Why Is There No Terminal 4 at Chicago O’Hare?

Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport is the third-largest airport in the United States. It became famous during the jet age because it became the world’s busiest airport from 1963 to 1998. This bustling and energetic airfield is also well-known for another reason. It has four different terminals — 1, 2, 3, and 5. There is no Terminal 4 at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport.

Why did this international airport choose to skip the number 4? Keep reading to discover the mystery behind this phenomenon and learn more about the Windy City’s largest international airport.

What Happened to Terminal 4?

Terminal 4 inside Chicago O’Hare did exist at one point. There were originally three terminals at this airport used primarily for domestic connections. As O’Hare became busier with international flights, the city decided to build a permanent international terminal. While construction on the international terminal took place, the airport needed a temporary international terminal to accommodate international departures. This temporary structure became Terminal 4 and was open from 1985 to 1993.

The new permanent international terminal was named Terminal 5, and its purpose was to be the access point for all international arrivals. Once Terminal 5’s construction was done, airport authorities realized it made more sense to service all international flights (arrivals and departures) through the newly constructed terminal. Terminal 4 was no longer in service. Currently, what was known as Terminal 4 houses the bus shuttle center for the Hilton Hotel, and it provides access to the short-term parking garage.

Now that you know the history behind Terminal 4 and why it no longer exists, let’s take a closer look at each terminal at Chicago O’Hare, exploring the various services, amenities, and airlines that come through this airport each day.

What’s at Terminal 1?

O’Hare Airport Terminal 1 is home to both domestic flights and International Departures. It consists of various levels, including:

  • Baggage, which has access to baggage claim and transportation options
  • Ticketing, where you can check in and access various gates
  • Concourse B

Terminal 1 handles departures with two international airlines: Japan’s All Nippon Airways – ANA and Germany’s Lufthansa. The terminal also hosts domestic departure flights on United Airlines.

Terminal 1 has four airport lounges. Each has different amenities and services such as Wi-Fi, snacks, drinks, newspapers, and magazines. You can access the United Airlines United Club at Gate B6 or the United Airlines United Club at Gate B18. The other lounges are the United Airlines Polaris Lounge and the United Airlines United Club in Concourse B.

Additionally, Terminal 1 has more than 20 restaurants and bars for the weary traveler. Choose from McDonald’s, America’s Dog & Burger, Jamba Juice, or Fresh Market on the Go. If you’re hoping to do a little shopping before flying out, be sure to check out a few unique shops like Johnston and Murphy, Spirit of the Red Horse, and Brookstone.

What’s at Terminal 2?

Like Terminal 1, O’Hare Airport Terminal 2 has a baggage level and ticketing level, and it houses Concourses E and F. Terminal 2 is home to three domestic airlines and one international airline. Alaska Airlines, Delta, and JetBlue arrive and depart from Terminal 2. Air Canada is this terminal’s only international air service.

Terminal 2 has three airport lounges with various services, like children’s play areas, TVs, snacks, and drinks:

  • USO Lounge
  • Delta Air Lines Delta Sky Club
  • United Airlines United Club

You’ll find some of your favorite dining locations here, including McDonald’s, Auntie Anne’s, Chili’s, and UNOs. Also, you can browse retail shops like MAC Cosmetics, Barbara’s Bookstore at O’Hare, and Dufry Duty-Free Shop.

What’s at Terminal 3?

O’Hare Airport’s Terminal 3 is like the other terminals as there is both a baggage level and ticketing level. This terminal also houses four concourses, including G, H, K, and L. Terminal 3 hosts six domestic airline companies and two international ones. The domestic airline companies include arrivals and departures for Air Choice One, Boutique Air, Cape Air, Denver Air Connection, Spirit Airlines, and American Airlines. International flights include Japan Airlines and Iberia Airlines, the flag airline company of Spain.

There are five airport lounges in Terminal 3, and they include services like Wi-Fi, showers, snacks, drinks, printers, and copiers. Here’s where to access these lounges:

  • The American Airlines Admirals Club is in Concourse G.
  • The American Airlines Flagship Lounge is in Concourse H.
  • The American Airlines Admirals Club is also in Concourse H.
  • Find the American Airlines Admirals Club in Concourse L.
  • The USO American Airlines Cyber Canteen Center is at the Rotunda.

Terminal 3 also offers more restaurants than the other terminals. There are over 30 options, including Reggio’s Pizza, Subway, Romano’s Macaroni Grill, and Burrito Beach. For your shopping pleasure, be sure to visit Brighton Collectibles and The Field Museum Store or treat yourself at Terminal Getaway Spa.

What’s at Terminal 5?

Terminal 5 is the only international terminal at Chicago O’Hare, and it has baggage and ticketing levels. The baggage level is home to the ATS train station, which joins this terminal with the other airport terminals. From the ticketing level, you can reach Concourse M. As the sole international terminal, O’Hare services over 30 international airlines, including Air France, British Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, Finnair, and Royal Jordanian.

Because Terminal 5 houses the most airline companies at Chicago O’Hare, six airport lounges offer a wide variety of amenities, including snacks, drinks, Wi-Fi, and TV:

  • Swissport Lounge
  • British Airways Terraces Lounge
  • British Airways First Lounge
  • SWISS First Class Lounge
  • SWISS Business Lounge
  • SAS Lounge

Terminal 5 hosts 16 unique restaurants, bars, and retail stores. Wicker Park Seafood & Sushi Bar, Big Bowl Chinese Express, and Urban Olive are a few dining choices. There are only two retail locations in Terminal 5, Hudson News and News and Gifts.

So, there you have it. The mystery of Chicago O’Hare’s missing Terminal 4 is solved. Plus, we’ve given you a brief overview of what to expect when you fly in or out of Chicago O’Hare. If you have a flight planned to arrive or depart out of this international airport, you need to be prepared to do a lot of walking. And if you often experience pain or discomfort while walking, it may be time to schedule an appointment at our clinic. Contact us today to know how Dr. Schoene can help you.