Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Travel Topics > Air Travel
Reload this Page >

Connecting Through Chicago (ORD) or Washington Dulles (IAD)?

Connecting Through Chicago (ORD) or Washington Dulles (IAD)?

Sep 3rd, 2009, 09:03 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 1
Connecting Through Chicago (ORD) or Washington Dulles (IAD)?

my mom and i are going to europe this winter over the holidays on a river cruise but we are planning on going in a few days early. our big decision is that we want to fly economy plus on united as much as possible. there are no non stop flights from LAX-AMS on UA, therefore we need to connect in either ORD or IAD. we are leaving dec 23, right at the height of xmas travel and beginning of winter. i have never connected through ORD before, only been there as a final destination and i've never been to IAD. i am looking for some advice and experiences where we should connect without having any major delays and missing our entire trip in AMS. thanks
travelgrl17 is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2009, 10:58 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 14,913
This may not help, but I avoid ORD like the plague during the winter months. I'm not a huge fan of Dulles either, but I'd probably choose it over Chicago, although it's certainly not immune to bad weather and you'll have holiday crowds regardless.
Melnq8 is offline  
Sep 4th, 2009, 12:08 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,161
United 946 is the "direct" flight from LAX to AMS, with a stop at IAD. (direct=not nonstop but same flight number) Every time I have taken the LAX-IAD leg it has been a 777.

For the IAD-AMS leg they now (on Sept 18, anyway) using a 767. The ORD-AMS leg is also a 767.

LAX-AMS-LAX on UA means UA 946/947 to me, stops at IAD each way.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Sep 4th, 2009, 08:54 AM
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 11,334
I'm the opposite of melnq8, as I avoid Dulles at any cost! I fly out of ORD all the time.

Transferring at ORD would not mean a long trek, as both of your flights (arrival and departure) should be from terminal 1. Coming back, if you go by way of ORD, you would land at terminal 5 and then have to take the "train" to terminal 1, after going thru customs/immigration, and rechecking bags with UA. Not difficult to do.
simpsonc510 is offline  
Sep 4th, 2009, 01:12 PM
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 669
I've had much better luck using IAD as my gateway for European vacations as opposed to ORD.
mjz_kc is offline  
Sep 4th, 2009, 02:40 PM
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 1,208
What's the price difference? We've used both and to me they are both easy to navigate. Given the potential for bad weather at either location, I guess I would look at price and layover times to see which would be better.
patandhank is offline  
Sep 4th, 2009, 03:22 PM
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 300
IAD is my home airport for long-range travel. Terminal C/D, where you'll be making your connection, is horrible. ORD has much nicer terminals with much better food, etc. choices. But your weather risk is greater at ORD, so there's no free lunch.
EricH is offline  
Sep 4th, 2009, 04:58 PM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 10,823
For 6 of our 7 years overseas, we went in and out of of Dulles with no hitches. We preferred it over Chicago or Atlanta.
Grcxx3 is offline  
Sep 5th, 2009, 10:17 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,161
I used IAD for 25 years as home and now connect thru there. The food and shops are not great there but making the connection, outbound, is easy enough.

Last night I flew in a 3-cabin UA 777, like UA 946. I chose 18C, the second row of economy because the seats in the bulkhead rows are too close to the bulkhead to stretch my legs out straight.

But on this 777 there was lots of legroom for the seats in the middle section of row 17, the bulkhead row. Next time I am in economy on a UA 777 like this I will choose 17A or 17G. The pairs of seats on the sides of the plane did not have as much legroom as the 5 seats in the center.

Sitting in 18C my legroom was constricted horizontally by the electronics box for the seat back video. I assume row 17 has a flip out video screen in the arm.

Winter weather is less severe in D.C. than Chicago.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Sep 7th, 2009, 07:50 AM
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 9,806
Typically in December IAD does not experience bad weather...it can happen, but it is rare to have a bad snow or ice storm that early in the Winter. The food selection at IAD is not great, but tranferring from one UA flight to another is easy...although I think u could get a direct flight with 1 stop and no plane change. We have flown on UA flight 946 to AMS from IAD which comes from LAX. Its always been a 777. 17A&B and 21H&G are good seats for E+. enjoy your trip!
yestravel is offline  
Sep 7th, 2009, 08:23 AM
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 11,334
I guess my concerns with flying thru ORD vs IAD are not so much weather concerns as they are just airport conveniences and things like customs/immigration lines. IMO ORD is more prepared for bad weather as it is commonplace. The big planes don't get grounded very often. It's those smaller commuter flights that stay on the ground.

yestravel, seats 21H&G econ+ are good seats on the 777 IF the flight crew is using rows 17-20. Otherwise, I'd try for 17H&G.
simpsonc510 is offline  
Sep 7th, 2009, 08:42 AM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 3,037
ORD is my home airport, and I've connected through IAD on occasion over the years. I'm not sure it makes much difference on the outbound; both terminals are easy enough for domestic-international connections, and both airports can have weather issues on any given day. I'd make sure to have a comfortable connection time in either case. O'Hare opened a new third parallel east-west runway late last year, and I've read some reports that it has helped quite a bit in cutting down on arrival delays.
ms_go is online now  
Sep 7th, 2009, 10:40 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,088
We sat in 17 a&b on a 777 from Bru to IAD and it was ideal. I'm 5'9" and barely touched the bulkhead when I scrunched down and stretched out.
ronkala is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 04:25 AM.