A Guide to Finding Cheap International Flights from Chicago

Chicago is a metropolitan city in the U.S. state of Illinois and a very popular destination for visitors from other continents as well. People fly in large numbers to and from Chicago every day. The city is also well known for its historical significance, architecture, art, museums, parks, lakes, beaches, and more.

Traveling to and from Chicago on flights is hassle-free. Whether you want to visit another state or city in the United States or fly to another continent, the airports in Chicago are served by several airline carriers and routes.

In this travel guide, we will take an in-depth look at finding cheap flights from Chicago to various destinations around the world.

Finding Cheap International Flights from Chicago

A Brief Overview of Chicago’s Airports

The Chicago metropolitan area has two airports that serve both domestic, national, and international flights. These airports are:

  • O’Hare International Airport (IATA: ORD)

O’Hare International Airport is situated on the far Northwest Side, while the Chicago Midway International Airport is situated on the Southwest Side of the city. Both airports are owned and operated by the City of Chicago.

Chicago is the main hub for commercial airline carriers, which include American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and United Airlines.

Which Airport Offers Best Deals on International Flights from Chicago?

O’Hare International Airport is the larger and busiest of the city’s two airports. Also, it offers the bulk of the city’s international flights, which means the more flights and routes the more deals you can get. O’Hare is the main headquarter for the commercial airliner United Airlines. However, American and Delta Airlines also have made the airport their main hub, in addition to several other airline carriers that serve domestic and international cities. Thus, there is a good amount of competition among these carriers.

In the case of Midway International Airport, most of the flights out of Midway mainly serve domestic destinations, though there are a few flights, such as Southwest Airlines, Volaris, and Porter Airlines that also fly to Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean.

O’Hare Airport is located on the city’s Northwest Side that is accessible via the Blue Line L train. The train takes about 45 minutes from downtown. You can also take a 30-45-minute drive, where the time would depend on the traffic. O’Hare has four terminals. Terminals 1, 2, and 3 are all connected and serve mostly domestic routes, while Terminal 5 is separate and serves mostly international flights.

On the other hand, Chicago’s Midway International Airport is located on the city’s Southwest Side and is accessible via the Orange Line L train. The train takes about 30 minutes. Or, if you prefer driving, it may take roughly the same amount of time. From Downtown Chicago, both airports are easy to get to, though the Midway Airport is reachable in slightly less time.

Midway has one main terminal and three concourses (A, B, C) that are interconnected. This makes Midway easier to navigate. Also, the smaller amount of departing flights means that the wait times for security are generally less than at O’Hare Airport.

Finding Cheap International Flights from Chicago to Central America, Mexico, and South America

There are direct flights from Chicago to Central America and Mexico that are served by O’Hare Airport and Midway Airport. Chicago is also a major hub for flights to Mexico. However, there are no direct flights to South America. Most flights connect via Central America, Mexico City, Miami, or Houston. Most direct flights from Chicago to Mexico or Central America take about five hours.

From O’Hare Airport there are direct flights from Chicago to various cities, which include:

  • Belize City (United)
  • Bogotá (Avianca)
  • Cancún (American, Frontier, Spirit, United)
  • Cozumel (American, United)
  • Guadalajara (Interjet, Aeromexico, Volaris)
  • Guatemala City (American, Avianca)
  • Huatulco (Volaris)
  • Ixtapa (United, Volaris)
  • León (United)
  • Liberia (United)
  • Mexico City (Interjet, Aeromexico, United, Volaris)
  • Monterrey (United)
  • Puerto Vallarta (American, Frontier, United)
  • San José del Cabo (United, American)
  • San José (United)
  • São Paulo (United)

Also, from Midway Airport, there are direct flights served from Chicago to cities, which include:

  • Cancún (Southwest)
  • Durango (Volaris)
  • Guadalajara (Volaris)
  • León (Volaris)
  • Morelia (Volaris)
  • Querétaro (Volaris)
  • San José del Cabo (Southwest)
  • Zacatecas (Volaris)

When traveling on a round-trip flight from Chicago to South America, regular airfares may range from $800 up to $1,600 during peak season and from $550 up to $1,000 during off-peak season. Scoring a good deal on a flight from Chicago to South America is the airfare that costs under $700 during peak season and $600 during off-peak season, respectively.

Finding Cheap International Flights from Chicago to Countries in Oceania

There are no direct flights from Chicago to Australia or the islands in the Pacific, however, there is a 16-hour non-stop flight from Chicago to Auckland, New Zealand. But, to get to other cities in the Oceania region, you will have to take at least one connection. Also, depending on your final destination city, it may make more sense to route from Chicago to a city like Los Angeles and take a direct flight from there. If you can get a great deal to your destination city from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), you can save by booking a separate ticket from Chicago to LAX, instead of trying to book it all on one itinerary. There are, however, no direct flights to Oceania from Midway Airport.

From O’Hare International Airport, there are direct flights to Auckland (Air New Zealand). Nearly all other flights will have a connection in a US city, like Los Angeles or San Francisco.

When traveling on a round-trip flight from Chicago to Australia, New Zealand, or the South Pacific, regular airfares may range from $1,500 up to $2,000 during peak season and from $1,200 up to $1,600 during off-peak season. Scoring a good deal on a flight from Chicago to Oceania is the airfare that costs under $800 during peak season and $700 during off-peak season, respectively.

Finding Cheap International Flights from Chicago to Europe

Getting to Europe from Chicago is convenient since Chicago is also a major hub for many flights to European countries, including direct flights from O’Hare Airport. This means you can easily get to just about any major city in Europe with one connection, depending on where you’re going in Europe. However, there are no direct flights to Europe from Midway Airport.

For example, direct flights from Chicago can take less than eight hours to reach Iceland or London, or up to about 10.5 hours to Istanbul.

From Chicago O’Hare there are direct flights served by many airline carriers to various cities in Europe, which include:

  • Amsterdam (KLM, United)
  • Brussels (United)
  • Budapest (LOT Polish Airlines)
  • Copenhagen (SAS)
  • Dublin (Aer Lingus, United)
  • Krakow (LOT)
  • London (Norwegian Air to Gatwick Airport and American Airlines, British Airways, and United Airlines to Heathrow Airport)
  • Madrid (Iberia)
  • Munich (Lufthansa, United)
  • Reykjavik (Icelandair)
  • Rome (American)
  • Stockholm (SAS)
  • Vienna (Austrian)
  • Warsaw (LOT)
  • Zurich (SWISS)

When traveling on a round-trip flight from Chicago to Europe, regular airfares may range from $1,200 up to $1,500 during peak season and from $800 up to $1,200 during off-peak season. Scoring a good deal on a flight from Chicago to Europe is the airfare that costs under $650 during peak season and $500 during off-peak season, respectively.

Finding Cheap International Flights from Chicago to Asia

Although there are fewer direct flights from Chicago to Asia compared to Europe, it still offers plenty of routes to destinations across the Asian continent. For instance, there are direct flights to major cities in China, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, and India.

In order to get to other cities in Asia, you will have to take at least one connection either in Asia or a hub, like the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). Direct flights from Chicago generally take more than 12 hours, depending on which city you are visiting in Asia. However, there are no direct flights to Asia from Midway Airport.

From Chicago O’Hare there are direct flights served by many airline carriers to various cities in Asia, which include:

  • Delhi (Air India)
  • Shanghai (China Eastern Airlines, United)
  • Tokyo (American, Japan, ANA, United)

When traveling on a round-trip flight from Chicago to Asia, regular airfares may range from $1,200 up to $1,800 during peak season and from $900 up to $1,300 during off-peak season. Scoring a good deal on a flight from Chicago to Asia is the airfare that costs under $700 during peak season and $500 during off-peak season, respectively.

Conclusion

Both O’Hare and Midway airports serve direct as well as connecting flights from Chicago to many cities on various continents. So, when you have a travel plan from Chicago city, you can easily one.

Also, you can easily grab great deals for cheap international flights from Chicago on websites, like Google Flights, Expedia, Kayak, Priceline, Skyscanner, CheapOair, etc.