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Old 03-26-2013, 07:09 PM   #16
dvcdisney
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Originally Posted by bumbershoot View Post
Oh, see, I love O'Hare. Always have since the first time I connected there as an 18 year old on a redeye flight from Seattle to Miami. I love the people-watching, the window-shopping. I think the United terminal(s) are lovely especially in the daytime especially if it's sunny. I love getting a caprese panini from Brioche Doree if I'm in the right place, or a Starbucks and a bagel sandwich if I'm in the wrong area for BD. There was a recreation of a dinosaur skeleton in the area where we were last trip!

A nice long layover also means you have the time to relax. Or if your first flight ran late it gives a nice buffer. Sure it can be boring to wait the whole time, but in a nice busy airport it's also exciting and fun. We include travel days in the food&souvenir budget, so we're never nickel-and-diming ourselves at airports.

But I love airports. So take that into account with my opinion.
Thank you. I really appreciate your perspective. As for me, I don't love airports - basically because I'm going on a plane (which I don't love). Generally, we only vacation twice a year so, basically, I'm only on a plane (if I can avoid connections - which I can just going to Orlando), 4 times a year. I do tend to make sure that our vacations are at least 2-3wks long to make it worth the effort. I LOVE travelling, unfortunately, I don't like planes and that's usually the only way to travel...lol.
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Old 03-26-2013, 07:26 PM   #17
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I like Chicago-O'Hare (ORD) better than Washington Dulles (IAD) because the food is better at ORD.

ORD is a bigger airport than IAD because it has American's huge Midwest hub in addition to United's huge Midwest hub -- but if your flight is entirely on United and United Express, you can safely ignore that aspect of ORD.

United has a huge footprint with multiple concourses at both airports:

Chicago-O'Hare (ORD): http://www.united.com/web/en-US/cont.../maps/ord.aspx

Washington Dulles (IAD): http://www.united.com/web/en-US/cont.../maps/iad.aspx

The good news is that you'll go through U.S. Customs & Border Protection pre-clearance at YHZ before you depart, so you'll arrive at ORD or IAD as if you were on an all-domestic U.S. itinerary:

http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/toolbox/c..._locations.xml

The United Express regional jets (such as to/from YHZ) typically use Concourse A at IAD and Concourses C and F at ORD. The United mainline jets (such as to/from SAN) can use any of the United gates at any of the United concourses, except for gates that are only designed for regional jets.

At either IAD or ORD, it's likely that you'll have go from one concourse to another. At ORD, it's possible to walk between all United and United Express Gates. At IAD, getting between some concourse requires waiting for transit. Both airports can require a lot of walking depending on your gates. ORD makes extensive use of moving walkways, but, even so, there can a lot of walking.

At either IAD or ORD, all United and United Express gates are within the same secure side, so you won't have to exit and re-clear security at either airport.

Shorter connections increase the chance of missing the second late if the first leg is behind schedule. If it's critical to get to your final destination on time, such as when you're taking a cruise, a longer connection increases the likelihood that you'll successfully board the second leg.
Thanks so much for all the information and suggestions.

If I need to change terminals, I would much prefer to have the option of walking. So I was hoping for a small airport to connect in. However, once I did some research and read some reviews of IAD, one of the issues was that it can be bothersome to transfer between the terminals because of the layout of the airport. I was hoping that I wouldn't need to transfer to a different concourse so the layover would be plenty of time.

Although it's not critical to arrive in SAN on time (I'd either fly earlier or change my plans if that was the case - since I would be nervous the whole time), I would rather not deal with having to rebook my flight if I missed my connection. I was hoping to find out that 1hr+ in IAD was plenty, but since I don't know which terminal it will arrive and which my connecting flight will depart, I think ORD would be preferable.

Thanks again.
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Old 03-26-2013, 07:33 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by dvcdisney View Post
Would you mind letting me know why?
[preference for IAD over ORD].
IAD is my home airport, but I have spent much more time at ORD, due to many, many, many late departures and cancelled flights (weather, mechanical, etc). Plus it's SO boring there if your flight is delayed. It's just a much busier airport than IAD. When I travel, I try my best not to transit through ORD or JFK. I really dislike both of those airports.

You won't be flying from Terminal A at IAD unless you are on United Express. You will fly into/from Terminal C or D. You can walk between the terminals; no need to take any transit system. I would go with IAD.
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Old 03-26-2013, 08:09 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by dvcdisney View Post
Honestly, I would prefer a smaller airport to connect in since all I need to do is go from one gate to the other. I don't need all the "bells and whistles" of larger airports to occupy my time. But once I started reading the reviews, I was concerned about both airports.

I really appreciate your suggests. I think I just need some type of perspective.
Overall, when including all airlines, ORD gets almost three times as many passengers as IAD.

However, when just comparing the United to United, IAD is not a "much smaller airport." United has a similar number of gates (around 70 to 80) spread across a similar number of concourses at ORD and IAD. Neither United hub is as convenient as United's Denver (DEN) hub for connections, but neither the ORD nor IAD hub is as big as United's Houston (IAH) hub.

There are numerous reasons why IAD or ORD might be better for your plans, but don't pick IAD expecting a small airport with just a few gates, all close each other.
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Old 03-26-2013, 08:22 PM   #20
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You won't be flying from Terminal A at IAD unless you are on United Express. You will fly into/from Terminal C or D. You can walk between the terminals; no need to take any transit system. I would go with IAD.
United's flights to and from Halifax (YHZ) are operated by ExpressJet Airlines under the United Express brand. These flights use concourse A.

Today's United flights from IAD to San Diego (SAN) all departed from gates on concourse D.

When connecting at IAD between a YHZ flight and a SAN flight, a passenger should expect to use the transit system.
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Old 03-26-2013, 08:30 PM   #21
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I'd go with ORD since it has the 3 hour layover. Last time we had a one hour layover, our originating flight got delayed by unforeseen circumstances (bad smoke detector in the bathroom ) and we left 45 minutes late. We missed our connection. I'd rather have to kill three hours at ORD if everything went well than have to sprint across IAD, or worse.
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Old 03-26-2013, 08:37 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Horace Horsecollar View Post
Overall, when including all airlines, ORD gets almost three times as many passengers as IAD.

However, when just comparing the United to United, IAD is not a "much smaller airport." United has a similar number of gates (around 70 to 80) spread across a similar number of concourses at ORD and IAD. Neither United hub is as convenient as United's Denver (DEN) hub for connections, but neither the ORD nor IAD hub is as big as United's Houston (IAH) hub.

There are numerous reasons why IAD or ORD might be better for your plans, but don't pick IAD expecting a small airport with just a few gates, all close each other.
I'm glad I asked the question here. I had no idea. Most reviews I've read considers IAD much smaller than ORD. I didn't realize that IAD had just as many gates utilized by United. This was, somewhat, what I wanted to avoid. But it looks inevitable.

I think I'd be much more comfortable with a longer layover. It's possible my views may change once I've flown in either of these airports a few times. But since it'll be my family's first time, I think I'll be cautious.

Thanks again.
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Old 03-26-2013, 08:41 PM   #23
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I'd go with ORD since it has the 3 hour layover. Last time we had a one hour layover, our originating flight got delayed by unforeseen circumstances (bad smoke detector in the bathroom ) and we left 45 minutes late. We missed our connection. I'd rather have to kill three hours at ORD if everything went well than have to sprint across IAD, or worse.
I agree. I think I'll be doing that. I finally understand how much larger IAD than what I first thought. It would likely be a sprint.

Thanks.
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Old 03-26-2013, 08:48 PM   #24
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IAD is my home airport, but I have spent much more time at ORD, due to many, many, many late departures and cancelled flights (weather, mechanical, etc). Plus it's SO boring there if your flight is delayed. It's just a much busier airport than IAD. When I travel, I try my best not to transit through ORD or JFK. I really dislike both of those airports.

You won't be flying from Terminal A at IAD unless you are on United Express. You will fly into/from Terminal C or D. You can walk between the terminals; no need to take any transit system. I would go with IAD.
I appreciate your suggestion. However, I will be flying on United Express so I guess that would mean I would arrive in Terminal A.

Thank you. This is very helpful.
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Old 03-26-2013, 08:52 PM   #25
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United's flights to and from Halifax (YHZ) are operated by ExpressJet Airlines under the United Express brand. These flights use concourse A.

Today's United flights from IAD to San Diego (SAN) all departed from gates on concourse D.

When connecting at IAD between a YHZ flight and a SAN flight, a passenger should expect to use the transit system.
Again, so glad I asked here.

You and all the posters have been very helpful. I'll be going through ORD.

not happy that I'm going through ORD, just glad I'm understanding this a lot more...definitely a load off my mind...
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Old 03-27-2013, 12:10 PM   #26
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Considering how many times I have been burned on shorter layovers, I would always opt for the longer. I hate rushing, I hate worrying. Summer - prime time for thunderstorms. Your flight from home could be delayed by one, etc. Even 15 minutes could make an impact if you have to switch terminals at IAD.

I would, personally, go with ORD. Knowing that 3 hours is plenty of times, and you have a cushion if there are any unexpected delays - just fine.

3 hours pass pretty quickly, anyway. Figure you land at ORD at 11. Get off the plane, hit the bathroom, window shop, grab a meal at a sit down place. You are already looking at 1 pm. Get to your gate and they will start boarding around 130. It goes fast...

But, as I said, I prefer the cushion so I can avoid any extra worry.
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Old 03-27-2013, 04:01 PM   #27
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As a former flight attendant and pilot, 3 hours at ORD hands down.

IAD is very nice but flying YHZ-IAD is probably on Shuttle America (Embraer 170) which will take you into either A, C, or D concourse. United mainline is out of C and D. Connecting from A to C/D is a 15-20 minute transit. I dont like pushing hour connections if I have the choice at a 3 hour. 3 hours at ORD is plenty of time. If it was 1 hour at ORD vs IAD, IAD hands down. With 3 hours on United, I would go Chicago.
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Old 03-27-2013, 09:51 PM   #28
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Considering how many times I have been burned on shorter layovers, I would always opt for the longer. I hate rushing, I hate worrying. Summer - prime time for thunderstorms. Your flight from home could be delayed by one, etc. Even 15 minutes could make an impact if you have to switch terminals at IAD.

I would, personally, go with ORD. Knowing that 3 hours is plenty of times, and you have a cushion if there are any unexpected delays - just fine.

3 hours pass pretty quickly, anyway. Figure you land at ORD at 11. Get off the plane, hit the bathroom, window shop, grab a meal at a sit down place. You are already looking at 1 pm. Get to your gate and they will start boarding around 130. It goes fast...

But, as I said, I prefer the cushion so I can avoid any extra worry.
Makes perfect sense to me. Thanks. Now that I'm aware that IAD isn't as small as I thought, I will definitely not chance it.
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Old 03-27-2013, 09:53 PM   #29
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As a former flight attendant and pilot, 3 hours at ORD hands down.

IAD is very nice but flying YHZ-IAD is probably on Shuttle America (Embraer 170) which will take you into either A, C, or D concourse. United mainline is out of C and D. Connecting from A to C/D is a 15-20 minute transit. I dont like pushing hour connections if I have the choice at a 3 hour. 3 hours at ORD is plenty of time. If it was 1 hour at ORD vs IAD, IAD hands down. With 3 hours on United, I would go Chicago.
I appreciate your experience and, as I mentioned before, I'm so glad I asked here.

Thanks!
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