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Customs waiting time ORD (O'Hare International Airport) T5

Piraeus, Greece
posts: 2
Customs waiting time ORD (O'Hare International Airport) T5

Hey everyone!This is my first time travelling overseas.I will be arriving in Chicago,ORD, Terminal 5 from Paris,France on December 12th, 3 pm. Lay over is 2 hours and then I fly from Terminal 1 to Denver. I am a european citizen.

I have been reading reviews here about waiting times and I've seen anything from 20 minutes to 2 hours. According to the information provided and based on your personal experience will I make it?

34 replies to this topic
Limerick, Ireland
posts: 1,706
1. Re: Customs waiting time ORD (O'Hare International Airport) T5

go to cbp.gov /

Watford, United...
posts: 3,663
reviews: 12
2. Re: Customs waiting time ORD (O'Hare International Airport) T5

No one will be able to tell you whether you will make it or not.

If your flight is on time and there are not that many international flights in front you may be ok. However if you are late in and there are a bunch of international flights before you you may not be.

If you miss your connection and are booked on one ticket the airline will put you on the next available flight free of charge.

Geneva, Switzerland
Destination Expert
for Geneva, Liechtenstein, Air Travel
posts: 3,213
reviews: 263
3. Re: Customs waiting time ORD (O'Hare International Airport) T5

ORD is an efficient airport, and normally immigration is not too long. But if you get there right after a B747, it will be longer obviously. And it is not unusual for an intercontinental flight to be late.

Now the main question is whether you bought one single ticket or two. If you are on one single ticket, as written above, worse case scenario would see you moved to the next available flight. But if you are on two different tickets, you might loose the second one! In this latter case, do consider changing the second flight to a later one.

Piraeus, Greece
posts: 2
4. Re: Customs waiting time ORD (O'Hare International Airport) T5

Thank you all for your responses!I booked my trip through United airlines (from Athens GR to Spokane WA) so one price for multiple flights..I'm guessing that means single ticket (I'm not very familiar with the terms since I'm not travelling by plane often). That kind of reassures me a little bit.

Geneva, Switzerland
Destination Expert
for Geneva, Liechtenstein, Air Travel
posts: 3,213
reviews: 263
5. Re: Customs waiting time ORD (O'Hare International Airport) T5

Yes, single ticket. So you are on the safe side.

Chicago, Illinois
posts: 5,138
reviews: 75
6. Re: Customs waiting time ORD (O'Hare International Airport) T5

"ORD is an efficient airport, and normally immigration is not too long. "

I'm sorry, but I'm laughing. I know Swissdiver, you are the air travel expert and I am not. But as a Chicago native, I have arrived there a lot and can't remember the last time as a US citizen I spent less than 45 minutes waiting in the immigration line. I live about 30 minutes from the airport and if my wife is picking me up, she does not even bother leaving home until my flight has landed. I signed up for global entry this spring specifically because O'hare's immigration lines were so long. Maybe it depends what time of day your flight lands.

One time last year, it was so bad, the crowds filled all the roped off lanes and the aisle leading to the escalator coming down from the gates. People were getting on the escalator at the top and there was no room to get off the bottom and people at the bottom were getting crushed and security was running around trying to arrange the line at the bottom and hold people at the top.

It's not always that bad, and there's a new program with kiosks for certain travelers that are shortening the lines a lot, but the last thing I'd have called it is "efficient."

Actually, too, most of the big US international airports (ORD, MIA, JFK, EWR, LAX, etc.) are the same. US immigration is just slow. We don't allow for transit passengers so everyone has to go through it, even if you're only connecting to another international flight. O'Hare is bad but I'm not sure it's any worse than the others.

Arcadia, California
posts: 792
reviews: 20
7. Re: Customs waiting time ORD (O'Hare International Airport) T5

This link will give you a rough idea:

http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/travel/wait_times/

Romford, United...
posts: 2,045
reviews: 23
8. Re: Customs waiting time ORD (O'Hare International Airport) T5

Transit ORD on a regular basis and as an "alien" I can tell you that you need to allow a minimum of 3hrs to clear INS/Customs and get to the terminal/gate for your next flight unless you pre-clear in Ireland/Canada etc

I believe it was Wes that mentioned in one of his previous posts that the chances of making it in 2hrs or less are better if your flight arrives earlier in morning than in the afternoon

Geneva, Switzerland
Destination Expert
for Geneva, Liechtenstein, Air Travel
posts: 3,213
reviews: 263
9. Re: Customs waiting time ORD (O'Hare International Airport) T5

Happy, Wes, you had a good laugh!

Compared to IAD or MIA, I can tell you, ORD immigration is a treat! And I regularly use it!

Now is 2 hours challenging? Probably. But as long the trip is on one single ticket, the OP is on the safe side!

Chicago, Illinois
posts: 5,138
reviews: 75
10. Re: Customs waiting time ORD (O'Hare International Airport) T5

Never flew through IAD. But I agree that compared to Miami, Chicago does look pretty easy. I just wish when I come home to the USA, I could get through immigration as fast as when I arrive at most other countries.

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