As Rohan reported there is now an O’Hare airside shuttle to Terminal 5. I transited O’Hare over the weekend for a business trip to Berlin. I was in Terminal 3, expecting to depart there, but I soon realized AirBerlin now departs from Terminal 5. Not ideal, but it is at least convenient to have this option and not have to re-clear security. Here are some of my thoughts on this new feature. (note: AirBerlin is now out of business, but the terminal shuttle is still running, and a convenient option to get to T5 while staying airside).
Despite my past memory and several O’Hare sites, plus the oneworld lounge finder showing that AirBerlin departing T3, apparently they now depart from Terminal 5. I was told this was a recent change. I am working in Berlin this week, so a nonstop flight was convenient. Still, I very much miss Main Cabin Extra, and possibly an upgrade when flying American across the pond. Due to price, AirBerlin was my only valid option for this trip.
My first stop at O’Hare was the American Airlines
Flagship International First Class Lounge. There I was hoping the agents could print my boarding card, and I’d have a few hours between flights to relax in a small and dated, but comfortable space. I struck out on both accounts, and I was told that AirBerlin now departs from Terminal 5. Thankfully the nice agent reminded me about the O’Hare Airside shuttle over to T5.
As Rohan stated, it is available between 10:30AM and 8PM each day. The shuttle departs every 15 or 20 minutes. On my day of travel, the shuttle stopped running between 1:30 and 2:30. That meant I had to leave the lounge in T3 earlier than I had would have otherwise. I didn’t have a boarding card, but by showing my passport and my itinerary, I was able to access the bus.
Taking the O’Hare Airside Shuttle
The ride across the tarmac was good for viewing airplanes, and I would have had more photos if I wasn’t on the phone at the time. We had some delays due to the busy traffic, but eventually were dropped off near M14. From there, we walked up the ramp, and then eventually into the air side area of T5.
I headed directly to my departure gate, but there was no one there, so accessed the Priority Pass Lounges. I was turned away at the Air France Lounge, presumably due to crowding, but got into the Swissport Lounge. Neither is very nice, but it was fine for a place to relax before heading back to the gate to get my boarding pass.
Final thoughts on the new O’Hare Airside Shuttle
This is a nice new feature for those connecting to Terminal 5 at O’Hare. It saved time versus having to clear security there, which is often time-consuming, and there is no PreCheck lane. While there are flights that don’t fit with the shuttle schedule, but it should work for the busiest times in T5. Best of all, the views when on the bus are great for up close views of airplanes from ground level.