Arriving passengers at Chicago O'Hare International Airport bound for downtown Chicago have approximately 17 miles remaining in the journey. Downtown hotels do not offer complimentary shuttles from O'Hare, so in addition to trains, taxis and town cars, the shared ride service called Airport Express is a moderately-priced option.
Tickets can be pre-booked online, via the app or purchased on arrival from counters near each terminal's baggage claim area. Since airport taxi lines can be long and crowded highways can slow a journey down while the meter ticks away, O'Hare's downtown shuttle service is popular. The fixed cost is not affected by traffic delays, every downtown hotel is covered by the routes and the service is door-to-door.
It's worth noting that the Hilton Chicago O'Hare is the only hotel at the airport and that several hotels located near the airport operate complimentary shuttles to and from O'Hare International Airport.
Shared Mini-Van Ride
Airport Express connects O'Hare International Airport (and Midway Airport) to suburban and city locations, including all downtown Chicago hotels. This ground transportation service is certified by the Illinois Commerce Commission and is currently the sole airport operator with this credential. Therefore, the seven-passenger white vans with the green "Go" logo are permitted to load passengers at the inner curb just outside of baggage claim at each of the four terminals at O'Hare. The service operates seven days a week, 365 days a year from 4 a.m. until 11:30 p.m.
All Downtown Hotels
Airport Express from O'Hare International Airport for all 90-plus downtown hotels departs every 10 to 15 minutes throughout the day. Passengers can book ahead 24 hours a day online by providing their flight and hotel details. While encouraged, reservations are not necessary other than for those requiring an accessible van.
Catch the Shuttle
Airport Express ticket counters and loading zones are located at each of O'Hare's three domestic terminals and at the international terminal. These counters are found in the baggage claim areas on the lower levels. Ticket locations are Terminal 1E, Terminal 2D, Terminal 3F and Terminal 5E, where those without a ticket for the downtown shuttle may make payment in cash or by credit card. Frequent flyers with iOS smartphones may note that bookings can also be made via the free Go Airport Express app, available on iTunes.
Some downtown hotels offer guests a discount code via their website, for example, Sheraton Hotel and Towers provides 15 percent off the transfer service. Questions can be answered by Airport Express reservations agents available from 6 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. or by calling 1-888-284-3826.
Many Chicago conventions offer a booking discount code for riding the Airport Express to their official downtown hotels. An updated list with applicable codes for use by delegates appears on the shuttle service's website. For those not requiring drop off at the hotel's front door, an Airport Express Value Van represents approximately 40 percent savings to downtown. The service departs from Terminals 1E and 3E, runs every half hour from 4 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. with stops at Merchandise Mart, Willis Tower, Presidential Towers and AON Center only and does not require pre-booking.