I’ve flown a lot this summer. With my sister’s job as a flight attendant I can fly standby domestically for basically free. Standby is crazy because it’s a total gamble. It took me 18 hours and 4 airports to get home from LA in July. So I figured as a paying customer with guaranteed seats my international travel would be a sinch.
No. I spent the night in Chicago O’Hare International Airport last night. Here are some pro-tips for roughing it in the terminal.
10. So you missed your connecting flight. Don’t panic. Of course you missed it; ORD is notoriously the WOAT. And all the gate agents are busy getting off their shifts or dealing with passengers angrier than you.
Hack: rebooking stations throughout the terminal. Just go and pick up an ancient device that looks like a payphone to connect automatically with a real person who will help you for free.
9. There is more than one Starbucks in Terminal 3. Don’t waste your time waiting for your americano behind common white girls’ lattes and macchiatos.
Hack: the hidden, bigger Starbs is at gate K15.
8. There is no free wifi connection. You can have one 30-minute free trial connection per device. Choose and use wisely.
Hack: the Starbys mentioned above (at K15) has free attwifi.
7. Everything shuts down by midnight, except the McDonald’s at the intersection of H & K.
Hack: the employees are friendly and there’s a security camera in case you get scared.
6. If you can pull an all-nighter till 4 am, and you’re willing to pay $60 for a day pass, you can sleep at the fancy people’s Admirals Club.
The club’s hack: they’re currently under construction so one-time guests aren’t allowed.
5. Just outside the country club are several couches.
Hack: they’re decently comfortable for a nap in the wee hours of the morning.
4. But if you’re sleeping there you’ll need a blanket.
Hack: Hudson News (located at literally every corner) sells fleece blankets for less than $20. Do not, I repeat DO NOT spend upwards of $40 on a tacky tourist sweatshirt.
3. Smoking is prohibited in the terminal and within 15 feet of the doors, and the intercom will remind you every hour.
2. If your caffeine fix hasn’t kicked in yet, stop by Harley Davidson. They are blaring heavy rock over the stereo and their hilariously overpriced t-shirts.
1. Don’t worry, you’re not crazy. That wall of frankincense you hit head-on like a bird smacking against a glass door is coming from the Duty Free Store. I thought I was imagining it, too.