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12 things you'll experience while traveling through O'Hare this holiday season

12 things you'll experience while traveling through O'Hare this holiday season
Photograph: WIkimedia Commons

The holidays are upon us, and hundreds of thousands of Chicagoans will travel through O'Hare this month en route to their loved ones. While most of you might be dreaming of an idealistic experience at the city's busiest airport like the opening of Love Actually, you're most likely going to encounter the annoying, the petty and the downright disgusting.

Here's what you may experience while traveling through O'Hare this holiday season.

Enduring the urine-permeated CTA

O'Hare is at the northernmost end of the Blue Line, so the trains can get a little messy along the way. Maybe the next car over won't smell as... never mind.

The worst security lines you've ever seen

Unfortunately, the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry, especially at airport security. No matter your timing or planning, you'll endure treacherous lines and ample frustration waiting in security while just-as-miffed employees condescendingly bark orders in your face. Don't be that person who fumbles their ID and boarding pass, and forgets to remove the laptop from their bag.

Painful delays from terrible weather

It's a bit ironic that the bulk of travel occurs when it's the worst time to travel—in the winter. We all want to get where we want to go, but we also don't want to be swept up in a snowstorm tailspin. You're just gonna have to ride it out (and maybe sleep on the floor in the terminal).

Spending way too much money at the duty free shop

The duty free shops at airports all possess the same illusion: That you simply cannot leave this airport without purchasing something. Whether it's that $50 carton of cigarettes or a dirt cheap bottle of liquor, it's really hard to pass up those deals.

Drowning your sorrows in a torta from Frontera

Maybe you're headed home for the holidays on the heels of (another) failed relationship to see your parents who ask what the hell you're doing with your life. Maybe your always-do-right brother recently got engaged to his gem of a girlfriend. And don't forget 'ol grandma who still chastises you for that tattoo you got on your foot on spring break in college. The happy Christmas music bellowing throughout the airport is grating at your soul and the flight just tacked on another 2 hours to the delay. The only cure? One of Rick Bayless' delicious tortas.

Sitting at the gate with some ungrateful tweens

Completely engrossed in a symbiotic relationship with their smartphones, you'll likely see some tween who will spend four hours of a flight delay in a perpetual eye roll at their "annoying as F" parents and then beg them for money to buy sour gummy worms.

Sitting at the gate with some all-too-talkative adults

They ask you about going home, where you're going, how long it's going to take you to get there, how your love life is, how there are plenty of fish in the sea, if you enjoyed that torta, etc.

Trying to charge your phone

Most airports have a designated charging station for our 21st century lifestyles. All the same, said charging stations are still somehow always overpopulated with idiots who find it necessary to charge their smartphone, tablet and computer while looking up the latest hilarious video of some dude crashing his jet ski.

Getting drunk at Chili's

There is no more essential or more significant experience than visiting an airport Chili's. O'Hare has Chili's Too restaurants at all three of its domestic terminals, each with a menu worth of margarita specials. You need something to wash down that torta (and melancholy).

Becoming envious of those airport lounges

Like something out of a Seinfeld episode, you could spend some serious time wondering about these mysterious locales. Does anyone actually take the time to become a member? What does it entail? How beneficial is it? You know it's foolish to even care, but you still harbor some silent bitterness in the hopes that one day you can become a selected passenger.

Grappling with the idea of paying for wi-fi or just waiting it out

In a place where a bottle of water is somehow $3, you better believe that connecting to the airport's wi-fi will be a somewhat costly proposition. Sure, we all have smartphones on hand, but sometimes you want to watch your favorite program or finally get rid of your 1000+ emails on a larger screen while you wait out the delay. To pay or not to pay?

And one last thing...

You may be lucky (or unlucky) enough to encounter an alligator on your way to the terminal. Though it's highly unlikely, we're not saying it's impossible.



Emelia P

American's Admirals Club in Terminal 3 is amazing and has free drinks (including alcohol) and food, to clear up any of the mystery surrounding it. ;)

If you fly often, the ~$42 a month to be a member is totally worth it.