What Airport is ORD? Do You Know?

by Kerwin McKenzie on April 2, 2018

What Airport is ORD?


At the end of 2015 Google.com released the top 10 travel questions that were asked on its Web site during 2015. And apparently, one of them, “What Airport is ORD?” is on the list. It makes sense I guess as ORD does not even come close to the airport’s name, or does it?

I figured that some of you may actually have the same questions, so here are my answers for you from an airline employee’s perspective:


1. What to Pack for Cancun?


Beach wear? I love this question which basically tells me people don’t know where Cancun really is. Its in Mexico and the airport code is CUN. There is no shortage of flights from the U.S. and Canada to this vacation spot, however, as its heavily traveled, watch the loads. The Visitor’s Bureau actually wants to tell visitors that this is more than a beach destination for college kids to get drunk. So here are some other things to do here when you visit:

– Head to the Mayan ruins in Chichen Itza
Visit Xcaret Park; its an eco-archeological Park
Swim in a Cenotes – these are natural waterholes that are used by local communities and they allow you to swim in them; you do have to take a shower. Typically, you have to get invited by the community to use their cenotes. This is usually done through tour operators. Read More from Cancun Tourism.
Swim with the whale sharks – I’m not a fan of this, but a few of my friends have done this and absolutely loved it! Here’s a link to my friend’s Louis Cole’s video.
Visit Coba – Coba is another ancient Mayan city. Again, you would either need to rent a car or take a tour. We used AllTournative on the tour I did compliments of the Cancun Tourism Board. Coba is a little different as its like a forest and then there is a pyramid. If you make it to the top of the Pyramid (its pretty steep), then you get a fantastic view of the entire area which is pretty amazing!
Head out to Tulum – It’s a little drive away from Cancun, but so worth it. It’s a pretty amazing city to see. Read More. When I went on a tour sponsored by the Cancun Tourism, we used AllTournative and I’d highly recommend them for you.
And remember to pack for beach and lots of sun and fun.

Tulum, Mexico Shores Tulum, Mexico Shores


2. Where is Disneyland?


I though this one was a good one, but its easy to get confused, there’s Walt Disney World and Disneyland, now why is that? no idea, Disneyland is in Anaheim, California (John Wayne Airport (SNA) is closest) opened in 1955 and the other one Disney World is in Kissimmee, Florida (Orlando Airport (MCO) is closest) opened in 1971. All owned by the same company who actually owns LucasFilms which owns the Star Wars franchise. My blogger and podcast friend Lou Mongello runs a great podcast on all you need to know about Walt Disney World. As if that was not enough, there’s Disneyland Resort Paris, Hong Kong Disneyland, Shanghai Disney Resort, Tokyo Disney Resort, yup confusing. Have you been to them all? It’s Item #32 in my upcoming book “89 Things To Do As An Airline Employee Before You QUIT.


89 Things To Do As an Airline Employee Before You QUIT 89 Things To Do As an Airline Employee Before You QUIT


3. What airport is ORD?


It’s Chicago-O’Hare, IL. I can certainly understand the confusion, why is it not CHI? Well, let me explain, its was named after the area where airport is located called Orchard Field, hence the ORD as ORC belongs to another airport. In 1949, the city re-named the airport after a naval aviator who died in World War II named, you guessed it  Lt. Cmdr. Edward H. “Butch” O’Hare. He was the recipient of the Medal of Honor. You can read more of this story here. Chicago-O’Hare (ORD) is the hub of American Airlines (AA) and United Airlines (UA).


Downtown Chicago March 2006 Downtown Chicago March 2006


Chicago actually has another airport, that’s Chicago-Midway (MDW) which is primarily used by Southwest Airlines (WN). Do you know why its called Midway? I’m glad you asked, in short, it was named after the battle of Midway as initially it was called Chicago Municipal Airport and get this, claimed to be the “world’s busiest” at one point. Can you imagine that from a 1 square mile airport? Plus at one point there was a railroad track running right through the airport. Read more. So can you tell I’m lovin’ this.

One more; There is also another airport that wants to serve the area, but its in Indiana; Gary, Indiana, Michael Jackson’s hometown. It’s called, the Gary Chicago International Airport (GYY). No current commercial airline customers I believe. I flew out of there once, but can’t remember who it was that served it… [Update] O.K. I found my photos and it was back in January 2000 when the “new” PanAm was formed.


PanAm Boeing 727 in Gary-Chicago Airport (GYY) PanAm Boeing 727 in Gary-Chicago Airport (GYY)


O.K. I’m on a roll now as I can’t leave this one without telling you that there was yet another airport in Chicago; albeit a general aviation one, but its quite famous. If you play flight simulator, you’d know this its called Meigs Field (CGX). Yes Microsoft Flight Sim was actually using a real airport. It used to be located in downtown Chicago right by the Lake, but its is now closed. You can read about its sordid past.



4. When is whale watching season in San Diego?


Umm… I have to look up this one. So it usually starts about December 13 or so, but I suspect it changes each year so check before you go. Read more details. PS: I’ve never seen a whale in person. I may have seen one while doing my MSC Cruise in June 2016 in the Mediterranean, but I think they were dolphins and they came up once and never saw them again. I don’t even think the Mediterranean has whales, who knows? Apparently whales are quite big when seen in person :-).

You fly into San Diego Lindberg Field (SAN). Watch for weight restrictions though, when you fly in/out of this airport. And the views are spectacular as usually the landings are made flying over the city. If you’re an aviation geek like me, you can visit the USS Midway before or after you do your whale watching.

USS Midway San Diego, CA USS Midway San Diego, CA

Also, if you go by the hill next to the airport on the end closer to the city you can watch the planes land. Even better on the garage that’s at the end of the runway. Despite it being quite expensive, I love this city. Also due to noise abatement procedures, the takeoffs are awesome! And you can actually fly nonstop from London on British Airways (BA) so check those pass agreements. oh and the city just opened a bridge to the Tijuana Airport (TIJ) from the Otay Mesa crossing.

Now you can pay to use the Cross Border Express if you have a ticket to fly our of Tijuana and save time driving across the border. Years ago two friends and work colleagues of mine walked across the border, had a few beers in Tijuana, then walked the entire length of the runway on the main road and boarded an Aeromexico flight and made two stops before arriving in Guadalajara, Mexico (GDL). My how things have changed.



5. What is a boutique hotel?


Someone in one of my Facebook Groups asked this very question a few weeks back. I was surprised at the many different answers that were received. So I get it why this is the #5 question. Apparently many hotels say they are boutique and are not. Similar to how some say they are located downtown or just across the bridge in New Jersey when you ask for a hotel in New York City. Which may work for some, but usually not for the majority.

Oh, the answer to the question at hand :-): A boutique hotel’s definition is: “a small stylish hotel, typically one situated in a fashionable urban location,” says Google when you search for it. Umm… Very vague. But usually its stylish, not part of a big chain usually and is quaint with unique styling. Lots of hotels says they are boutique but they are not. So how do you tell? It’s difficult.

Maybe I can get some more suggestions in the comment section of what you think?


6. What to do in St. Louis?


Pick me, I know this one. See the Gateway Arch of course! And its quite huge and a beauty to see. The view from up there is amazing, plus you get into this really small contraption and are taken up into the arch all the way to the top. Its scary and fun at the same time. If you are claustrophobic, its not for you at all.

Fly into St. Louis Lambert Field, MO (STL) the former home of TWA. So what’s there to do in St. Louis, MO? There’s the zoo, the Cathedral, Anheuser-Busch Brewery and Busch stadium to name a few. Oh and there’s casino gambling down by the Missouri River. Read more from the Explore St. Louis web site.

The Gateway Arch - St. Louis, MO The Gateway Arch – St. Louis, MO



7. What to do in Missoula, MT?


I’ve been to Montana but not Missoula (MSO) This handy page by The Missoula Tourism Board tells you exactly what you can do in Missoula. And this Airport Schedules tells you who flies there and when. Alaska, Delta, Frontier and United serve the airport. You can do cool things like hiking, visit a ghost town, fishing, mountain biking and drinking beer at the Missoula Brewery. Plus a plethora of other things. Seems like a nice town, no wonder people are searching about what to do when they go there. Watch the tourism numbers climb in 2016. Which may mean tough for you all as the loads will be high, umm…

8. What to do in Louisiana?


I’m right next door in Texas, but its six hours away driving, but about an hour or so if I fly. Lots to do in Louisiana, odd that they did not ask “What to do in New Orleans?” which is what I think they were looking for. There are many airports in this state, 18 actually, and lots to do as well. The most famous airport is the Louis Armstrong International (MSY) airport. Which you will use if going to Bourbon Street. Here are the larger airports which I’m happy to say I’ve logged, you?

  • Louis Armstrong International Airport in New Orleans, LA (MSY)
  • Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport in Baton Rouge, LA (BTR); this is the state’s capital
  • Shreveport Regional Airport in Shreveport, LA (SHV)
  • Lafayette Regional Airport in Lafayette, LA (LFT)
  • Alexandria International Airport in Alexandria, LA (AEX)

Of course you can get to all these from neighboring Houston, TX and the likes of American and Delta and Southwest does server them. Check the Flight Schedule page for more details.
You can also go gambling as it has riverboat gambling as well as places like Harrah’s. So Louisiana is not just about New Orleans, although you’d think that’s all there is right? Oh and that cajun food is to die for.

Find a list of what to do in Louisiana.



9. What to do in Albuquerque?


This city is in New Mexico (NM) and is served by the Albuquerque Airport (ABQ). Its just all red dirt when you head out there, but rather beautiful. First I’m pretty sure that no one spells this correctly the first time around, but Google is quite good at suggesting the correct spelling thankfully. I’ve been here and its very tough to get to especially during the hot air balloon season.

Quaint Properties on Route 66 Albuquerque, NM Quaint Properties on Route 66 Albuquerque, NM

I suggest heading up to Santa Fe by renting a car. The site Santa Fe Travelers has really good information about the region for you. So check it out.

Along the way from Albuquerque to Santa Fe Along the way from Albuquerque to Santa Fe


Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi Santa Fe, NM Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi Santa Fe, NM



10. Where is Yellowstone National Park?


Aha! I could see how this one is got here. Its in Wyoming and is the home of the famous geyser “Old Faithful.”Yes, Yellowstone has its own airport, but its a seasonal airport (June to early September); West Yellowstone, MT (WYS). It’s served by Delta Airlines (DL) from Salt Lake city, UT (SLC). Other airports in the vicinity are:

– Yellowstone Regional Airport in Cody, WY (COD) [Delta from SLC and United from DEN];
– Jackson Hole, WY (JAC) [American, Delta and United];
– Bozeman Yellowstone International in Bozeman, MT (BZN) [Alaska, Delta, Frontier and United];
– Billings, MT (BIL) [Alaska, Cape Air, Delta and United] and
– Idaho Falls, ID (IDA) [Delta and United].

From these airports its best to rent a car so you can drive through the Park. Check the loads from all these airports and know that in the summertime they loads will be quite high so get your backup tickets ready. Check the National Park Service’s Web site for current ticket prices.


And what is your question if its not one of these? Please leave it in the comment below for an answer.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Kerwin McKenzie December 19, 2015 at 5:38 pm

I asked my friend CJ who spent some time in St. Louis and he added:

“Blueberry Hill in the Delmar Loop. Chuck Berry’s place…. Eat toasted ravioli and have Ted Drewes frozen yogurt” https://twitter.com/CJnHouston/status/678075445133185024.

Blueberry Hill is a famous landmark in St. Louis which serves food and also has music – http://blueberryhill.com/. Linked to the famous Chuck Berry who sang the song of the same name and is a St. Louis, MO native.



avatar Cacinda Maloney December 19, 2015 at 5:56 pm



avatar Kerwin McKenzie December 19, 2015 at 6:52 pm

Hiya Cacinda,

Currently in Houston, TX.
Where are you?



avatar Judy L April 3, 2018 at 8:49 pm

Hi Kerwin,
As a UAL retiree, I’ve always wanted to see many cities in the world if only for 2-3 days at a time…..big cities, not necessarily go into a country and start world wind touring…..but just cities — go in, eat local food, do a little shopping (smaller, local markets only) and then leave.    Primarily I still want to travel  (I have done quite a lot over 35+ years) but now must stay home for longer periods of time because I need to be with my aging husband.   What is your feeling about this, is it doable and what is the best way to do short trips (alone, maybe) ??   Just interested in your opinion.    Thanks.  Judy.


avatar Kerwin McKenzie April 4, 2018 at 8:24 pm

Hi Judy,

Thanks for your question.
It makes total sense and I do travel like the way you’ve described above.
It’s quite easy to do this type of travel in larger cities like say London, Paris, many cities in Germany and other parts of Europe as they have train systems. Asia works as well for say, Singapore, Bangkok, Hong Kong, etc.
Let me know how I can help you.



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