1.65 million passengers expected at Chicago airports during Thanksgiving season

The Chicago Department of Aviation projects 1.65 million passengers will stream through O'Hare and Midway airports this Thanksgiving season, surpassing 2022 totals.

Sunday will be the busiest day at both airports with nearly 300,000 people expected, the CDA reported.

U.S. Transportation Security Administration officials advised flyers to arrive at terminals two hours in advance to check bags and pass through security.

The agency is ready for the flood of passengers, TSA Administrator David Pekoske said.

"We will also do our best to maintain wait time standards of under 10 minutes for TSA PreCheck lanes and under 30 minutes for standard screening lanes," he said in a statement.

Here are five things to know if you're departing, arriving or picking up at O'Hare or Midway this week.

• Over 226,000 passengers will surge through O'Hare Sunday with 59,000 anticipated at Midway. Between Tuesday and Nov. 27, travel at O'Hare will spike by 1.5% and at Midway by 1% compared to 2022, airlines project.

• If you're picking up travelers, the airports offer $3 hourly parking. Or you can wait in a free cellphone lot located at 560 N. Bessie Coleman Drive for O'Hare and West 61st Street and South Cicero Avenue for Midway.

• Instead of circling around the long-term economy parking at O'Hare, you can book a spot in advance at The website also advises on how full lots are.

• Pumpkin pie is fine as a carry-on but liquids such as gravy, wine or cranberry must go into checked bags unless they're 3.4 ounces or less, the TSA warns. If you have questions, go to, text #275-872 ("AskTSA") or try @AskTSA on X, formerly known as Twitter.

• Plenty of live music will be dished up at both airports. On Tuesday, blues guitarist Eric Noden performs at O'Hare's Terminal 1 bridge from 9 a.m. to noon and the CoverGirls Violin Show debuts at Terminal 3's rotunda from 1 to 4 p.m. For entertainment schedules, go to

Turkey trotting? Here's our 2023 holiday travel preview - with a side of stress

Holiday travel is projected to increase at O'Hare and Midway international airports this Thanksgiving season compared to 2022. Daily Herald file photo
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