A closer look at Chicago Midway
The story behind Chicago’s first airport
Charles Lindburgh’s historic transatlantic flight in 1927 was more than a spark for the yet-unrealized aviation industry to come. His groundbreaking journey also spurred the development of what would become Chicago Midway International Airport, which is one of the world’s busiest air-travel hubs today.
1927 also marked the opening of Chicago Air Park. First used primarily for airmail flights, the 320-acre facility and its one cinder runway was dedicated as a commercial airport by Mayor William H. Thompson and renamed Chicago Municipal Airport later that year. By 1928, the airport grew to include 100 planes and 12 hangars along with expanded runways, taxiways and ramps. The addition of modernized lighting made evening flights possible, and 14,498 flights carrying 41,660 passengers took off and landed at the airport that year.
In 1929, Chicago Municipal Airport was recognized as the busiest in the world, and in 1949, the airport was renamed Chicago Midway to honor the World War II battle of Midway on the Pacific front.
Recent Chicago Midway International Airport Milestones
Since the last century, Chicago Midway has undergone several updates and expansions that have maintained its status as one of the world’s preeminent airports.
1996: The announcement of the Midway Airport Terminal Development Program marks the largest public works project in Illinois history.
1999: The Midway Airport Parking Garage opens, offering covered parking for the first time.
2001: The new Midway Airport Terminal Building opens with expanded ticket counters and baggage claim areas as well as traveler information kiosks and a 50,000 square-foot food court.
2012: The airport reports its highest ever traveler volume with more than 19.5 million passengers flying in and out of the facility.
2013: Chicago Midway exceeds its previous travel volume record with more than 20 million passengers.
2015: The Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) announces a new expansion project to help Chicago Midway keep up with increasing traveler demand.
Travel Tips for Chicago Midway Airport
- Get to the airport early to allow time for parking, checking your bags, going through security and getting to your gate
- Chicago Midway recommends arriving at least two hours before domestic flights and 3 hours before international flights
- Consider arriving earlier during especially busy travel times such as early in the morning or on holidays
- Have your identification and boarding pass ready for the TSA officer
- Make sure your carry-on liquids are 3.4 ounces or less and are contained in a single quart-size plastic bag
- Pack any liquids over 3.4 ounces in checked luggage
- Avoid wearing bulky jewelry, hair accessories and excess items in your pockets that could require additional screening
Additional ways to avoid delays at Chicago Midway Airport.
Parking Options at Chicago Midway
On-site short-term, long-term and economy parking lots aren’t the only parking option at the Chicago Midway Airport. Park Ride & Fly offers budget-friendly, off-site parking that allows you to save money and time and book in advance to eliminate searching for a spot. Chicago Midway Park Ride & Fly also provides on-demand shuttle service to and from the terminal, luggage assistance and discounts that make airport parking a breeze.