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5 Festivals That Stretch Chicago's Summer Fun Well Into Winter

October 9, 2014 at 12:16 PM | by | Comments (0)

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:

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US Airports Begin Extra Health Checks for Ebola

October 8, 2014 at 5:56 PM | by | Comments (0)

Whether you realize it or not, international airports are screening for health issues of incoming passengers. Typically it's just trained officials eyeballing the stream of arriving passengers, sometimes with the help of temperature sensors, looking for any telling signs of deteriorating health before an unwell person passes through customs and out into the public.

Owing to the recent threat of Ebola, however, those checks are about to become more obvious, and more specialized, at least temporarily.

According to the NYT, five US airports will begin screening passengers arriving from West Africa with new procedures, including a contactless thermometer to test for fever, and a questionnaire to determine a person's risk.

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Fire at Chicago FAA Facility Grounds Flights, Worsens Friday Travel Mayhem

September 26, 2014 at 10:49 AM | by | Comments (0)

Update: 12pm EST Flights into and out of Chicago are resuming at a "reduced rate." It has been stated that the fire which caused today's interruption was deliberately set, but was not an act of terrorism. It was set by a man found with self-inflicted wounds, in the basement of the facility.

Early this morning, smoke began billowing out of an FAA facility in Aurora, IL. The fire, whose cause remains suspicious, nonetheless made an impact on US air travel as all flights set to travel into or out of Chicago's O'Hare and Midway Airports were delayed or cancelled, along with many others simply set to fly through the Chicago control area. As of 10am EST, FlightStats.com was reporting upwards of 400 cancelled and 300 delayed flights for the airports.

As expected, lines within the airports stretched along with phone wait times for further information. One gate at O'Hare was reported to quote "30 minutes or 3 hours" for the delay, which demonstrates the uncertainties at the time.

If you're scheduled to fly anywhere in the United States today, please check with your airline (we'd recommend via their official Twitter account or website, with posted alerts) before heading to the airport. As always, be sure to embark on travels today with fully-charged electronics, packed snacks, and some flexibility and patience for the tens of thousands of other stuck in a similar position or worse.

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How Much Does It Cost to Use an Airport Gym Between Flights?

September 12, 2014 at 10:09 AM | by | Comments (0)

Apart from sprinting through an airport terminal to make a flight, most travelers don't think much about squeezing in a workout around an itinerary. But, if you can resist temptation from the alluring scent of Auntie Anne's or Cinnabon, there are some airports which offer nearly full-service workout facilities for those who are in search of a good sweat.

Lately the trend has been to add a yoga room to terminals, but real gyms were there first. Best of all, the cost to access some of these centers is far cheaper than a one-day pass for some airline lounges.

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The O'Hare Animals are Back for Another Season of Airport Maintenance

September 5, 2014 at 7:51 AM | by | Comments (0)

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.

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United Adds DIY Baggage Tagging Over at O'Hare

August 28, 2014 at 6:05 AM | by | Comments (0)

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.

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Surprisingly Yummy Airline Meals: The Kobachi Bowls of JAL

Where: Japan
August 20, 2014 at 10:13 AM | by | Comments (0)

We have all had a terrible meal on a flight before. In fact, we have shown you some of the sadder trays slid in front of us. With this new series of amazing airline meals, we can revel in the airline culinary delights and give kudos to the airlines that got it right.

We offer this recommendation: On your next international flight, sample the traditional menu of the nation you're flying to or from since it's not only a great way to get a feel for the cuisine, but to spark excitement or fond memories of the trip. After a Japan Airlines flight from Narita to Chicago, our recommendation comes even stronger.

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Inside the Amenity Kit: Japan Airlines' Basket of Goodies

Where: Japan
August 13, 2014 at 2:23 PM | by | Comments (0)

We come across some downright awesome airline amenity kits in our travels, and the surprises of each zippered pouch can often make or break comfort on a premium flight. With this in mind, here's to our new series: Inside the Amenity Kit, wherein we unzip, unwrap, and expose the loot inside:

Since we're usually greeted by a clever little pouch of airline branded goodies on long-haul flights in business class, you can probably understand our surprise when, on a recent Japan Airlines flight, the flight attendant didn't deliver a kit but rather walked through the cabin with a basket of selections.

Shortly after take-off, cabin crew arrived with this variety of pre-packaged toothbrushes, eye-masks, hydration masks, earplugs and a refreshing eye towel. We decided to grab one of each for the long flight from Tokyo-Narita to Chicago-O'Hare.

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How a Hotel Chain Transformed an Airport Security Area

June 10, 2014 at 9:42 AM | by | Comments (0)

Those departing Chicago on the way to their summer vacation are about to have another reason to smile, as heading through airport security at O’Hare just got a little better and little more bearable. For most the shoes still need to come off and the laptops will need to go on the belt, but the whole scene will be more enjoyable thanks to some sponsorship and decoration from the folks over at Marriott and SpringHill Suites.

We’ve seen something like this before, but we certainly can’t complain about anything that makes the airport security process that much more enjoyable. Through a partnership with the aforementioned hotel chain as well as the TSA and the airport authority things are a little bit different over at checkpoint number three within the airport’s Terminal 1.

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Save the Date for Chicago's Double Whammy of Airport Runway Runs

May 19, 2014 at 10:36 AM | by | Comments (0)

It's that time of the year again, when airports welcome people, in place of planes, to run on their runways while the weather is sunny and the skies are blue. While other airports are still ironing out the particulars, Chicago's double whammy of runway runs is already asking you to "save the date."

It's only the second year for a run at Chicago's second airport, Midway. The Midway Fly Away 5K will be sponsored by Southwest and will benefit Chicago Childrens Charities and the Special Olympics. The run on what MDW calls "the world's busiest square mile" will happen September 21, and other runways will most definitely still be active.

Across the city, Chicago's own United Airlines will once again host the O'Hare Run on the Runway, with proceeds going to the Wounded Warrior Project. You've got more time to train for this race, as the 5K doesn't hit the calendar until October 5. Fingers crossed United rolls an aircraft out to the finish line for photo ops, as they've done in past years. Expect over 3,500 fellow runners of all ages and abilities (and walkers are welcome), so be ready when registration opens soonish.

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Your Next International Flight from Chicago's O'Hare Airport Might Not Suck

April 14, 2014 at 10:52 AM | by | Comments (0)

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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United to Finally Equip Airport Gates with Charging Stations

April 1, 2014 at 1:25 PM | by | Comments (0)

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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