As it turns out, you can get to the airport too early. Especially when traveling with kids. On our recent trip to we decided it would be easier to drive to the airport and park in long-term parking. This means driving to the airport, parking, hoping on a shuttle bus, then up to the tram to the terminal, and then walking across and down to the airport. We gave ourselves plenty of time to get this all done. Plus we were flying JetBlue for the first time, we had no idea what the check-in process would be like, how long the lines would be. As luck would have it, the bus was there waiting for us, the tram too, there was no line at JetBlue or and at security we got to skip the long line and go to family line (which was empty). Great! Well, except that now we had close to 3 hours to kill at the airport. With two kids. One that was asking “can we get on the plane yet” at least every thirty-seconds.
We took our time getting to the terminal and checked out a few displays they have in the terminal. Honestly, in all my years in Chicago I have never wondered why the airport was called O’Hare. I had no clue it was named after a WWII fighter pilot. Sad, I know. I am sure I have breezed past his plane many times.
After finding our gate, at the far end of the terminal, we took the time to eat some decent food. This was not without challenges. We were in Terminal 2. This is the most god awful terminal at O’Hare, at least as far as eating goes. The best they have to offer is a mini Chili’s restaurant, which had a line around the corner. As a rule I don’t wait in lines to get in anywhere, I am certainly not waiting in line to eat crappy nuked food being passed off as an overpriced meal. Our only option was to trek it to the next terminal. Eating did not kill near enough time so we headed to the kids play area they have in between terminals. It is a great thing to take advantage of when traveling with kids. It is all gated in so the kids can’t easily escape. The area has plenty of seating for parents and tons of fun stuff to keep the kids occupied. We figured it was a good opportunity to let the kids burn some energy before sitting on a plane for four hours. After about an hour we headed back to the gate. Boarding was still awhile off so we settled in, the three year-old watched the planes take off and land while the rest of us read.
If you have time to kill at O’Hare with the kids here are a few things to check out:
• Lt. Edward Henry O’Hare’s fighter plane in Terminal 2.
• Aerial photos in the hallway between Terminal 2 and 3.
• Mini Lincoln Memorial outside of Terminal 2.
• Kids play area also outside Terminal 2.
• A fabulous view of the planes landing and taking off at the far end of Concourse E.
I was exhausted before vacation even started!