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Uber Chicago Airport: The Complete Guide for Passengers

Last updated: November 18, 2021
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vector graphic showing a map of the uber chicago airport pickup and dropoff locations

Chicago is the third-largest city in the United States and is served by two major international airports, including O’Hare International Airport (ORD).

The Windy City’s airports are located a little more than a dozen miles from the central business district in the town’s southwest and southeast parts, respectively.

Does Uber Operate at the Chicago Airport?

O’Hare International Airport, the larger of the two Chicago airports, is served by Uber.

However, passengers may find that the train offers the cheapest and the quickest transportation mode between their airport terminal and the downtown area.

A global survey ranked Chicago’s traffic as second-worst in the nation after New York City and seventh among more than 1,000 cities in 50 countries.

Uber takes 15-40 minutes on average to reach downtown Chicago from O’Hare International Airport, at the cost of $35-50.

What Uber Services Are Available at O’Hare?

Uber service at Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) is streamlined for both rider and driver.

The Uber services available from the airport include:

  • UberX
  • Comfort
  • UberXL
  • Uber Green
  • Uber Pet
  • Uber Black
  • Uber Espanol
  • Uber WAV

Just enter the app and select the ride you’re looking for.

How Does Uber Work at O’Hare?

The Uber drivers await fares at a staging area near Balmoral Avenue and another spillover area at the intersection of Mannheim and Montrose.

According to the airport agreement, Uber drivers may lose their place in the queue should they repeatedly cancel ride requests.

Uber Chicago Airport Pickups

Passengers may meet Uber drivers for pickup at three locations:

  • Terminal 5 at the Arrivals level
  • Between Terminal 1 and 2 at the Departures level
  • Between Terminal 2 and 3 at the Departures level

Uber Chicago Airport Drop-offs

Uber drivers may drop off passengers directly in front of their terminals, at the curbside.

Is It Better to Use Uber or Taxi from O’Hare?

When it comes to using an Uber or a taxi, the price differences are significant.

Uber is generally the cheaper option.

However, depending on where you’re going, the taxis may be better.

Uber also has safety features that taxis do not have, such as:

  • The ability to send your trip to your friends or family
  • The ability to note an emergency from your app
  • Voice recording abilities

Tips for Getting Dropped Off Successfully

When you’re taking an Uber to the Chicago airport, make sure you follow the following information.

  • Double-check the address for pickup and dropoff before you order the Uber
  • Inform your Uber driver of your terminal so they can drop you off at the correct location
  • Inform your Uber driver if you have luggage

Alternatives to Uber at O’Hare

Bottom line: The train is the cheapest and often quickest transportation mode between O’Hare International Airport (ORD) and downtown Chicago, located 17.5 miles away.

Shuttles

Passengers may connect to shuttle bus service to downtown Chicago or several regional busses offering transport to:

  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Wisconsin

The shuttle bus and regional bus pickup area are at Level 1 of the Main Parking Garage, near Terminal 1, between Elevator Centers 3 and 4.

Shuttle van service costs more than $25 and takes 15-40 minutes to reach downtown.

Taxis

Taxi service at O’Hare International Airport (ORD) is slightly more convenient than Uber and sometimes less expensive.

A taxi ride from O’Hare International Airport (ORD) to downtown Chicago may cost $40, compared to an Uber charge of $35-50 that could potentially surge to $140 or more.

According to the Chicago Transit Authority, the trip by car to downtown takes 15-40 minutes, depending upon the time of day.

However, that car trip may take as long as 90 minutes during the worst traffic times. Taxi Stands are located at the lower level outside of Baggage Claim.

Train

The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) operates trains that cost just $5 from O’Hare to downtown Chicago.

The trip takes approximately 45 minutes, which is far quicker during peak traffic times.

CTA’s Blue Line trains run every day of the week, at every hour.

The trains run from the O’Hare station to downtown and then to Forest Park.

At certain times in the day, they go to UIC-Halsted station as well.

CTA offers complimentary transfers to connecting lines at specific stations.

See the Blue Line Route Guide or Maps for connection information.

Passengers may also pay for a transfer to a bus route with a Ventra Card or Ventra Ticket or with a Pass.

Fare cards, tickets, and passes may be purchased and loaded at machine kiosks at the train stations.

When to Avoid Uber at O’Hare?

Experienced passengers advise that late-night arrivals sometimes see 20 minute waits for Uber or UberX.

For these times, it makes sense just to take a waiting taxi.

However, the quickest form of transportation between O’Hare International Airport (ORD) and downtown Chicago during peak traffic times may be the CTA train at approximately 45 minutes.

Visitors to the Second City should know that Chicago’s metropolitan city consistently ranks among the most congested areas of the country, second only to New York City.

The Chicago Transit Authority advises that an Uber or taxi ride may take 90 minutes during the worst traffic times.

Traffic flows in both directions, so this applies to departures and arrivals alike.

Passengers may transfer to connecting CTA train lines at designated stations for a fee.

Passengers may also pay for a transfer to a bus route with a Ventra Card or Ventra Ticket or with a Pass.

Fare cards, tickets, and passes may be purchased and loaded at machine kiosks at the train stations.

See the Orange Line Route Guide or Maps for connection information.

Beating the Traffic

Chicago is often referred to as America’s Second City for several reasons, including its rivalry with New York City, the nation’s largest.

Today, Chicago suffers from the second-worst traffic congestion and mobility in the United States — bested only by the Big Apple.

Chicago’s “rush hour” runs between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. on weekdays.

The evening rush hour runs longer from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays.

The hour between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. on Fridays is the absolute worst time in which to travel by car in the Chicago area.

Travelers headed to Chicago’s suburbs should also note that traffic gets congested in the outer regions too.

Traffic Congestion in an Uber

Uber provides excellent value and convenience for airport passengers in Chicago, multiplying transportation options and perhaps keeping taxi fares lower than otherwise.

Still, the fare cost and travel time vary significantly by time of day and between weekday to Friday evening’s weekend traffic.

Peak rush hour times may translate to 90-minute trips between O’Hare International Airport (ORD) and the downtown area, compared to 20-25 minutes by train.

For travelers seeking to rent a car, it might sometimes make sense to take the train downtown and book a rental from an agency in the central business district.

Depending upon the destination, it might also make sense to catch an Uber or taxi downtown, away from the airport.

Therefore, passengers should decide on transportation mode based on their time of arrival or departure via Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport (ORD).

Many passengers may also find that mixing modes of transportation may best suit their needs, depending upon their individual travel itineraries.

Whether to Uber Chicago airport or not should be planned carefully, ahead of time.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about Uber at the Chicago airport.

How should Uber drivers pick up passengers at O’Hare International Airport (ORD)?

The Uber driver picks up passengers at one of three locations:

  • Terminal 5 at the Arrivals level
  • Between Terminal 1 and 2 at the Departures level
  • Between Terminal 2 and 3 at the Departures level

The Uber drivers await fares at a staging area near Balmoral Avenue and another spillover area at the intersection of Mannheim and Montrose.

According to the airport agreement, Uber drivers may lose their place in the queue should they repeatedly cancel ride requests.

Like other airports, Uber passengers receive the same priority as anyone catching a cab or a different mode of transportation.

Even during overnight hours, the O’Hare International Airport (ORD) is served well by Uber drivers.

When is the best time to drive at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport (ORD)?

Obviously, the absolute best time to drive at O’Hare International Airport (ORD) is late at night or in the evening after rush hour, which spans four hours.

Additionally, late morning to early afternoon is the next most convenient time, during the period between morning and evening rush hours.

Driving at Chicago’s larger airport should be avoided during the weekday 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. rush hour.

The absolute worst time to drive at O’Hare International Airport (ORD) would be the Friday evening rush hour, with a peak between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m.

How much is Uber from O’Hare International Airport (ORD) to downtown Chicago?

An Uber from O’Hare International Airport (ORD) to downtown Chicago may cost $35-50 during most hours, with a possible surge to as much as $140 during peak times.

That peak Uber charge contrasts significantly to the CTA’s $5 cost for the train ride downtown or other locations in the metropolitan area.

For planning, Uber offers a ride request and estimate tool for trips in the area.

Wrapping Up

Uber offers convenient and mostly reasonable transportation options at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport (ORD).

Many passengers will enjoy the benefits of Uber in the marketplace.

Indeed, the addition of more transportation options at the airport helps to keep fares as low as possible.

Still, clogged highways and streets lengthen travel time whether the passenger takes an Uber, taxi, or shuttle van.

Thus, passengers must plan their itineraries carefully to consider the best way to mix-and-mix modes of transportation.

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