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If your travels have brought you through Chicago O'Hare's International Terminal, then you may have noticed that it's hardly the nicest place to spend some pre-flight time. Alas, that was then and this is now, because as of last week, passengers are now being welcomed into a totally refreshed Terminal 5, featuring Chicago hometown brands and international boutiques.
The project totaled $26 million and two years of overhauling, but the terminal now boasts a wider variety of airside activities. Chicago restaurant masters, Lettuce Entertain You, have opened several of their mainstay eateries (Big Bowl, Wow Bao, Urban Olive, Hub51 and R.J. Grunts) and, if you need a pick-me-up, there's Intelligentsia Coffee for delicious brews and Wicker Park deli, The Goddess and Grocer for nibbles. No drama if you've got your heart set on Frontera Grill's tortas, since Rick Bayless has this terminal covered as well.
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Stay a little more connected during your next flight with United, as the carrier is doing their best to keep you charged up during your time at the gate.
The airline is adding around 500 charging stations to airport terminals and gate areas. Their home at Chicago O’Hare International Airport is the first to get the installations and upgrades, as they’re already hard at work putting in more than 100 such stations across the airport’s Concourse B and Concourse C.
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Believe it or not there’s no better place to relax than the airport, and that’s especially the case as more and more places are adding a little yoga to the terminal and concourse menu. We’ve mentioned a few of the airports where you can practice your warrior or cobra poses, and now’s there’s one more airport that’s all about stretching it out during your layover.
Chicago-O’Hare is famous for a lot of things, and you can now add yoga to that list. The place now has a yoga room right within Terminal 3, and it’s situated right next door to the airport’s indoor garden. The yoga studio features bamboo floors, mirrors along one side of the room, plenty of yoga mats, and a spot to store your stuff while you are doing your thing. There are even frosted windows within the room to let in a little more light, and to kind of create a less sterile environment.
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If you’re already on your way to visit the family for Thanksgiving we understand if you forgot to bring a pie or some dessert. Unfortunately, your Great Aunt Mildred won’t understand, so you might as well pick something up at the airport. We can’t guarantee that you’ll find the world’s best pumpkin pie, but at least there’s a few options at the airport.
For those connecting through–or heading to—Minneapolis-St. Paul there’s a solid option within Terminal 1, as French Meadow Bakery Café calls Concourse F home in its location near Gate 3. They’ve got cookies, pastries, and other organic bakery goodies, and we wouldn’t be surprised if they had something special just for the Thanksgiving. If you’re only looking for yourself it appears that they’re cooking up a warm seasonal fruit crisp, so go for that if you’re looking to sneak in an early dessert before Thursday.
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Word to the wise: automated immigration kiosks are the new hotness. These machines process the passports of US & Canadian citizens in a matter of seconds (minutes, if there's a line), and we foresee it one day pushing the Global Entry program to the curb. Oh, and it's free.
How to use the kiosks:
Simply roll up to one, scan your passport page, confirm that the screen has your ID and arriving flight info correct, tap to answer "no" to the usual "are you bringing anything weird into our country?" questions, and a camera snaps your photo and prints a receipt of the transaction. Show that receipt to a man in a booth (no waiting!), he'll stamp your passport, and you're free to enter baggage claim. You'll finally yield that receipt to the customs inspection officers after baggage claim, with minimal bother and no queuing.
Who's got them:
As far as we know, there are four US airports with immigration kiosks up and running for holders of US passports. They are:
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Big news out of Chicago-O’Hare, as the rumor is that the airport will no longer face any delays. Okay—you caught us—we’re exaggerating a little bit, but there is some news out of the airport that should make things run a little bit smoother on your next trip through the area.
Late last week the airport’s new runway opened up for business, after over a billion dollars was spent to get things constructed. Initially airport officials were quick to point out the runway’s merits, as the claimed that typical delays due to the weather—it was overcast—just weren’t happening thanks to the new piece of asphalt.
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Sweet Home Chicago!
More than half of the population of Illinois calls Chicago home and with it being a world class city, millions of travelers either come to walk the Magnificent Mile or spy on the city from one of two rooftop sky-decks. Whichever category you fall into, you can't help but to be awe-inspired with this video.
Clocking in at just over 6 minutes, Windy City Nights is a beautifully shot time-lapse video that showcases everything that makes the Second City awesome. Max Wilson is the film-maker and spent about 2 years traipsing around Chicago to nab the perfect shot as the rest of the world whizzes by. Spoiler alert: his hard work paid off.
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About a month ago, we asked you to choose what we'd be eating on an upcoming American Airlines flight. Well, the time came for us to step aboard our silver bird and head on over to Chicago - O'Hare from LAX and we can now officially announce that the winner was the chicken.
The full description of the choose-your-own-entree on AA is quite limited, but the lemon thyme chicken with quinoa and arugula turned out to pique the most interest from you guys, so it became our pre-prder.
We know that airport parking can get expensive. Even if you plan ahead and park in a remote lot, just a few days can make quite the negative dent in your bank account. But after hearing one traveler's total bill to pull her car out of an airport parking lot, be thankful that you only pay as much as you do.
After having her car parked in a lot at Chicago's O'Hare for three years, one Chicago resident was socked with a parking bill for $106,000. The car owner, Jennifer Fitzgerald, actually didn't park her car in the lot; it was her then O'Hare-employee boyfriend who abandoned the 1996 Chevrolet Monte Carlo in November of 2009 in an employee lot.
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Have you ever wanted to walk on a major airport runway? Hopefully you never have to because of emergency circumstances (see an example of that here), but there is a legal (and safe) way to take a stroll on one of Chicago-O'Hare's runways, and that's by registering for the 5K/10K On The Runway.
Okay, so its not so much a stroll as it is a full-fledged race, but the highlight is without a doubt the ability to run down an actual runway and, when you've finished and caught your breath, visit a United plane for a photo op. United is one of the sponsors of the event alongside the Chicago Department of Aviation and WLS Radio, and they've brought a 747 for the photo op in the past. Fingers crossed the 787 makes an appearance this year, but it's best just to focus on finishing the race for now.
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The customs and passport control process just got a little bit easier, as a slew of new kiosks have just arrived over in Chicago. The city’s O’Hare Airport is the first in the country to be hooked up with the new transportation technology, as the hope is that travelers will be able to make their way through the whole darn process just a little bit quicker.
We’ve mentioned these border protection beauties in the past, as the original test of these things was going on up in Vancouver. In total there’s like 32 of the new machines now awaiting US travelers as they make their way back home and into Chicagoland.
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The United States isby any standard, historical or otherwisea staggeringly rich and sophisticated civilization. We have developed a travel industry of enormous complexity, and it keeps humming even when politicians who have no idea what they're doing try to break it. Every single day thousands of flights take off, follow their flight paths, and land. The combination of paths we plan for them are guided by incredibly sophisticated mathematical models taking into account thousands of variables.
So of course the people in charge of maintaining airports are turning to goats, sheep, llamas, and to even more low-tech animal-related solutions to help them with their jobs. We already told you yesterday about the barnyard menagerie at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport is using to mow its lawn. It sounds fake and it's low tech, but it does actually seems to work.
It turns out that other airport officials have come up with even faker-sounding solutions to problems.