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Coal
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Chicago O'Hare: Awesome!

Wed Jun 13, 2007 10:20 pm

It had been nearly ten years since I last transited through Chicago (back then it was MIA-ORD-MXP and return). Yesterday Chicago was one of the many stops on my SIN-NRT-ORD-MIA run. And I must say I was very impressed. We arrived at Terminal 5 (on UA 882), and as soon as we got off the plane the airport had a modern, fairly new feel to it. For some reason there were two customs officers at the end of the jetway checking passports, but were very friendly. The immigration desk area had good signage, it was clean, spacious, had lots of light and looked quite modern (unlike the immigration desks at LAX that look more like you're arriving in the GDR). The passport official was quite nice (I usually get questioned a lot as I have stamps from many [some obscure] countries). The officer at ORD asked me how the weather was in Aussie and how the girls were in S'pore. How nice!

The baggage reclaim area was also spacious, clean, modern, and (again as opposed to LAX) had very good signage. Although priority tags didn't seem to mean anything to bag handlers (or was that at NRT?), I did get my bag fairly quick. There was a bit of confusion at the baggage transfer desk, and that area was not as nice as the rest. From there I had to transfer to Terminal 1 to catch the last leg to MIA. Although this terminal (and it's concourse C) were not as nice as T 5, the main concourse area was spacious, clean, and had a fairly modern look (not as much as Asian or German airports though).

In addition, I had pretty good flights on UA. For someone who usually can be found in Raffles Class on SQ, I must say UA did not dissapoint. Well, except for the fact that SQ's F/As are much younger and prettier, but at least the service was good and IFE was ok (for a US carrier at least).

Ok, end of rave.

Cheers
Coal
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deltadc9
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RE: Chicago O'Hare: Awesome!

Wed Jun 13, 2007 10:24 pm

Someone once told me that the UA terminal is as big as the Sears Tower laid on its side.
Dont take life too seriously because you will never get out of it alive - Bugs Bunny
 
YULYMX
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RE: Chicago O'Hare: Awesome!

Wed Jun 13, 2007 10:35 pm

Quoting DeltaDC9 (Reply 1):
Someone once told me that the UA terminal is as big as the Sears Tower laid on its side.

Huge but not terminal5 which is international flight
 
deltadc9
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RE: Chicago O'Hare: Awesome!

Wed Jun 13, 2007 11:18 pm

Quoting YULYMX (Reply 2):
Huge but not terminal5 which is international flight

Duh!, Did they build a new international terminal or remodel? I remember years ago that it was kinda run down and very dated.
Dont take life too seriously because you will never get out of it alive - Bugs Bunny
 
YULYMX
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RE: Chicago O'Hare: Awesome!

Wed Jun 13, 2007 11:20 pm

Terminal 5 is pretty new for international flight 9 or 10 yrs few american carrier there Asia from UA and AA
 
HighFlight1996
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RE: Chicago O'Hare: Awesome!

Wed Jun 13, 2007 11:51 pm

Glad to hear that you enjoyed our airport! Next time come through to the city - it is a great place!!!

Yes, Terminal 5 is not bad. I can agree that the signage for the bag transfer and the transfer from T5 to any of the other terminals can be confusing - glad you made it through ok.

T1 (UA) with Concourses B&C at ORD are not too bad, especially considering the traffic they get through that place. I will say that you don't want to be there when it is raining - many leaks coming through the glass enclosure. The father of a friend of mine is an ironworker who worked on the place and they basically knew the place was going to be leaky when the built it in the 80's. Overall, they continue to make improvements to T1 that are helpful - adding security gates, adding escalators to get down to baggage claim, making the walkway to T2 and beyond easier, as well as increasing space - particularly with the new electrical ports they have added - that is a plus!

However, like most US airports and most US legacy carriers, they still can not get the boarding areas right. Thankfully the concourse is wide enough (except at gates B6-B9 near security) where if a plane is boarding, it is a bear to get through. UA still needs a few more improvements (beyond the recent changes) to their boarding practices and the layout of the boarding areas.
 
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United787
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RE: Chicago O'Hare: Awesome!

Thu Jun 14, 2007 2:01 am

ORD's United Terminal 1 is one of the best terminals in the US especially if you consider that it is almost 20 years old! It has truly passed the test of time, I can't think of any other modern US terminal that has aged so well. I get excited to fly everytime I enter Terminal 1 for a United departure. I feel like I am coming home everytime I arrive back. the architect Helmut Jahn was successful in creating the atmosphere reminiscent of the old grand train stations.

The International Terminal 5 is also a beautiful piece of architecture that has aged well, about 14 years old already!

I think the main parts of Terminals 1 & 2 are finally getting the upgrade they need. All of the concourses for those terminals need to be torn down and rebuilt, even the AA concourses which had a cheap upgrade years ago.

What is amazing is the that general terminal configuration from the 1950s still works today although some of the facilities are outdated and the runway configuration is being redone.
 
RDUDDJI
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RE: Chicago O'Hare: Awesome!

Thu Jun 14, 2007 3:14 am

So I saw the title of this thread and just figured it had to be sarcastic... But, seriously, I'm glad you enjoyed ORD. It is like a city within a city. It will be much better starting late next year when they get the third parallel RWY operational.

Quoting HighFlight1996 (Reply 5):
will say that you don't want to be there when it is raining - many leaks coming through the glass enclosure.

Not to mention the delays!!!
Sometimes we don't realize the good times when we're in them
 
Jaws707
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RE: Chicago O'Hare: Awesome!

Thu Jun 14, 2007 3:19 am

Quoting RDUDDJI (Reply 7):
Not to mention the delays!!!

Tell me about it. This spring one of my flights was delayed, then cancelled, then I was rebooked onto another flight, so I had the opportunity to walk around O'Hare for 7hrs. As much as I love airplanes that was not a fun morning.
 
paneuropean
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RE: Chicago O'Hare: Awesome!

Thu Jun 14, 2007 4:29 am

Quoting United787 (Reply 6):
ORD's United Terminal 1 is one of the best terminals in the US especially if you consider that it is almost 20 years old! It has truly passed the test of time, I can't think of any other modern US terminal that has aged so well. I get excited to fly everytime I enter Terminal 1 for a United departure. I feel like I am coming home everytime I arrive back. the architect Helmut Jahn was successful in creating the atmosphere reminiscent of the old grand train stations.

Amen....I couldn't have said it better. The floor with the black & white tiles, the light, the structure of the building is just beautiful. The outside of the Terminal is not so nice, though. The tunnel which connects the concourses is just awesome and very impressive as well. I just missed the sounds of tinkling bottles, last time I flew through IAD. Which gave a relaxing atmosphere......

Quoting United787 (Reply 6):
What is amazing is the that general terminal configuration from the 1950s still works today although some of the facilities are outdated and the runway configuration is being redone.

Yep, Schiphol, Amsterdam has the same concept, and you know what they say about AMS. The finger shaped piers are very easy to navigate.

Quoting United787 (Reply 6):
The International Terminal 5 is also a beautiful piece of architecture that has aged well, about 14 years old already!

Unfortunately, I never departed from T5. I just arrived there and wasn't very impressed. I assume the departure hall and lounge are more excited ?!.
 
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Coal
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RE: Chicago O'Hare: Awesome!

Thu Jun 14, 2007 6:47 am

Quoting HighFlight1996 (Reply 5):
it is a great place!!!

Well I am considering UofC for my MBA, so maybe, maybe. Even so, I've heard great things of Chicago.

Quoting HighFlight1996 (Reply 5):
particularly with the new electrical ports they have added

What are these electrical ports you speak of?

Quoting United787 (Reply 6):
it is almost 20 years old!

No way! Really? It feels much newer than that. Or is this not T5?

Cheers
Coal
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cygnuschicago
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RE: Chicago O'Hare: Awesome!

Thu Jun 14, 2007 6:48 am

Quoting Paneuropean (Reply 9):
assume the departure hall and lounge are more excited ?!.

No, the departure hall airside is really disappointing - not even food currently. In fact, this often gets TSAs panties in a knot. Pax clear security, then look for food airside, realize there is none, and go back outside to purchase food. When they try and come back, TSA gets upset that they have to check a large volume of pax twice.

As someone that doesn't need food every five minutes, that doesn't bother me. I also like the long walk from the gates to immigration - it's good exercise, and it's easy to pass the slow strolling fellow pax and arrive at immigration first  Smile

I like Terminal 5. It's not perfect, but it is a fine job.

Terminal 3 is also pretty good, and getting upgraded. My real dislike is Terminal 2 - hopefully the renovation helps a lot.
If you cannot do the math, your opinion means squat!
 
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Stitch
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RE: Chicago O'Hare: Awesome!

Thu Jun 14, 2007 6:49 am

My only beef with Terminal One is there are a total of four active AC power ports in each Concourse. I joined the RCC just so I could use my laptop during layovers.

As an aside, every time I walk down Terminal One, I start humming "Rhapsody in Blue".  Smile
 
ebs757
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RE: Chicago O'Hare: Awesome!

Thu Jun 14, 2007 6:49 am

Glad you had a good experience here in the windy city! Ive never had a problem with good old Chicago O' Hare.
Viva la Vida
 
Jammin
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RE: Chicago O'Hare: Awesome!

Thu Jun 14, 2007 6:58 am

Quoting CygnusChicago (Reply 11):
I also like the long walk from the gates to immigration - it's good exercise, and it's easy to pass the slow strolling fellow pax and arrive at immigration first Smile

Yup, same here. The long walk allows you to get in front for the immigration lines.  Big grin

People usually whine about transiting through ORD and its infamous delays, but I'm glad it's my home airport and have always had a good experience... Flying out this Friday  airplane 
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United787
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RE: Chicago O'Hare: Awesome!

Thu Jun 14, 2007 7:19 am

Quoting Coal (Reply 10):
No way! Really? It feels much newer than that. Or is this not T5?

I have a book on architecture in Chicago "AIA Guide to Chicago" which is my source for the following facts:

Terminal 1 (UA) - 1982-1988 - Murphy/Jahn - I would guess that the architects started the design in 1982 which makes Terminal 1 even more amazing in that the design is 25 years old!

Terminals 2 & 3 - 1961 - C.F. Murphy Associates - Only the concourses of Terminal 2 remain in their original condition.

Terminal 3 - Concourses H & K (AA) - 1990 Renovation - Kober/Belluschi and Welton Becket Associates - In my opinion, the renovation is a weak knock-off of Terminal 1.

Terminal 3 - Concourse L (DL) - 1982 - Perkins & Will

Terminals 2 & 3 - 2007 Renovation - Murphy/Jahn - This renovation includes the renovation and expansion of the main terminal buildings and a new roadway canopy for Terminals 1, 2 & 3.

Terminal 5 (International) - 1993 - Perkins & Will

Control Tower - 1970 - I.M. Pei

What is interesting is that most of the architectural work has been completed by 2 architectural firms. C.F. Murphy is the predecessor firm to Murphy/Jahn; C.F. Murphy also did the Rotunda Building, O'Hare Hilton, Heating Plant and Parking Garage!
 
jpetekyxmd80
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RE: Chicago O'Hare: Awesome!

Thu Jun 14, 2007 7:31 am

Quoting United787 (Reply 6):
I get excited to fly everytime I enter Terminal 1 for a United departure. I feel like I am coming home everytime I arrive back. the architect Helmut Jahn was successful in creating the atmosphere reminiscent of the old grand train stations.

Absolutely! I echo that sentiment.
The Best Care in the Air, 1984-2009
 
PIA777
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RE: Chicago O'Hare: Awesome!

Thu Jun 14, 2007 7:44 am

Quoting Coal (Thread starter):
For some reason there were two customs officers at the end of the jetway checking passports

They always do that.

PIA777
GO CUBS!!
 
jetdeltamsy
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RE: Chicago O'Hare: Awesome!

Thu Jun 14, 2007 7:48 am

Quoting DeltaDC9 (Reply 1):
Someone once told me that the UA terminal is as big as the Sears Tower laid on its side.

I don't think it's that long..but it is quite a haul when your gate is at one end of the other. Northwest's new Detroit facilitiy is long too, but there's that dandy rail system to take you close to your gate. At United, you have to hoof it.

Quoting DeltaDC9 (Reply 3):
Did they build a new international terminal or remodel?

Yes. T5 was build new several years ago. It is definitely the nicest terminal at ORD.

Quoting YULYMX (Reply 4):
few american carrier there

ALL airlines arrive at T5 from international destinations. Spirit Airlines and USA3000 operate domestic flights out of it as well. But all international arrivals come into T5, whether they are USA airlines or foreign. Some international departures occur from T1 and T3...Lufthansa (and LH's A319 all biz class wet-lease service..can't remembe the name of the carrier) and ANA from T1; Iberia from T3.

Quoting HighFlight1996 (Reply 5):
like most US airports and most US legacy carriers, they still can not get the boarding areas right.

That's for sure. Concource C is so narrow that it is like a crowded street in Tokyo during peak periods. i think AA has more space for people in T3, G H K & L. Eagle's G Concource is definitely better than UAX's T2 facilities.
Tired of airline bankruptcies....EA/PA/TW and finally DL.
 
MidEx216
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RE: Chicago O'Hare: Awesome!

Thu Jun 14, 2007 10:15 am

Quoting Coal (Thread starter):
priority tags didn't seem to mean anything to bag handlers

Priority tags don't get the bags to the carousel faster (usually). Rather, they give them more importance to get on the plane should there be, for whatever reason, a low amount of space and something must get bumped. Then a priority bag would (of course) have more priority than a regular bag.
 
HighFlight1996
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RE: Chicago O'Hare: Awesome!

Thu Jun 14, 2007 10:34 am

Quoting Coal (Reply 10):
What are these electrical ports you speak of?

Ah yes, I was not very clear on what the heck I was talking about! Sorry about that. It has been almost a week since my last trip, so I am sorry if my memory is not serving me well right now, but there are some "sponsored" electrical outlets throughout T1 - both concourses. I believe there is a bank of outlets in the gate area around B5, B12, C7, and C19. I am probably way off base there, but I believe I might at least be close.

Overall, I am happy with T1. On a side note, it is always fun to sit in the RCC in C concourse when the pilots are sitting in their birds. A few of them have been nice enough to wave back when I offer my glass as a toast to them.
 
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United_fan
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RE: Chicago O'Hare: Awesome!

Thu Jun 14, 2007 10:38 am

I too love ORD....but I try not to connect thru there May-Oct. What I don't like are the F-gates when you're crammed in there with too many people and nowhere to sit and not enough A/C! Don't get me started on the limited-english-speaking UAX employees butchering city names...
What I really love about ORD is when I was listening to the fabulous ch 9,and tower was giving takeoff clearance when the preceding departure was only 1/3 of the way down the r/w! I also like the 'techno tunnel' and the jazz music .
Champagne For My Real Friends,and Real Pain For My Sham Friends
 
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Coal
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RE: Chicago O'Hare: Awesome!

Thu Jun 14, 2007 10:39 am

Quoting PIA777 (Reply 17):
They always do that.

At ORD? Not at MIA, LAX, or JFK, in my experience.

Quoting MidEx216 (Reply 19):
Priority tags don't get the bags to the carousel faster (usually).

On SQ they do. I have never seen a bag without a priority tag come out before the ones that do.

Cheers
Coal
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RDUDDJI
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RE: Chicago O'Hare: Awesome!

Thu Jun 14, 2007 11:31 am

Quoting MidEx216 (Reply 19):
Priority tags don't get the bags to the carousel faster (usually). Rather, they give them more importance to get on the plane should there be, for whatever reason, a low amount of space and something must get bumped. Then a priority bag would (of course) have more priority than a regular bag.

They are supposed to get to the carousels first. This is something I happen to be working on. It should be noted that at UA's hubs priority (First In) baggage handling has improved some 50 percentage points (not to be confused with 50%) in the last few months.

Quoting United_Fan (Reply 21):
Don't get me started on the limited-english-speaking UAX employees butchering city names...

You must be talking about IAD. ORD UAX flights are worked by UA employees now.

Quoting Stitch (Reply 12):
My only beef with Terminal One is there are a total of four active AC power ports in each Concourse. I joined the RCC just so I could use my laptop during layovers.

Thankfully I noticed last week that they have brought in advertisers to provide "plug in" areas for laptops in T1. Anyway I think it was ORD...they all kind of blend together after while.

Quoting Paneuropean (Reply 9):
The tunnel which connects the concourses is just awesome and very impressive as well. I just missed the sounds of tinkling bottles

Affectionately known as the "Psychedelic Subway" at UA.
Sometimes we don't realize the good times when we're in them
 
TrijetsRMissed
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RE: Chicago O'Hare: Awesome!

Thu Jun 14, 2007 1:29 pm

I like ORD for the two massive hubs AA and UA have there. In the 90's, ORD was great for airplane spotting, now it's obviously not the same. It's a great airport, but nothing beats AMS that I've been to, IMO.
There's nothing quite like a trijet.
 
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RedTailDTW
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RE: Chicago O'Hare: Awesome!

Thu Jun 14, 2007 2:15 pm

Quoting RDUDDJI (Reply 23):
ORD UAX flights are worked by UA employees now.

When did this happen, I don't remember anything talking about it?


So all United Express flights are operated by United???



Mason (RedTailDTW)
Airlines Flown: AA, CO, HP, MQ, NW, RP, UA, US, WN, YX / Aircraft Flown: 737-200/300/700/800, 757-200/300, 777-200, A319/A320/A321, DC-9-30/50, DC-10-40, ERJ 140/145, E170, MD80/83/90
 
Continental
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RE: Chicago O'Hare: Awesome!

Thu Jun 14, 2007 3:16 pm

I love ORD due to the UA terminals. The terminal that's further out in the field (I do not know the name or #) looks great and I always enjoy being in it. The main UA terminal (where you can get picked up or dropped off) is simply amazing with it's glass ceiling and checkered floor. Oh, and that underground tunnel with lights is always fun to pass through. I've also been to the AA terminal which is pretty boring.
 
ManchesterMAN
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RE: Chicago O'Hare: Awesome!

Thu Jun 14, 2007 6:36 pm

I love T1 also and arriving at T5 is usually a breeze compared with some other US airports. I'm not a big fan of departing from T5 though as it is pretty small and crowded around 5pm when the transatlantic rush is in full swing. Also there are very few shops, especially post security.

I've been to ORD lots in the spring and fall but never at the height of summer or the middle of winter so I guess I've only seen ORD at its best and never experienced any significant delays and for that reason I really like the place.
Flown: A300,A319,A320,A321,A330,A340.A380,717,727,737,747,757,767,777,DC9,DC10,MD11,MD80,F100,F50,ERJ,E190,CRJ,BAe146,Da
 
ac888yow
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RE: Chicago O'Hare: Awesome!

Thu Jun 14, 2007 9:51 pm

ORD is by far the best 'huge' airport I've been to. Actually, it's one of the best airports I've been to, period. I've been to every terminal except 5 and can say that none of them are terrible a la LHR T-any. The United terminal 1 kicks a lot of azz.

ORD is my connecting point of choice when I cannot fly nonstop to a US destination, so much so that I will pay a premium (within reason obviously) for it.
 
UAL777UK
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RE: Chicago O'Hare: Awesome!

Thu Jun 14, 2007 10:03 pm

I love the light show on the roof of the tunnel in Terminal One. To me its very calming.
 
RDUDDJI
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RE: Chicago O'Hare: Awesome!

Thu Jun 14, 2007 10:10 pm

Quoting RedTailDTW (Reply 25):
So all United Express flights are operated by United???

Not operated by (that could confuse the subject)...but UA employees do the CS and Ramp work for UAX at ORD now. I believe it was a result of the termination of the ZW contract.
Sometimes we don't realize the good times when we're in them
 
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ADent
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RE: Chicago O'Hare: Awesome!

Fri Jun 15, 2007 1:35 am

Quoting United787 (Reply 15):
Terminals 2 & 3 - 1961 - C.F. Murphy Associates - Only the concourses of Terminal 2 remain in their original condition.

When was G concourse last worked over?
 
jsnww81
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RE: Chicago O'Hare: Awesome!

Fri Jun 15, 2007 4:07 am

Quoting ADent (Reply 31):
When was G concourse last worked over?

Concourse G was rebuilt in 1999-2000. IMHO it's possibly one of the nicest regional jet facilities in the country now, especially when you compare it with its next-door neighbor, the atrocious United Express Concourse E-F. Now that so much of AA's ORD operation is done by Eagle, I'm really glad they remodeled when they did - right before 9/11 when there was still money for such a project.

If Concourse G hadn't been rebuilt, today it would be just as bad (or worse) than the awful UAX operation at Terminal 2. Thank goodness for small miracles.  Smile
 
Jammin
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RE: Chicago O'Hare: Awesome!

Fri Jun 15, 2007 5:16 am

For those that live in Chicago, don't you just love driving by the southern part of the airport along Irving Park Rd? I swing by there anytime I'm in the area and yesterday while on my bike (heading to a bike night) a Ted A320 flew right above me and I felt like I was in Top Gun giving a fist pump to the pilot  bigthumbsup   bouncy 
Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery. None but ourselves can free our mind.
 
tsaord
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RE: Chicago O'Hare: Awesome!

Fri Jun 15, 2007 5:28 am

When I first started working at ORD back in the summer of 2004, the first terminal I fell in love with was T1. The place just has that feel of "make you feel at home",

Now after almost 2 years in T5 I am in T3 which the face project is coming along nicely. They are about to open a new section. They are testing the elevators that will be where the esculators from the garage/tram are located. Tha parts hat are open on the T3 international side and down by the Delta/Iberia side looks quite nice.

The T2 concourse looks so much better. That place used to be a nightmare.

T5, I thought it was ok. I still haven't been to the customs area of ii though.
there are icons, then there are legends, then there is rick flair
 
ManchesterMAN
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RE: Chicago O'Hare: Awesome!

Fri Jun 15, 2007 6:54 am

Quoting UAL777UK (Reply 29):
I love the light show on the roof of the tunnel in Terminal One. To me its very calming.

It makes me feel like I've taken something I shouldn't have - a very psychedelic experience, especially with the weird sounds.
Flown: A300,A319,A320,A321,A330,A340.A380,717,727,737,747,757,767,777,DC9,DC10,MD11,MD80,F100,F50,ERJ,E190,CRJ,BAe146,Da
 
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ER757
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RE: Chicago O'Hare: Awesome!

Fri Jun 15, 2007 7:15 am

I was living in Chicago when T1 opened and I remember my 1st visit there - it was amazing then and it's still amazing now. Helmut Jahn created a masterpiece that will stand the test of time. The underground walkway between B & C is like Disneyland! Looking forward to mt next trip back there.
 
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Coal
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RE: Chicago O'Hare: Awesome!

Fri Jun 15, 2007 7:17 am

Quoting UAL777UK (Reply 29):
I love the light show on the roof of the tunnel in Terminal One. To me its very calming.

I reminded me of the train you can take under the river in Shanghai when you go from the Bund to Pu Dong.

Cheers
Coal
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cch362
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RE: Chicago O'Hare: Awesome!

Fri Jun 15, 2007 7:26 am

Quoting Coal (Reply 10):

Well I am considering UofC for my MBA, so maybe, maybe. Even so, I've heard great things of Chicago.

Are you not considering Kellogg (Northwestern)?! We had our own beach and Evanston is awesome even in the winter. Good luck!

Delays notwithstanding, UA's T1 is still my favorite hub after all these years, for both beginning/ending my trip and connecting flights.

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