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Wow, Chicago's O'Hare Airport is a Total Mess Right Now

Where: Chicago O'Hare Airport [map], Chicago, IL, United States
December 13, 2010 at 1:14 PM | by | ()

Regarding the monumental clusterfark going on in the Midwest, the Associated Press just posted a story optimistically headlined "Illinois recovers from windy winter storm." Yeah listen. We were in O'Hare last night, and we saw what the board looked like, and we read about the thousands of canceled flights...and we're not so sure about that.

We were in ORD as part of an itinerary that began in London and concluded at DCA-Reagan National. Why would we go through Chicago, which isn't between those two cities, to get between those two cities? Because that's how American Airlines wanted it. What they didn't mention at booking time was that they'd be canceling our Chicago to DC flight six or seven hours before takeoff, which means that the physical plane failed to get off the ground from wherever it was originally coming from. "Cascading failure," is what the engineers call it.

What followed would have been funny if it wasn't happening to us. American found us a seat on a United flight, and then that United flight was suspended pending them finding a plane, and then that United flight was un-suspended, and then the plane was late arriving, and then the plane was late leaving. And throughout all of that we felt extremely lucky, because the alternatives were much worse. In the best case scenario, DC-bound passengers on United flights wouldn't be getting out of Chicago until 11am today. If they were booked on American, the earliest they'd be getting out is 6:30pm. That's if they had seats.

Passengers without confirmed seats, on the other hand, could realistically be stuck in Chicago through Tuesday.

At least winter's almost over, and we're past the holiday season. Oh wait...

[Photo: Omri Ceren / Jaunted]

Related Stories:
· Illinois recovers from windy winter storm [AP]
· Travel News [Jaunted]
· Winter Travel [Jaunted]

Archived Comments:


I hate this airport. I have traveled the world and this is honest to God, my LEASE favorite airport. I avoid traveling through here at all costs. But, I'm stuck going through there on my way to Copenhagen in 16 days. They better get this mess cleaned up. I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who despises O'Hare.


I hate o'hare too! flying vegas to NYC this week and i purposefully chose a red eye (which i hate more than anything) rather than connect through o'hare. i;ve never not been delayed there.