The Mrs. and I are taking a holiday break in Grand Cayman this winter, flying United from Toronto Pearson (YYZ) -> Chicago O'Hare (ORD) -> Grand Cayman (GCM), and flying GCM->ORD->YYZ on the way back.

I have connected through ORD to PHX without rechecking bags / reclearing security, but am not sure what happens when connecting internationally. I also have noticed that the ORD ATS system is on an extended outage for maintenance/reconstruction which means you only have shuttle buses as a way to get from T1/2/3 to T5 for the time being.

YYZ has US pre-clearance so we would arrive at ORD as domestic passengers, which means T1/2/3. Would the outbound United flight to GCM be at T5? If we need to transfer to T5, since ATS is not running, would this involve claiming and rechecking luggage as well as re-clearing security? Or, because it's United, would it be departing from T1/2/3 which should mean no re-checking of bags?

On the way back, we should arrive at ORD at T5, then need to transfer to T1/2/3 for the return flight to YYZ - would the process be: US customs/bag claim/recheck bag/security rescreen? Is three hours of layover long enough to make these connections? (We are NEXUS members so screening times should be on the lower end of the spectrum.)

  • Surely the procedures and systems for transferring baggage between flights are independent of whether the landside, passenger peoplemover is running or not. Commented Jul 30, 2019 at 20:24
  • It seems that if you take the shuttle to T5, you need to exit and re-enter the secure area, so I'm not sure what happens with the baggage. I think you do not need to exit the secure area to use the ATS (if it's running) Commented Jul 30, 2019 at 20:30
  • The ATS is landside -- outside the secure area. On the other hand, your link says that there is an airside terminal transfer bus. It is only useful for the direction towards T5, because the US does not trust foreign airport security very much, so all passengers arriving on an international flight are forced to end up landside after clearing immigration and customs, and then have to clear the ordinary security check if they have an onward flight. Commented Jul 30, 2019 at 20:39
  • (The three times I have been to ORD were all domestic-to-international layovers. I never saw my baggage on any of them; it was transferred automatically. I didn't know about the airside shuttle and took the peoplemover instead, but that doesn't have anything to do with how the bags are handled). Commented Jul 30, 2019 at 20:43
  • Did you book separate tickets on different airlines? I don't see a United ORD-GCM flight at all. Commented Jul 30, 2019 at 21:24

1 Answer 1


United international flights do not normally depart from Terminal 5, but do depart from Terminal 1. Indeed as there is no United Lounge in Terminal 5, it’s unlikely your flight will depart from there. Exceptions might be possible of course.

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