You have two options of airports to fly into and out of in both Houston and Chicago. You can fly direct to Chicago O’Hare from either Houston Hobby Airport (William P. Hobby Airport) or the George Bush Intercontinental Airport. Airlines that fly this route include United, American, Southwest and Spirit. Houston Hobby also connects directly to Chicago Midway Airport from Tuesdays through Fridays via Southwest Airlines. Your average travel time is just around 2 and a half hours for direct flight. If you choose to take a flight with a connection, travel between Houston and Chicago O’Hare is hosted be Frontier, Delta and JetBlue.
Information on the airports
George Bush Intercontinental is Houston’s largest airport. When you arrive there, there are a range of parking options to choose from, including parking conveniently placed at each terminal, so you’ll want to check your departure terminal beforehand. Other options include ecopark, corporate parking, instapark ticketless payment, and parking plus. And the airport parking website allows you to see which lots have space available, both for George Bush Intercontinental and Houston Hobby. Once you’re inside the airport, the skyway and subway provide you with speedy connections in between its five terminals. Houston Hobby is also well equipped to serve your needs. There is only one terminal, but you also have options for ecopark, ticketless payment, valet, and corporate parking.
Both George Bush Intercontinental and Houston Hobby have free, easy to access Wi-Fi in each terminal for whatever business or entertainment needs you may have, and are both equipped with a range of restaurants and retail services.
Chicago O’Hare is a huge airport, but that doesn’t mean it’s hard to get around. When you arrive, signs will direct you to your luggage collection point, and there are numerous options for pick up. Public transport connections to downtown Chicago and surrounding suburbs is provided in the form of buses and trains by CTA, Metra Rail, and Pace Suburban Bus. If you’re returning to Chicago, the airport offers short and long-term daily parking options, plus separate lots for longer term economy parking, valet parking, and a specific lot for those arriving or departing from international flights.
If you’re arriving in Chicago Midway, you have a number of options for getting to your destination. If you’re being picked up, the party meeting is not allowed to wait at the curb of your terminal, however, the airport provides a convenient “cell phone lot” where they can wait free of charge until you notify them that you are ready to be picked up. Public transport, hired drivers, taxis and rental cars are also available, so if you’re interested in these options, have a look at Skyscanner’s information on Chicago Midway airport, or if you’re looking to rent a car from either airport, check out our page on car rental in Chicago to find the best deal.
Both Chicago airports offer a full range of retail and dining amenities, as well as yoga rooms which are free for public use, so if you need to refresh yourself before leaving the airport, there are plenty of spots to do just that!
What to expect: security
All passengers need to show a photo ID issued by the government before they are allowed to pass through security and board there flight. If you are remaining within the US, you don’t have to show a passport – a driver’s license will also work – however, for any international travel, make sure your passport is with you. For further information on traveling with children, and on alternate forms of ID that are accepted, please refer to the official TSA website (https://www.tsa.gov/travel/security-screening/identification).
It’s recommended that you arrive 2 hours in advance of domestic flights to make sure that you have plenty of time to check in and go through security without hassle.
Time zone and Climate
Both Houston and Chicago are in the Central Time Zone, so you don’t have to worry about checking that your clocks are adjusted. Thanks to Houston’s southerly location, it has a much warmer climate than Chicago, so you might be in for a surprise, especially if you’re travelling in winter. Houston averages a high of 84 °F in August, the warmest month, and even in the coldest winter months it only gets down, on average, to 53 °F. Chicago’s summer temperatures are roughly the same, but its winters dip down into the low 20s, with overnight lows dropping into the low 20s and teens. Unlike Houston, Chicago is far removed from hurricane season and tropical storms, but it’s proximity to Lake Michigan can lead sometimes lead to heavy fog or severe thunderstorms, if the conditions are right. Although it has a reputation as the “Windy City”, Chicago does not actually experience unusually higher winds than many other US cities, with wind speeds maxing out at 19 mph in the turbulent spring months, but usually much calmer. Instead you tend to get a refreshing lake breeze by which you can enjoy the lakefront skyline.
All information on prices and airlines valid as of November 2015.