OT: Flying in Chicago O'Hare Airport

I am making a trip to Indiana to visit a college with my DD and can’t decide which airport to fly into. To fly into Indianapolis will be about $240 more, but it’s only about an hour from the school. Chicago is about a 2- 1/2 hour drive. We are going to fly out on a Wednesday, visit the school on Thursday and fly back home the same night. I guess what I am wondering is how easy or difficult it is to get out of and back into the Chicago airport, especially with renting a car? I’ve never flown into there before. Some airports are easy and others are just confusing to drive around. Seeing that we will be on a tight time schedule, I trying to avoid as many hassels as possible with getting back to the airport and returning the car.
Thanks for any help!

Can you fly into Chicago Midway? That’s on the south side of town and would be closer to Indiana. Plus Southwest airlines goes there and that is a nice cheap airline. Ohare is pretty far north and there can be tons of traffic so your 2 1/2 hour might take more like 5.

If Midway is not too much more expensive, I’d second that. It is not too difficult to rent a car and get in and out of O’hare, nor is it difficult at Midway, and I’ve done both. I’ve also driven from Indiana (Indianapolis and Bloomington) to Chicago several times. I’m not sure how far into Indiana you’re going (I think I can technically reach Indiana in 10 or 15 minutes), Lafayette maybe? But because of the placement of the freeways and such, driving to Indy from Ohare is not that much worse than driving there to Indy from Midway unless, like Chrissie said, you come at a trafficky time of day. Non traffic driving time from Ohare to where I live (which is almost exactly as south as Midway) is about 45 minutes.

I’m trying to make the exact same decision. Do I fly with DD into Des Moines or Moline? One is cheaper flight with more expensive rental car and a six hour roundtrip drive, the other is quite a bit more expensive, but less travel time and no out-of-state car rental.

For me, your problem is much more cut and dry. :shrug: You couldn’t pay me to fly into Chicago and then have to drive out. I would pay the extra money to fly into Indiana. Plus if you rent a car in Illinois, it will be more expensive if you’re taking it into Indiana.

What college is she looking at?

Actually, they don’t charge you any more to drive it out of state. I’ve done this several times.

I fly in and out of Chicago O´Hare every summer when I visit my mother. Renting a car is easy - they have a free phone in the terminal that you can call the rental car agency to come pick you up with their bus ( I have my rental lined up before I leave - EASY to do online and you can comparison shop! ) But I find driving back into the airport can be bad with traffic. But if you allow yourself some extra time, it´s no sweat! And I´d rather sit at the airport than in traffic worrying if you´re going to make your flight or not!

Enjoy your trip, I loved looking at schools, and let us know how it goes! Karen

Thanks everyone! We are going to go look a Purdue University. She has been accepted, but we didn’t want to visit it sooner and spend the money if she wasn’t going to get in. Chicago may be cutting it too close (time-wise) and possibly having to rush especially if the weather turns bad. I think I would rather drive an hour in lousy weather than two and a half. The amount of traffic too in Chicago is another good point. I may cross my fingers and wait another day and see if the Indy flights come down. They were $99 each way on Monday and then jumped up the next day. I rechecked this morning and some are back down to $108. Ughhhh…I hate this.

I didn’t know about Chicago Midway. Thanks! I’ll check it out.

I’m a proud PROUD Purdue grad (1999) !!! I hope she looooooooves it!!! From O’Hare it should take you about 2.5 hours…and I’d say the same or a little shorter from Midway (I live about 20 minutes from O’Hare, and made the trek back and forth to Purdue many many many MANY times!!)

She’s excited about it. It’s the largest of the schools she’s applied to. All of the others are 5000 students or less. I think she would like a larger school, but the distance from home is the only thing I worry about. (She doesn’t seem too concerned about it though!)

It’s a great school! What is she studying?

She’ll be in the engineering program. She’s still undecided on which area of study, but I think the first year is all general classes for engineering. She’s interested in structural and chemical at this point. At least at Purdue, they offer many different degrees for her to choose from. I hope she likes it too. On their web site it looks like a really nice campus and they have a lot to offer the students.

I went to Purdue as well (2001…it would have been 1999 if I didn’t change my major every year)…well, a regional campus, but darnit, my diploma says Purdue! The Indy airport is on the west side of town, so it would be very easy to hop on to I-65 and drive up to Lafayette. I used to live in Indy and worked about 15 minutes from the airport. It’s pretty easy to get in and out of.

Purdue is known for their engineering programs, so she’d be making a good choice by going there. And if she pursues chemical engineering, there is enough industry in the area (pharmaceutical, etc) to support internships and the like.

Good luck!