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Chicago O'Hare Terminal 5 (Intl Terminal)

Chicago O'Hare Terminal 5 (Intl Terminal)

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Old Aug 23, 09, 10:35 pm
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Chicago O'Hare Terminal 5 (Intl Terminal)

Hey all, I've connected through ORD like dozens of times, been through their immigration/customs lines several times (in terminal 5) and I've walked every nook and cranny of the domestic terminals (1,2,3) but thanks to post 9/11 security policies, I have never had a chance to go see what Terminal 5 looks like inside or visit the star alliance lounges there. Is it true that you must have a boarding pass for a flight actually departing from terminal 5 to get in? If that's the case, then does anyone have pics of what the terminal looks like? i know it sounds a bit geeky but since I've seen everything there is to see about the rest of the airport, I just want to have a look at the "forbidden terminal"...of which I've only seen the immigration/customs side...
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Old Aug 23, 09, 10:40 pm
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and btw, if you're arriving internationally with no checked bags, why do they still insist on kicking you out of the secure area? Can't there be two customs halls? one for pax with checked bags and the other for carry-on only? Is it because TSA doesn't trust foreign security?

I know for the checked bags pax, they have to re-clear security since once they've touched their checked bags, they are no longer sterile (since you can check some things, but not carry them on, thus, TSA doesn't want someone taking like a firearm out of their checked bags and then subsequently tossing it into their carry ons...)

it sucks that you can't buy duty free liquids arriving into the US if you have an onward flight and don't want to check bags since you have to re-clear security.
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Old Aug 24, 09, 12:10 am
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Originally Posted by bniu View Post
and btw, if you're arriving internationally with no checked bags, why do they still insist on kicking you out of the secure area? Can't there be two customs halls? one for pax with checked bags and the other for carry-on only? Is it because TSA doesn't trust foreign security?
So the immigrations people process you. I mean, back in the TWOV days, certain "disreputable" travel agencies sole purpose was to get you in to the US on transit (as you were not admit-able by the US govt.) and then to teach you where to run, to enter illegally. If the immigration authorities don't process you with the rest of your flight, then they might wonder where you went. Closure is something they like, not stragglers.

They also want to process your customs form, and anything you may have smuggled illegally and don't want you to consume any of these items either. The lounges are for departures, meaning you are still in the US, vs the arrivals hall, which you aren't admitted to the US yet. The lounges are part of the US, so you must immigrate completely to use them. "They" may also be waiting for you, and anyone that is going to pick you up, and "They" have a timeline. After all the patriot act waits for no man to use the lounge.

ANd you can buy the duty free...just buy it in the ORD shops.
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Old Aug 24, 09, 6:40 am
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Terminal 5 is an exciting place for me in that I know I am going somewhere abroad, generally on a non - US airline. The nicest lounges in T5 are probably the British Airways lounges. Sorry I dont have any pictures.
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Old Aug 24, 09, 9:13 am
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Originally Posted by bniu View Post
and btw, if you're arriving internationally with no checked bags, why do they still insist on kicking you out of the secure area? Can't there be two customs halls? one for pax with checked bags and the other for carry-on only? Is it because TSA doesn't trust foreign security?

I know for the checked bags pax, they have to re-clear security since once they've touched their checked bags, they are no longer sterile (since you can check some things, but not carry them on, thus, TSA doesn't want someone taking like a firearm out of their checked bags and then subsequently tossing it into their carry ons...)

it sucks that you can't buy duty free liquids arriving into the US if you have an onward flight and don't want to check bags since you have to re-clear security.
I don't think there's an airport (a major one) in the world that lets you get off an international flight and onto a departing flight without clearing security again. Although I can't remember if I cleared security at MUC when arriving from BRU and departing for SFO.
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Old Aug 24, 09, 2:32 pm
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Why not just buy a ticket on a flight that leaves T5? USA 3000 has low-cost flights that depart from T5 (even to domestic destinations like RSW).

AFAIK USA 3000 domestic passengers are co-mingled with the international passengers in the T5 departures area. You can even arrive into T5 on a domestic flight on USA 3000.

So I assume you could book a one-way domestic USA 3000 ticket, ORD-RSW, check-in, clear security, have a look around, and simply leave. It would cost you about $70 but your curiosity would be satiated.
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Old Aug 25, 09, 7:45 am
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Originally Posted by mktozd View Post
....The nicest lounges in T5 are probably the British Airways lounges...
Which really isn't saying much. The smallish First lounge is decent because it has windows but not much else exciting. The Terraces lounge is a dark cave...

T5 is not what I would call my favorite airline terminal in the world. Departures are fine if you are elite/first/business and have lounge access, otherwise you're stuck in the food court. Bleh. Try that when your TACA flight leaves at 2am...

Arrivals are a mixed bag. If you arrive at a gate near the middle the walk to C/I is short and, depending on lines, one can be on the train to the other terminals in no time. However, it seems most of my AA flights lately have come into gate 1 which means a lot of exercise to get to the arrivals hall...
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Old Aug 25, 09, 7:58 am
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I'm going to guess that most people getting off a plane at T5 are entering the US, either to Chicago, or to another domestic destination. As such, ORD is their "Port of Entry" and they have to clear customs and immigration. So the airport is set up so everyone getting off the plane has to go through customs and immigration.

Yes, it would be nice if they had a separate path for those going from one international flight at T5 to another (like in other international airports), but apparently the number of such passengers is small, especially when you realize that not all international flights depart from T5. United, Lufthansa, Air Canada, AA, Continental, and others leave from the other terminals, so you'd have to leave the sterile area to reach those flights anyway.
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Old Aug 25, 09, 8:28 am
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No Transit facilities in US

I do not believe that ANY US airport allows for transiting International passengers to land and take off without clearing immigration and customs, followed by TSA screening to board.
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Old Aug 25, 09, 8:30 am
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Originally Posted by Finite Elephant View Post
I'm going to guess that most people getting off a plane at T5 are entering the US, either to Chicago, or to another domestic destination. As such, ORD is their "Port of Entry" and they have to clear customs and immigration. So the airport is set up so everyone getting off the plane has to go through customs and immigration.

Yes, it would be nice if they had a separate path for those going from one international flight at T5 to another (like in other international airports), but apparently the number of such passengers is small, especially when you realize that not all international flights depart from T5. United, Lufthansa, Air Canada, AA, Continental, and others leave from the other terminals, so you'd have to leave the sterile area to reach those flights anyway.
Off the top of my head, I can't think of a single logical INTL would would make at ORD that involved a connection through T5. I can see going on to Canada, but those flights on AA,UA and AC all leave from T1/2/3. Maybe going on to Mexico on Mexicana, but I don't think the times line up. I suppose you might do an around the world connection going from AA to Japan Airlines, or maybe from *alliance flights trans-pacific onto an SAS or LX flight that leaves from T5 (ouch). But the options I come up with are few.

Back on the original topic - there really is nothing about T5 that makes my want a special trip just to see it. A pretty ordinary workaday terminal, especially since all the US airlines (as well as ANA, LH and others) depart from the domestic terminals, and all their departure lounges, etc. are over there. THAT alone seems fairly unique to the US however, are the other worldwide locations where it is common to have INTL flights depart from the domestic terminal?
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Old Aug 25, 09, 9:46 am
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Originally Posted by milepig View Post
THAT alone seems fairly unique to the US however, are the other worldwide locations where it is common to have INTL flights depart from the domestic terminal?
That's because the U-S does not have a document check upon exiting the country. (Neither does Canada, for that matter). Therefore, there's no particular reason to separate international departures from domestic ones, except for a few logistical things. Namely, duty free purchases must be held hostage until the passenger actually boards the plane...otherwise there would be no way to ensure that the int'l passenger isn't simply handing off his/her purchases to a domestic passenger.

Secondly, you have to move the airplane from the international arrival terminal to the "domestic" departure terminal. For airlines like AA or UA, I can see why they would want to do that at ORD. It surprises me that other int'l carriers do that also, except that it does certainly make alliance connections easier as someone connecting from DSM on UA to FRA on LH would not have to exit the secure area. But moving a jumbo jet around an airport just to make connections easier is no small task.
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Old Aug 25, 09, 11:05 am
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Originally Posted by fairviewroad View Post
Secondly, you have to move the airplane from the international arrival terminal to the "domestic" departure terminal. For airlines like AA or UA, I can see why they would want to do that at ORD. It surprises me that other int'l carriers do that also, except that it does certainly make alliance connections easier as someone connecting from DSM on UA to FRA on LH would not have to exit the secure area. But moving a jumbo jet around an airport just to make connections easier is no small task.
As far as I know, all the INTL carriers who use the domestic terminals are indeed part of alliances. At UA for example, LH and ANA use the domestic terminal while SAS, LOT, Austrian, and probably others I'm fogetting about do not. In the case of LH this makes lots of sense especially because UA and LH have a very tight relationship including revenue sharing on the TATL flights. LH uses the B16 RCC as their departure lounge since their flights all leave from that end of the terminal, and I believe they even have an agent at the RCC desk before their flights (at least I think I've seen one there). LH also has a dedicated checkin area at the front of T1 - ANA must as well, but I don't remember seeing it. Similarly AC uses T2, which is also in the United zone, even though they use T2 for express service. I would think this must be for easy outbound connections since the partner airlines all codeshare on the domestic UA flights. The inbound transfer is a pain, but such is life.

But there are certainly other exceptions to this rule. KLM flights leave from the INTL terminal not NW or DL, and BA departs from teh INTL terminal as well, but I think this goes waaaay back and I remember a period where they actually left from T1 (I think) so there is some history there.
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Old Aug 25, 09, 11:29 am
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Originally Posted by milepig View Post
THAT alone seems fairly unique to the US however, are the other worldwide locations where it is common to have INTL flights depart from the domestic terminal?
I suppose it is quite convenient for airport ops in that intl and domestic departures and arrivals can all co-exist at the same gate, like DFW, MIA, LAX where for intl arrivals, they direct ppl upstairs or downstairs via the escalators to the immigration area and for domestic arrivals, they simply block the escalators and open the door that leads back into the terminal, which is why I kinda wish ORD would install immigration facilities in terminals 1 and 3, where AA and UA are parked normally, it would save them from having to drive the planes back from terminal 5 and also not take up gate space at T5 where they have no other business aside from deplaning intl arrivals. Driving planes over from T5 back to T1 or T3 costs fuel and fuel costs money...
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Old Aug 25, 09, 11:31 am
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Originally Posted by fairviewroad View Post
Namely, duty free purchases must be held hostage until the passenger actually boards the plane...otherwise there would be no way to ensure that the int'l passenger isn't simply handing off his/her purchases to a domestic passenger.
so that's the countermeasure to the "buy a refundable intl ticket, buy duty free, and leave the airport and get the ticket refunded" trick...
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Old Aug 25, 09, 11:55 am
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Originally Posted by bniu View Post
so that's the countermeasure to the "buy a refundable intl ticket, buy duty free, and leave the airport and get the ticket refunded" trick...
Or simply have someone ask you to buy it for them and then hand it over to them. Seems like another of those "rules" where the enforecement goes waaaay beyond be potential for actual abuse.

Last edited by milepig; Aug 25, 09 at 3:21 pm
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