CHICAGO — Nearly 1.6 million travelers are expected to fly out of Chicago O’Hare and Midway International airports this Labor Day weekend as airline travel continues to rebound from the pandemic.

According to the Chicago Department of Aviation, the number is based on travelers projected to take flight from Thursday, Aug. 31 through Tuesday, Sept. 5.

The CDA adds that O’Hare is expected to see a 7% increase in airline passenger travel. The Labor Day holiday, Sept. 4, is projected to be the busiest day of travel.

Midway travel numbers are projected to be on par with 2022, seeing only about a 1% increase in passengers. Labor Day is also expected to be the busiest, traveling-wise, for Midway.

RELATED: The busiest days to fly around Labor Day 2023

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, Labor Day weekend will be the third most active holiday weekend of the year, behind only the Juneteenth-Father’s Day weekend and President’s Day weekend.

“Travelers this Labor Day weekend can rest assured that the team at O’Hare and Midway will be working all weekend long to ensure people who rely on our airports can get to their final destination safely and efficiently,” said CDA Commissioner Jamie L. Rhee. “Thanks to the tremendous support of our airline partners, and the ongoing collaboration from multiple federal, state and local agencies, our world-class airports stand ready to welcome visitors to our world-class city.” 

The best and worst days to fly Labor Day weekend

NerdWallet found that the busiest days to fly around Labor Day weekend this year are:

  1. Friday before Labor Day (most crowded)
  2. Thursday before
  3. Labor Day Monday

Where can I check for real-time fly updates at O’Hare and Midway?

Real-time updates for O’Hare and Midway checkpoints can be found at

Can you check for parking updates before you leave?

Departing passengers seeking to park their vehicle at O’Hare are encouraged to check the status of parking lots before leaving for the airport at Lot status and advance parking reservations for Midway are also available on  

Can you check the weather conditions for your final destination?

Travelers can check conditions where they are going on the FAA website.

How to avoid traffic delays into O’Hare and Midway?

  • Cell Phone Lots are 100% free at both airports. Avoid circling and wait in the convenient parking lots until arriving passengers call to say they are ready for pickup. The O’Hare Cell Phone Lot is at 560 N. Bessie Coleman Dr., and the Midway Cell Phone Lot is at West 61st Street and South Cicero Avenue.  
  • Kiss n’ Fly drop-offs are located at both airports. At Midway, passengers can be dropped off at West 59th Street and South Kilpatrick Avenue and take a short walk into the terminals. At O’Hare, passengers can be dropped off at the Multi-Modal Facility, 10255 W. Zemke Blvd., and board the Airport Transit System (ATS) for a short ride to all terminals.  
  • The CTA Blue Line offers 24/7 service to O’Hare, while the CTA Orange Line services Midway. Both offer frequent and fast service and can help passengers avoid curbside crowds and reduce congestion.  
  • Metra’s North Central Service offers weekday service between Union Station in downtown Chicago and the O’Hare Transfer station adjacent to the airport’s Multi-Modal Facility, with access to the ATS.

Beware of ongoing construction

The Illinois Tollway expects 7.7 million vehicles will travel on its 294-mile system from Friday, Sept. 1 through Tuesday, Sept. 5. The heaviest travel is anticipated on Friday, Sept. 1, when more than 1.9 million vehicles are expected on the road.

As such, Illinois Tollway drivers can expect to see ongoing work:

Tri-State Tollway (I-94/I-294/I-80)

  • On I-294 between Wolf Road and 75th Street, traffic shifts in both directions with counterflow lanes throughout the Central Tri-State corridor. Watch for signage indicating changing traffic patterns.
  • On I-294, the ramps from westbound I-290 to northbound I-294, from northbound I-294 to westbound Roosevelt Road and westbound Roosevelt Road to southbound I-294 are closed and detours are posted. In addition, the ramp connecting eastbound I-88 to both northbound I-294 and westbound I-290 is reduced to a single lane.

Veterans Memorial Tollway (I-355)

  • Between Maple Avenue and Ogden Avenue, traffic is shifted to the outside.
  • At the I-88 Interchange, the ramps carrying westbound I-88 traffic to northbound I-355 and southbound I-355 traffic to eastbound I-88 are reduced.

Kennedy Expressway Construction  

  • Construction continues on the inbound Kennedy Expressway, with two lanes blocked between the Edens Junction and Ohio Street. Travel between O’Hare and the Loop can be substantially delayed, particularly during rush hour, with travel times topping an hour and 20 minutes. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.