I am travelling from New Delhi to Toronto, Canada with JAL airlines. I will be arriving at terminal 5 of Chicago O'Hare for my connecting flight. From terminal 5 , I will have to go to terminal 3. In the two hours I am supposed to claim, re-check in baggage, customs, immigration.

Is 2 hours sufficient for transit?

  • 1
    What is your citizenship, and if relevant, visa type, and travel history to the US (i.e. have you already travelled to the US previously or not)?
    – jcaron
    Feb 23 at 17:35

1 Answer 1


Getting from T5 to T3 is very straightforward (O'Hare official web site):

  • The Terminal Transfer Bus runs every 15 minutes and will take you directly from T5 to T3. You will not stay air side so you have to go back through security. It runs 1130 -2130 daily.
  • The Airport Transit System (train) runs 24/7 with trains arriving in each terminal every 10 minutes and takes a total of 10 minutes end-to-end. You'll also have to go back through security.

Anecdotal evidence:

Returning from Mexico to the US a few years ago (on a US passport) we didn't go through baggage claim (carry-on/hand-luggage only), and getting through immigration & customs took maybe 20 min. For this trip, customs was 2 uniforms standing right before the exit:

[Them] "You have anything to declare?"
[Us] "No."
[Them] "Have a good day."

My daughter has returned from Europe to the US several times arriving at T5. Even with waiting for checked luggage, she's usually 30-45 minutes max from touchdown (as monitored on a phone app - prior to arrival at the gate), to walking out the air-side doors to meet me for pickup.

i.e., generally getting luggage off the plane and into your hands is pretty quick. Immigration and customs has been, in my personal experience, been pretty quick as well.

Based on experience, I'd think that 2 hours would be a minimum but would be possible. It does not, however, allow much room for error.

If the two tickets are booked as a single flight, and they're scheduled with a 2 hour layover, you have nothing to worry about, as JAL will be responsible for getting you to YYZ even if the inbound flight is late. You need to be prepared that you might miss your flight and be prepared to be patient while they get you rebooked and you wait for the next flight, but they'll get you there.

If you've purchased 2 separate flights and are self-connecting, this would be a hard NO. Any delay that causes you to miss your ORD-YYZ flight means you're out the money for that ticket (and the return, if there is one) plus you have to purchase a last minute ticket out of your own pocket on the spot at inflated "I need to travel now" prices.

  • You will have to go through security again after an international flight
    – ajd
    Feb 23 at 17:59
  • I know the ATS is ground side. However, the ORD site indicates that the TTS bus allows you to remain air side and not have to go back through security. Are you 100% sure of that one must pass back to ground side even for the TTS, @ajd? I'm simply going on what their web site says, so I might be misreading it, or it could be incorrect now.
    – FreeMan
    Feb 23 at 18:04
  • I am sure that it lets you remain airside if you are already airside in T5. But after an international flight you will not be airside at T5 since you will have already gotten your checked baggage.
    – ajd
    Feb 23 at 18:07
  • That makes sense, but it also totally invalidates O'Hare's own web page on the matter. Not going to argue with you because you make sense, I'm just pointing out what they say. I do believe that T5 is international only (though int'l flights arrive/depart other terminals, too), so it doesn't make sense that their site would make that statement. :shrug:
    – FreeMan
    Feb 23 at 18:14
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    Last time I came in through Chicago (maybe 4 months ago from Europe), it was total pandemonium. Huge lines at BOTH immigration and customs. Total wait was way in excess of 2 hours and without Global Entry, I would not have made my connections. So you'll never know until you get there.
    – Hilmar
    Feb 24 at 14:22

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