3 Links I Love: Brexit’s Impact, O’Hare Terminal Plans, Flying Air France La Premiere

Air France, Government Regulation, Links I Love, ORD - Chicago/O'Hare

This week’s featured link:

Statement: Current Flights Protected, but Future Growth at Risk from No Deal BrexitIATA
Curious what the real impact of Brexit would be on flights if there’s no deal? IATA lays it out clearly. There is little impact on the US, but between the UK and the Continent… capacity could have to be cut.

Two for the road:

Here are the 5 ideas being proposed for O’Hare’s massive expansion Chicago Tribune
The five proposals for O’Hare big new terminal project have been released, and now you can look for yourselves. All seem to focus on building a big, indoor space with an architectural flourish. Some don’t seem all that practical at all. But hey, it’s fun to dream. Now we’ll see who wins.

There are a million trip reports that you can read, but Bernie always makes them more entertaining with his perspective. This time, he flew Air France from LA via Paris to Israel and went in First Class. It’s a fun read.

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22 comments on “3 Links I Love: Brexit’s Impact, O’Hare Terminal Plans, Flying Air France La Premiere

  1. Out of the AF flights, two went IRROPS. One due to maintenance and the other due to a strike. The indifference shown to me made me avoid ever flying them again. They can keep their French attitude. Hello LH. I have never looked back.

  2. I was at ORD this week and again reminded how truly awful it is. They cannot raze terminal 2 and rebuild something fast enough. That being said I don’t think any of the proposals are realistic. All of the designers are high profile names and the renderings look like a lot of form over function. For an airport that wants to grow and retake their crown from ATL these just seem way off base.

    Contrast these proposals to what MCI floated and finally got the voters to approve. From purely a function of how to best fix the problem at hand MCI is being realistic where in my opinion O’Hare is foolishly trying to reinvent the airport terminal and in my opinion will ultimately fail.

    If the goal is to beat ATL, build an ATL. It’s not flashy but it moves a lot of people. This looks like the goal is to build architecture. How’d that work out for TWA at JFK?

    1. Chicago is known for great architecture. From the Michigan Avenue “cliff” to current skyscrapers today, it’s what really defines Chicago. So, I get it. Terminal 1 was pretty cool in the late 80’s because of the use of steel and glass giving it an open feel. The walkway from B to C was awesome too.

      However, I really don’t see ORD beating ATL ever. ATL has a huge location advantage because people have migrated toward the south more. ATL is good for Northeast to Southeast traffic along with east-west traffic. ORD is really more for east-west connections.

      Plus, Atlanta is a growing city and Chicago is not.

      1. Plus, Atlanta is a growing city and Chicago is not.

        The city of Chicago is growing, but the burbs are not. Regardless that doesn’t preclude the need for airport redevelopment as both domestic & most international carriers have flights to ORD.

        If you want to make the shrinking city argument, Detroit makes more sense. However even there DTW has been growing with flights to the middle east, Asia & of course London, Paris, Frankfort & Amsterdam. The latter is a remnant of the old Northwest that Delta still holds on to as it is a moneymaker for them.

        1. I agree a new airport is needed and being Chicago, they will want an architectural masterpiece. Terminal 2 is a dump. Terminal 1 was great 30 years ago, but no longer, and Terminal 3 is just OK.

          The other point is that I don’t think ORD will ever overtake ATL as a busier airport because of location and where population growth is happening. DL also has less issues routing everything they can through one hub than UA. AA’s hub of choice is DFW anyway.

          Also, Chicago metro area has shrunk in population in 2015, 2016, and 2017. Whether the city is gaining and the ‘burbs are shrinking or vice versa, it’s still a shrinking area.

  3. It’s nice to see the proposals for O’Hell. Unfortunately, most of them look to me like they’re all wasted space and hyper-wow factor. The Skidmore, Owings & Merrill proposal looks practical and seems like it’d be full of people who are looking where they’re going, not bumping into each other because they’re all looking up at the pretty ceilings and other fancy features. Looks a whole lot easier to navigate to me.

  4. I don’t understand these international first class seats that have the stupid storage unit between the seat and the window, putting the seat right in the aisle with no privacy. I much prefer being closer to the window with a nice divider between myself and the aisle…seems much more private to me.

  5. Of course it’s a mess! The City of Chicago is running it.

    Blair Kamen reported separately in the Chicago Tribune that the names of the people on the panel who were reviewing and selecting the design were anonymous. I’m sure that means they’re anonymous to everyone except the folks “in the know.” The whole process has the same odor that was pervasive around Chicago’s old stock yards.

    As to the designs themselves, one of the things that stands out is the bizarre nature of ORD architecture. Terminal 1 was a 1980s Helmut Jahn design that’s collected enough dust and dirt in its old age to look like a grandma. Terminal 3 is a 1950s era throw-back to the early days of ORD and Terminal 5 is a 1990s era design. How any of the five Terminal 2 plans fit into the overall ORD plan remains to be seen.

    Or maybe that’s the point! Build a bizarre Terminal 2 and you’re going to have to tear the rest of the place down, ensuring lots of patronage waste well into 2080.

    Nobody, including me, argues we don’t need an expansion of capacity on what is now the E,F and G concourses at ORD. But like most Chicagoans, I’m confident the city will end up spending four or five times what it should to build a white elephant that will ensure more waste and more employees whose job is to repeatedly test the laws of gravity to make sure the law still is in effect.

    It’s Chicago. We don’t expect anything less!

  6. Agreed that ORD needs to be totally rebuilt.

    However, this is Chicago we’re talking about, so what this is really about is a final chance for the mayor to cement his o?f?f?s?h?o?r?e? ?b?a?n?k? ?a?c?c?o?u?n?t?s r?e?t?i?r?e?m?e?n?t? ?n?e?s?t? ?e?g?g “legacy” by selling the rights to design and build the new ORD projects to the highest bidders.

    1. I apologize, apparently the strikethrough text in the comment above. Revised comment:

      Agreed that ORD needs to be totally rebuilt.

      However, this is Chicago we’re talking about, so what this is really about is a final chance for the mayor to cement his offshore bank accounts (er, “retirement nestegg” … Wait, make that “legacy”. Yeah, it’s all about leaving a lasting “legacy”) by selling the rights to design and build the new ORD projects to the highest bidders.

      1. I thought the scrambled strike-through content was funnier, once I figured out how to decide it. :-)

          1. You know what, if we’re going to take the attitude of – it’s Chicago & they’re going to make everything worse, you might as well throw up your hands & say don’t bother. What we have is good enough.

            I read the same comments on other transportation blogs & I wonder if this is what we have become as a society. There’s no excuse for grift, but this obsession with it has blinded many into just saying no or excepting less than what is needed to evolve transportation wise.


            1. Sean, I get what you’re saying. But as a long-time Illinoisan, the problems we see with government are so pervasive that many of us in the know are afraid for any big spending projects. Look at when the terminal project was announced — the summer warm-up to the 2019 Mayoral Race.

              Lest you think we’re over-reacting, the Chairman of the Finance Committee for the Chicago City Council, long-time Alderman Ed Burke, is about to be indicted by the federal government for extortion of a Burger King franchisee in Chicago. This isn’t some low-level flunkie. It’s a long-time institution on the council.

              This is the same city where Millenium Park was four years later than the Millenium due to ineptitude (they sank pilings for the park structure before they knew the load the pilings would support) and had such a ridiculous cost overrun on Soldier Field that it’s simply absurd.

              A long-forgotten GOP Senator, Peter Fitzgerald, had the right idea when the Lincoln Crowd proposed a Presidential Museum for Springfield. Fitzgerald was so angry at the thought of corruption that he put a freeze on the spending, even though the Governor was at the time a member of his own party, until the federal government could get assurances that there would be no corruption.

              This is why we react the way we do.

  7. “quirky features like hammocks where travelers could take a nap before flights”-
    Meaning, places where travelers can overnight when they miss connections or are grounded for weather.

    Models of bright open spaces are nice, but I’m more interested in the details on how they plan to increase the efficiency of ORD’s people-movers, or for moving people, more generally, across and within terminals. ATL lacks moving walkways within their long terminals (DEN has improved their model), but their connectivity between terminals can’t be beat for an airport of its size*. This is less sexy than 3D models, but show me the operational schema.

    *We can have a separate discussion about direct transit between the domestic and international terminals. Ugh.

    1. DEN and DTW both have longer terminals, which make the moving walkways necessary. They also have wider concourses

      The concourses in ATL are too narrow to add moving sidewalks in the middle.

      1. I recall reading that there is a proposal for another airport for Atlanta as ATL has become over crowded. I don’t know if there was any lift off on it. I could imagine locals losing their collective minds after the fiasco that being the new stadium for the Braves.

        1. I don’t think so. The new international terminal F was completed as recently as 2012, and the remainder of the airport is undergoing updates. ATL has long been busy but even with tons of growth the city doesn’t need a MDW or HOU equivalent.

  8. The Air France “review” was an embarrassment. Thankfully, the ‘author’ included his name and the fact that he was pretentious but he forgot pompous, and condescending, Now, I know that when I see his name, I can avoid the wretched air sickness I feel! PLEASE exclude Leighton from and more of your great newsletters!

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