage / Baggage / → All Tags
Practice your sticker skills before heading off to the airport, as one of the country’s largest carriers is going the DIY route when it comes to baggage tagging.
United Airlines just started offering self-service bag tagging over at Chicago-O’Hare in an effort to speed up the check-in process at the airport. The airline’s angle is that it provides more options for customers looking to do things for themselves, and it will free up agents to help out those flyers that have questions or need a little more assistance.
Live Music Travel / How To Get Tickets To / Riot Fest / Music Festivals / Chicago Travel / Events / → All Tags
Lollapalooza is now just a memory and summer is winding down, but that doesn't mean the Chicago music festival scene is over for 2014.
On Sept. 12-14 Riot Fest returns to Humboldt Park with a lineup that includes The Cure, Jane's Addiction, The National, Rise Against, Weezer, The Flaming Lips, Wu-Tang Clan, Samhain, Tegan and Sara, and dozens more.