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Long layover in US in Feb: DFW, IAH or ORD?

Posted: Fri Jan 18, 2019 1:59 pm
by ojjunior
Hi folks

I'm planning a biz trip to US and have those options to choose from as connection points upon my return. Didn't buy the ticket yet. All options give me between 8 and 11hs on the ground during daytime.
Considering i've never been on any of those, which one do you reccomend, considering the weather in february (week 8), ground time and attractions?

I'm not looking for museums or restaurants, just popular landmarks and/or with historical relevance for a couple pictures and easily acessible from the airport thru public transportation.

Thank you all in advance!

Re: Long layover in US in Feb: DFW, IAH or ORD?

Posted: Fri Jan 18, 2019 3:06 pm
by IAHFLYR
Bet you can already guess my selection from my screen name! :)

The end of February weather I would certainly put IAH on top of the list as we here in H-Town rarely see freezing precip although it does occur every so often. Of course when it does it makes a mess of things at IAH, but going strictly by history DFW gets more winter weather days that IAH.

As for landmarks, Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Clear Lake is certainly worth the visit. It's about an hour to an hour and 15 minutes travel from IAH pending traffic, but staying off I-45 for the most part will help with that issue. Beltway 8 is less than a mile south of IAH and taking it eastbound around the city exiting I-45 Southbound is then about 15-20 minutes at the most to JSC. Having eight hours or so will be plenty of time to visit and head back to IAH. The Astrodome is still standing next to NRG Stadium, but no tours so you'd just be taking a picture of it and it is dwarfed by NRG. You won't have much more time to visit other spots if you head to JSC and don't even think about Galveston.....too far from IAH and other than the Strand in downtown Galveston the beach is, well not all that.

Here is a pretty good link for Houston..... https://www.houstonpress.com/arts/the-r ... ns-6393376

As for public transportation, no rail service to IAH so renting a car is about the best way to get around. In that aspect I do believe DFW has a rail line into little D :).

DFW, Dealey Plaza where JFK was shot in 1963 would be a great landmark area to visit https://www.jfk.org/ , otherwise not much help on that area.

I'd avoid ORD simply due to the weather that time of year.

Bet you'll get some splendid ideas form other Anetters. Happy safe travels and let us know what you come up with please.

Re: Long layover in US in Feb: DFW, IAH or ORD?

Posted: Fri Jan 18, 2019 7:34 pm
by LH658
If you have short connection less than 4 hours, then IAH is the way to go. Long lay over I would choose ORD, due to Chicago is a bit more touristy.

Re: Long layover in US in Feb: DFW, IAH or ORD?

Posted: Fri Jan 18, 2019 8:50 pm
by PatrickZ80
LH658 wrote:
If you have short connection less than 4 hours, then IAH is the way to go. Long lay over I would choose ORD, due to Chicago is a bit more touristy.


In another time of the year I would agree with you, however in February there's a good chance it'll be freezing cold and covered in a thick layer of snow. After all Chicago is the most northern of the three mentioned cities.

Houston is the furthest south and on top of that it's more or less a coastal city, influenced by the warm water in the Gulf of Mexico. That's where the weather will be the best.

Dallas should be a bit in between that when it comes to the weather. The distance between Houston and Dallas isn't that far, but unlike Houston Dallas isn't coastal and therefor doesn't benefit from the warm water in the Gulf of Mexico.

Re: Long layover in US in Feb: DFW, IAH or ORD?

Posted: Fri Jan 18, 2019 10:41 pm
by LH658
I would say IAH due to being February plus IAH has some good restaurant selections, has a Polaris lounge as well, if you have access to that.

Re: Long layover in US in Feb: DFW, IAH or ORD?

Posted: Fri Jan 18, 2019 11:15 pm
by CPHFF
Avoid Houston. I am a frequent business visitor (8-9 times per year), and I've not really found anything interesting during my 16 visits

Re: Long layover in US in Feb: DFW, IAH or ORD?

Posted: Sat Jan 19, 2019 10:46 am
by LTU932
I can't judge ORD and IAH, but from my personal experience, I'd definitely choose DFW.

Re: Long layover in US in Feb: DFW, IAH or ORD?

Posted: Sat Jan 19, 2019 12:36 pm
by smallmj
Hard choice given the time of year. ORD has by far the worst weather but the best transit. Very few cities in the US have halfway decent transit. It comes as a shock to many travellers.

Re: Long layover in US in Feb: DFW, IAH or ORD?

Posted: Sat Jan 19, 2019 7:53 pm
by MartijnNL
Why would warm places be better than cold places? Why would Chicago have the worst weather? I like snow and low temperatures.

I have been to all three airports with the sole purpose of aircraft spotting. I found ORD to be the most interesting airport, followed by DFW (less interesting now, because of dwindling numbers of MD-80's) and IAH.

If you are not into aircraft spotting, you could follow the advice given here. The Johnson Space Center sounds interesting and Dealey Plaza has historic significance. Chicago sure has something to offer too.

Maybe you could even visit another city. From the center of Chicago it's only 1,5 hours to Milwaukee. Travel by Amtrak train and enjoy the experience. I still remember the view of all the skyscrapers on the return journey to Chicago.

Re: Long layover in US in Feb: DFW, IAH or ORD?

Posted: Sun Jan 20, 2019 12:33 am
by 9w748capt
MartijnNL wrote:
Why would warm places be better than cold places? Why would Chicago have the worst weather? I like snow and low temperatures.


I love snow too, but airplanes don't. Do you see how the heavy snow that sometimes occurs in the northern US would be worse for flying than relatively warm DFW or IAH?

Re: Long layover in US in Feb: DFW, IAH or ORD?

Posted: Sun Jan 20, 2019 7:54 am
by MartijnNL
Yes. I just read this:
Jet slides off O'Hare runway, as snow sweeps across Midwest towards Northeast
https://www.nbcnews.com/news/weather/je ... ds-n960611

DFW and IAH may experience other problems:
With Houston Airports Closed, Airlines Cancel Thousands of Flights
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/28/trav ... ports.html

But this topic is not about flying conditions but visiting interesting sites. ;) Happy Sunday, everybody! :wave:

Re: Long layover in US in Feb: DFW, IAH or ORD?

Posted: Sun Jan 20, 2019 11:45 am
by smallmj
MartijnNL wrote:
Why would warm places be better than cold places? Why would Chicago have the worst weather? I like snow and low temperatures.



Because snow and ice can cause delays and cancellations. My local airport is expecting a storm today. 13/38 flights over the next 8 hours are already cancelled, and the snow hasn't even started.

Re: Long layover in US in Feb: DFW, IAH or ORD?

Posted: Mon Jan 21, 2019 3:23 pm
by IAHFLYR
MartijnNL wrote:
With Houston Airports Closed, Airlines Cancel Thousands of Flights
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/28/trav ... ports.html


It's not like Houston gets 50+ inches of rain in two days every month...geeez! :banghead:

Re: Long layover in US in Feb: DFW, IAH or ORD?

Posted: Mon Jan 21, 2019 4:15 pm
by MartijnNL
It's not like Chicago gets 50+ inches of snow in two days every month...geeez! :banghead:

Re: Long layover in US in Feb: DFW, IAH or ORD?

Posted: Mon Jan 21, 2019 4:56 pm
by IAHFLYR
MartijnNL wrote:
It's not like Chicago gets 50+ inches of snow in two days every month...geeez! :banghead:


Never saw a mention of that in the thread, but if you want to be that person go right ahead! :old: :wave:

Re: Long layover in US in Feb: DFW, IAH or ORD?

Posted: Mon Jan 21, 2019 7:26 pm
by MartijnNL
You are right! But I hope we can focus on points of interest for the thread starter to visit, instead of discussing how 'bad' the weather can be in Chicago.

There's nothing wrong with low temperatures and snow. Of course weather delays can be unpleasant, but I wouldn't reject Chicago in advance because it has a higher probability of adverse weather.

I spent about a week in Chicago once, dividing my time between O'Hare, Midway and the city. It was a great holiday. I'm sure Dallas and Houston have something interesting to offer as well.

:thumbsup:

:wave:

Re: Long layover in US in Feb: DFW, IAH or ORD?

Posted: Mon Jan 21, 2019 8:36 pm
by zrs70
ojjunior wrote:
Hi folks

I'm planning a biz trip to US and have those options to choose from as connection points upon my return. Didn't buy the ticket yet. All options give me between 8 and 11hs on the ground during daytime.
Considering i've never been on any of those, which one do you reccomend, considering the weather in february (week 8), ground time and attractions?

I'm not looking for museums or restaurants, just popular landmarks and/or with historical relevance for a couple pictures and easily acessible from the airport thru public transportation.

Thank you all in advance!


There are a few more points of information you might offer that can clarify responses.

1) is any part of your travel international?
2) will you have bags to deal with?
3) will you have cold weather clothes with you?
4) will you rent a car?
5) why dfw/ord/iah? Any other connecting options?

Re: Long layover in US in Feb: DFW, IAH or ORD?

Posted: Tue Jan 22, 2019 5:44 pm
by ojjunior
Thank you all for the answers, really helped me to give me more focus on A or B.

1) is any part of your travel international? Domestic connexion from SFO then Intl later
2) will you have bags to deal with? No
3) will you have cold weather clothes with you? Sure will!
4) will you rent a car? No
5) why dfw/ord/iah? Any other connecting options? The only options AA gave me...

Re: Long layover in US in Feb: DFW, IAH or ORD?

Posted: Tue Jan 22, 2019 5:52 pm
by ojjunior
IAHFLYR wrote:
Bet you can already guess my selection from my screen name! :)

The end of February weather I would certainly put IAH on top of the list as we here in H-Town rarely see freezing precip although it does occur every so often. Of course when it does it makes a mess of things at IAH, but going strictly by history DFW gets more winter weather days that IAH.

As for landmarks, Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Clear Lake is certainly worth the visit. It's about an hour to an hour and 15 minutes travel from IAH pending traffic, but staying off I-45 for the most part will help with that issue. Beltway 8 is less than a mile south of IAH and taking it eastbound around the city exiting I-45 Southbound is then about 15-20 minutes at the most to JSC. Having eight hours or so will be plenty of time to visit and head back to IAH. The Astrodome is still standing next to NRG Stadium, but no tours so you'd just be taking a picture of it and it is dwarfed by NRG. You won't have much more time to visit other spots if you head to JSC and don't even think about Galveston.....too far from IAH and other than the Strand in downtown Galveston the beach is, well not all that.

Here is a pretty good link for Houston..... https://www.houstonpress.com/arts/the-r ... ns-6393376

As for public transportation, no rail service to IAH so renting a car is about the best way to get around. In that aspect I do believe DFW has a rail line into little D :).

DFW, Dealey Plaza where JFK was shot in 1963 would be a great landmark area to visit https://www.jfk.org/ , otherwise not much help on that area.

I'd avoid ORD simply due to the weather that time of year.

Bet you'll get some splendid ideas form other Anetters. Happy safe travels and let us know what you come up with please.


Yes bud, JSC is one of the things which are attracting me into IAH meanwhile DFW+Dealey Plaza caughts my attention either...
Didn't know about lack of rail service into IAH, thanks for that. That's exatclty my point asking local experts for some advice. I'm not planning to rent a car again, all my money would be left at SFO car rental earlier... :spin:
Damn.. it's not supposed to be that hard...

Re: Long layover in US in Feb: DFW, IAH or ORD?

Posted: Tue Jan 22, 2019 6:12 pm
by IADCA
If you can deal with the weather, the answer is Chicago - and it's not even close.

Having spent substantial time in all three I'd choose Chicago if I were you, even in February. That says more about the lack of transit or much of anything interesting in Houston or Dallas from a tourist perspective than anything else, but look at the activities that have been suggested: the site of an assassination (Dallas) and a very cool space center that's nearly 2 hours each way in a car from IAH and clear across the metropolitan area of the fourth largest city in the US. The DFW and Houston areas are both great places to live. For a quick-turn tourist visit, neither's good.

Re: Long layover in US in Feb: DFW, IAH or ORD?

Posted: Tue Jan 22, 2019 6:41 pm
by zakuivcustom
Let see...

1. Since you're looking for easy access to landmarks, Chicago wins hands down in that area. Hop onto the 'L' from ORD and you're in The Loop area on a single train ride. From there it's quick walk to places like Sears (Ok, Willis...) Tower or Cloud Gate or (longer walk) Navy Pier. DFW to Dealey Plaza (and maybe Reunion Tower) is also doable with DART Orange Line. As for Houston, well, you pretty much need a car.
2. Weather, well, I'll just say Chicago is VERY cold in February, and those wind chills from the lake doesn't help. Both Dallas and Houston are fair bit warmer. The ice/snow can make it a pain to walk around Loop Area in Chicago also.
3. Due to winter weather, ORD can be delay prone in the winter also.

Ultimately, if you want to roll the dice with Chicago weather, I would say ORD. The city has by far the most to offered for a quick city tour out of the 3.

Re: Long layover in US in Feb: DFW, IAH or ORD?

Posted: Wed Jan 23, 2019 1:11 pm
by ricport
Agree with most of the other posters here - if you are looking solely for tourist sites/options and don't care if you're stuck in a snowstorm, then ORD is the hands-down choice. I, OTOH, avoid ORD like the plague, because in the winter they get snow, and in the summer, they get massive thunderstorms (but then, DFW & IAH certainly get their share of those, as well). It doesn't take much to cause a delay there, and most of the terminals (especially AA's) are getting long in the tooth at this point. Some on here may love cold and snow, but generally, airplanes and airport operations don't.

Re: Long layover in US in Feb: DFW, IAH or ORD?

Posted: Wed Jan 23, 2019 8:56 pm
by KlimaBXsst
IAH for the variety of airlines.
DFW for uniqueness of airport.
ORD - Skip for DFW unless you wish to see a lot of AA and UA.

Re: Long layover in US in Feb: DFW, IAH or ORD?

Posted: Thu Jan 24, 2019 4:36 pm
by IAHWorldflyer
Just some advice from a Houstonian---don't try to stop at IAH and then make a run for the Johnson Space Center. It's really far from the airport, like probably 35 miles through what can be at times heavy traffic. The visitor center there is now geared more towards kids and families, so you don't really see mission control or any of the cool stuff. JSC does an open house of the cool stuff like once a year for locals to attend.
If you like aviation, and being on this site I think you do, maybe connect in DFW and use the time to go to the C R Smith American Airlines museum. It's pretty close to DFW and I'd think an Uber ride would be less than $10 each way. It could kill a couple hours. There's also a Hyatt hotel within the DFW complex where you could sit at the bar or have a nice lunch. They might evensell day passes to their pool and gym.
I love Chicago, but the idea of walking around the loop and lakefront in February with the wind coming off the lake doesn't appeal to me. If it were April, then totally different story.

Re: Long layover in US in Feb: DFW, IAH or ORD?

Posted: Thu Jan 24, 2019 7:34 pm
by ojjunior
Thank you all folks.

In fact not only the weather now but the current paralisation might affect my airport times so i'd better choose a secure option which provides me enough time to do airport/immigration stuff as I see endless queues countrywide on the news.

And AA isn't help at all, daily price variation is ridiculous, now I also have reasonable prices thru JFK, but I've been into NYC before, but not in the winter.

Anyway, no later than this weekend i'm gonna purchase it and will let you folks know.

Thanks to all and keep tight for all this situation going on in USA. Hope you all are doing fine despite the difficulties. :weightlifter:

Re: Long layover in US in Feb: DFW, IAH or ORD?

Posted: Thu Feb 14, 2019 7:55 pm
by StormRider
LH658 wrote:
If you have short connection less than 4 hours, then IAH is the way to go. Long lay over I would choose ORD, due to Chicago is a bit more touristy.

I would choose ORD as well but weather might be a spoil sport.
For the timings and weather in this case DFW might fit the bill....Deeley Plaza/Downtown Dallas accessible by DART from DFW. If you like amusement parks, Six Flags in Arlington isn't too far away either.