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Posts: 2822
Joined: Fri Jan 21, 2000 1:51 am

The "New" MDW

Wed Mar 13, 2002 9:15 am

Hi all,

I just completed a trip to the DC area flying on Southwest to BWI. This was my first flight through MDW since last August and there have been quite a few changes. Here are some observations:

I got to MDW about an hour and a half before my flight. Walked through the new check-in area and noticed the Mexicana ticket counter, located where the old Metrojet counter was. I went down to the Mezzanine Level to go through security and onward to the gates. Right before walking through the bridge crossing over Cicero Ave. and connecting the check-in/baggage claim area with the concessions and gate areas, one has to present tickets and ID. Once through that, you cross the bridge and arrive at the metal detectors which were pretty backed up. MDW was pretty full on this day. 5 minutes later I was through security and checked out the new A Concourse which is used by ATA. A few gates on the B and C concourses have also been opened and are being used by Northwest, National, ATA, Delta, and Continental.

To get to the old terminal, one has to walk down the new B concourse and then take some steps down until entering the old building. There have been quite a few changes made here too. New gates have been added where the old ticket counters used to be. The old roadway used to drive up to the terminal is now ramp space. Gates F2 through F6 are now located here and are used by AirTran and Southwest. Although these gates are only temporary (they are ground level like the rest of the terminal, unlike the more modern two-story facility being built now) they are equipped with jetways. Since the new concourses are named A, B, and C, the old concourses have been renamed F (the Southwest concourse formerly known as A) G (formerly B) which is used by ATA, Frontier, and Vanguard, and H (formerly C and now closed after ATA's move to the new facility). Now going from the nice, shiny new MDW terminal to the old facility reminds you how much of a dump MDW used to be. Narrow hallways with low ceilings, crowds of people everywhere. The feeling of claustrophobia-especially by the Southwest gates. As many memories as I have of the old MDW having worked and flown out of there, I really can't wait to see the last of the old building torn down. It should be completely done by 2004. If you want to see a virtual tour of the new MDW click HERE

Posts: 2301
Joined: Mon Jan 28, 2002 3:29 am

RE: The "New" MDW

Thu Mar 14, 2002 3:01 am

I agree with you about the old MDW terminal. As much of a piece of aviation history as it is, it's just too small too handle the crowds today.

Things have slowly gotten better. Remember what it was like before the new landside terminal opened a year ago? Back when ticketing and baggage claim were still in the old terminal?

I remember that the ticketing areas were tiny. Southwest had a considerable amount of space (just a little less than they have now), but ATA had around six counters. The rest of the airlines (American, Frontier, Northwest, Pro Air, AirTran, Delta, MetroJet, America West, Vanguard, National, Continental) were crammed into what was literally the smallest ticket counter area I've ever seen.

So MDW is on the way up. Can't wait until all the new gates are finished, although it looks like that's going to be a very piecemeal process.
Posts: 2187
Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2001 9:24 am

RE: The "New" MDW

Thu Mar 14, 2002 9:03 am

I really like the new MDW. When I went through when I went to LAS on National, it was bigger than the old one. I have been there several times taking pictures and it's nicer and roomier too. I noticed they put gates there where the old ATA and Northwest/National check-in areas used to be. Those check-in areas are gone now. I hope to be over there next time.
"He was right, it is a screaming metal deathtrap!"-Cosmo (from the Fairly Oddparents)

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