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ORD Intl inefficiency due to using different terminals for arrival and departure

ORD Intl inefficiency due to using different terminals for arrival and departure

Old Oct 23, 17, 1:19 pm
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ORD Intl inefficiency due to using different terminals for arrival and departure

Flying in and out of ORD last week got me thinking about this issue. International arriving flights on UA arrive into M; meanwhile, these flights depart out of B or C. Thus, United has to empty out the aircraft at M and tow them over to B or C before loading them up and sending them along to their destination.

Have there been discussions about changing this set up? I’d imagine that having to tow the aircraft like they do simply adds time and cost. Likely takes longer to turn around an aircraft at ORD than at other airports. Why weren’t B and C built with their own Immigration facilities?
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Old Oct 23, 17, 1:27 pm
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Originally Posted by sannmann View Post
Why weren’t B and C built with their own Immigration facilities?
The legacy of the Daley political machine
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Old Oct 23, 17, 1:30 pm
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Originally Posted by sannmann View Post
Have there been discussions about changing this set up? I’d imagine that having to tow the aircraft like they do simply adds time and cost. Likely takes longer to turn around an aircraft at ORD than at other airports. Why weren’t B and C built with their own Immigration facilities?
Do international flights at ORD typically turn immediately? I thought a lot of them got a bit better service and cleaning at the hub. And if their not immediately turning does the tow add much in the way of cost vs. a tow from gate to open up the space for another aircraft?

That said, I find it supremely annoying to get off an international arrival and have to go take an outdoor airport train, especially in winter, just to connect.
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Old Oct 23, 17, 1:42 pm
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Originally Posted by drewguy View Post
Do international flights at ORD typically turn immediately?
Not too clear on the narrowbody arrivals from Latin America/Caribbean, but I think the GRU/TPAC/TATL flights typically arrive in the morning/early afternoon and turn back in the late afternoon and evening, which gives UA ample time to do the deep cleaning/light maintenance as you mentioned.
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Old Oct 23, 17, 1:57 pm
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I've had numerous Int'l flights delayed out of B/C in ORD due to delays in getting the aircraft towed/pulled from M. Definitely agree it is inefficient.
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Old Oct 23, 17, 1:57 pm
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There is a plan in the works now to redo the terminals and, as I understand it, add more customs & immigration facilities in the other terminals. Terminal 1 would be greatly expanded by building new branches off of the C concourse, and Terminal 2 would become a hub for Star Alliance international carriers (both for arrivals and departures).
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Old Oct 23, 17, 2:20 pm
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Originally Posted by sannmann View Post
Likely takes longer to turn around an aircraft at ORD than at other airports.
UA can arrive at EWR B and then get towed to C. UA can arrive at LAX TBIT and then get towed to T7.


What insider information of UA's ops do you have to know this is inefficient? Perhaps it's the most efficient use of schedule meeting gate availability.
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Old Oct 23, 17, 2:21 pm
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Originally Posted by rmadisonwi View Post
There is a plan in the works now to redo the terminals and, as I understand it, add more customs & immigration facilities in the other terminals. Terminal 1 would be greatly expanded by building new branches off of the C concourse, and Terminal 2 would become a hub for Star Alliance international carriers (both for arrivals and departures).
This will be great once it's done in 10 years.
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Old Oct 23, 17, 2:40 pm
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Originally Posted by JVPhoto View Post
UA can arrive at EWR B and then get towed to C. UA can arrive at LAX TBIT and then get towed to T7.


What insider information of UA's ops do you have to know this is inefficient? Perhaps it's the most efficient use of schedule meeting gate availability.
No insider information. Just an observation of a well-travelled 1K who noticed that there has to be a cost associated with towing the planes from one side of the airport to another.
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Old Oct 23, 17, 2:46 pm
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Originally Posted by rmadisonwi View Post
There is a plan in the works now to redo the terminals and, as I understand it, add more customs & immigration facilities in the other terminals. Terminal 1 would be greatly expanded by building new branches off of the C concourse, and Terminal 2 would become a hub for Star Alliance international carriers (both for arrivals and departures).
I look forward to completion in 2098.
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Old Oct 23, 17, 2:47 pm
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The Int'l arrivals at ORD is a cess pit

Poor lighting, dirty floors
GE exit is not marked, down a dimly lit passageway

just Uggghhh
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Old Oct 23, 17, 2:51 pm
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Originally Posted by Hipplewm View Post
The Int'l arrivals at ORD is a cess pit

Poor lighting, dirty floors
GE exit is not marked, down a dimly lit passageway

just Uggghhh
I especially like all the DHS posters with QR codes to scan...right next to signs saying that the use of mobile phones is prohibited.
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Old Oct 23, 17, 3:30 pm
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Originally Posted by JVPhoto View Post
UA can arrive at EWR B and then get towed to C. UA can arrive at LAX TBIT and then get towed to T7.
At EWR, UA will preferentially schedule aircraft with shorter turns to arrive at C. In practice, this results in more narrowbodies on C-3 since they can turn quickly to a domestic flight following an international inbound. During the midday hours, widebodies more frequently arrive on B-2/3, unload and tow to the 'Ballpark' or 'Wilbur' where maintenance/cleaning/etc. is performed before towing back to C for departure.

In both cases (LAX/EWR), UA has access to FIS facilities in its 'home' terminal, which greatly simplifies operations and connections. At EWR, the split operation is a space constraint, while at LAX, the limited hours of the T-6/7 FIS will push some flights to TBIT as well.
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Old Oct 23, 17, 4:13 pm
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Be happy they tow the airplanes

Be happy they don't make you travel from the United Terminals to go to the international terminal to connect to an international flight. You'd have a lot more connections blown in ORD. The train and no pre-check is a major
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Old Oct 23, 17, 4:33 pm
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I the proposed new Western terminal was supposed to address this for UA (and possibly AA) but they wouldn't buy in to it and I have no idea where that project stands now.
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