So I'm flying in from Ottawa, in Canada, and I have a 1 hour 3 minute "layover" between flights. Is this enough time? I booked through Expedia and it's both with United Airlines and I believe it'll be on one ticket because it's the same itinerary. I am not checking luggage, and as of tonight (flight is tomorrow morning), the gate I arrive at is F17 and I depart from F5. These are on the same terminal, but will I have enough time? I know the travel distance between the gates isn't bad at all as they're in the same big hallway, but I'm worried about customs/immigration time since I'm coming in from international.

I've never flown before and I'm worried about how long that would take. I heard that they give you customs forms to fill out on the plane, but I don't know if that would speed things up much. My plane is small (only 50 people) so I also don't think getting off the plane should take too long, but I do need to wait around for my carry on to be given back to me because it's "gate-checked" because it's a United Express flight and the overhead probably won't be able to fit it.

I apologize if this is just me being paranoid, but I want to make sure.

  • 3
    NOT a duplicate, if only because this question asked included information that changes the answer on the grounds of weather (even if they didn't intend to).
    – Doc
    Feb 20, 2019 at 6:46
  • Just to say that if you do end up missing your second flight, since it is all booked together under one ticket, united will put you on the next one to your destination. I've gone from international to domestic layover in ORD before, had to be rushed from one terminal to another but I managed to make it in 1.5hrs so you should be okay!
    – Uciebila
    Feb 20, 2019 at 10:13
  • @Doc Agreed, voted to leave open.
    – Fiksdal
    Feb 20, 2019 at 11:32
  • Also be aware of the idiotic situation with the train-thing at that airport. It is forever not working, being renovated on certain days, a new one is coming in some future year .. blah blah.
    – Fattie
    Feb 20, 2019 at 14:19
  • @Doc It's an exact duplicate. We can always add a "Not if the weather's bad!" answer to the other question. Feb 20, 2019 at 17:55

2 Answers 2


For a normal international flight, the answer would be a clear "not a chance".

However, your flight is different. Most flights from Canada (including yours) go through US immigration and customs in Canada, so functionally you are arriving on a US domestic flight. The gates you've mentioned confirm this - if it was a true international arrival it would land in Terminal 5, however the gates you've stated are in Terminal 2 (you may also land/depart from Terminal 1, however 1 and 2 are directly connected so they are basically one terminal).

So your question now becomes is ~1 hour enough for a Domestic United to United connection at Chicago, and the answer is a solid "probably". Normally. It's a connection that in most cases you would make, and if you don't because it's on one ticket then the airline will be responsible for rebooking you on another later flight.

I say "normally" because your flight is tomorrow. And tomorrow isn't going to be "Normal". Chicago is expecting bad weather, which will most likely play hell with flights, and you can expect multiple delays and "normal" may not apply.

As a result of this weather, United Airlines has a "weather waiver" active for tomorrow, which means that if you want to change your flights - either to a different routing to avoid Chicago (if one exists) or to different flights and/or a different day then you can do so free of charge.

  • 4
    I started writing the same answer, but Doc's is excellent, so I'll just delete that and say that I'd definitely try giving United a call tonight and seeing if there's a way to rebook your flight to avoid Chicago (and much of the east coast), as there are likely to be significant delays and cancelled flights due to the storm. Feb 20, 2019 at 3:14
  • tomorrow isn't going to be "Normal". Chicago is expecting bad weather, so you mean, tomorrow is going to be "Normal" indeed. When my wife was travelling between Europe and California in winter, she deliberately booked a flight that changed in CLT rather than ORD to avoid the risk of delays and missed connections, and indeed ORD was affected by bad weather when she travelled, CLT was fine.
    – gerrit
    Feb 20, 2019 at 8:42
  • My co-worker calls O'Hare O"Scare" because many times the incoming and outgoing gates are on the 2 sides of the airport and walking between these is a marathon effort.Best of luck to you! Feb 20, 2019 at 10:20
  • 1
    @Fattie All walking, no ATS (or bus because the ATS is out of service until June) needed
    – Doc
    Feb 20, 2019 at 16:36
  • 4
    Clearing customs in Ottawa does (normally) allow for this connection to be made, but the flipside of this is that you'll need to allow a little more time in the Ottawa airport to go through the customs line. Be sure to arrive a bit earlier than you would for a domestic Canadian flight. Feb 24, 2019 at 13:19

You will be fine. It might be that you are on a different flight if delayed, but you will get to your destination.

I have even arrived accidentally at ORD for a flight that was booked out of OHR. The woman at the United counter simply laughed and switched me to fly out of ORD at no extra charge. The United staff there will take good care of you.

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