The History of Chicago’s First Airport
Just after Charles Lindbergh made his historic transatlantic flight, Chicago Air Park was borne. The 320 acre air park started with one cinder runway that was primarily used for airmail flights. Dedicated in 1927 as a commercial airport by Mayor William H. Thompson, the facility was renamed Chicago Municipal Airport. Immediately, the airport grew in popularity. By 1928 the airport boasted 100 planes with 12 hangers, expanded runways, taxiways, and ramps. They also added up-to-date airfield lighting making evening flights possible. During that year, 14,498 flights flew in and out of the airport carrying a total of 41,660 passengers. The following year Chicago Municipal Airport was recognized as the busiest in the world. In 1949 the airport was again renamed to Chicago-Midway Airport in honor of the battle of Midway fought on the Pacific front during World War II.
Chicago-Midway Becomes Major Airport for Illinois & Midwest
Over the years the facility has made many updates and expansions, transforming it into the modern international air center that it is today. In 1996 the historic Midway Airport Terminal Development Program was announced, becoming the largest public works project in the state of Illinois. In 1999 the Midway Airport Parking Garage was opened, offering covered airport parking for the first time. In 2001 the Midway Airport Terminal Building opened which offered expanded ticket counters, increased baggage claim areas, traveler information, and a 50,000 square-foot food court. Due to the expansions, in 2012 the airport recorded its highest passenger total with more than 19.5 million passengers flying in and out of the facility. The following year more than 20 million passengers passed through the facility. In 2015, the CDA announced another expansion project for Chicago-Midway International Airport in order to keep up with the increasing demands.
Currently, Chicago-Midway Airport handles an average of 700 daily arrivals and departures for commercial airlines such as Delta, North Country Sky, Porter Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and Volaris Airlines. Over 22 million passengers fly in and out of Chicago-Midway Airport each year, making it a major air center for Illinois and surrounding Midwest regions.
Tips for Traveling Through Chicago-Midway International Airport
When flying out of the airport, it is best to arrive early to have ample time to park, check your bags, move through the security checkpoint, and find your terminal. Time spent at security can vary widely. Chicago-Midway Airport recommends arriving at least 2 hours early for domestic flights and three hours early for international flights. If you are flying in the early morning or other heavy travel periods such as holidays you should consider giving yourself more time.
In order to minimize the time spent at security, it is important to be prepared with your ID and boarding pass ready to hand to the TSA officer. It is also important to ensure you do not have any prohibited items such as oversize liquids or knives prior to getting in line. Liquids in your carry-on bag must be 3.4 ounces or less and all bottles must fit in a single quart size plastic bag and placed in a bin for screening. If you have larger volumes of liquid you need to transport pack it in your checked-in luggage instead of your carry on. Also, stay away from wearing bulky jewelry, hair accessories, carrying excess items in your pocket, etc… as these things are likely to require additional screening.
Click here for additional tips on avoiding delays at MDW.
Airport Parking Accommodations
Chicago-Midway International Airport offers both short-term and long-term parking, as well as an Economy lot. Discount off-site airport parking is available through Chicago-Midway Park Ride & Fly, which you can pre-book. This Chicago-Midway airport parking option conveniently offers complimentary luggage handling, parking discounts, and curb-to-curb shuttle services to make traveling to and from the airport easy.