Guide to Midway Airport Amenities and Layover Tips

If you find yourself with a layover at Chicago Midway Airport (MDW), you’re in for a straightforward yet comfortable experience. MDW comprises one main terminal that’s divided into three concourses (A, B, and C), each easily accessible from the others without the need to re-clear security. This connectivity ensures you can explore various dining, retail, and service options mostly located airside, making the most of your time at the airport.

Concourse C is notable for being quieter and less crowded, as highlighted in a firsthand review. Given that it’s primarily used by airlines like Suncountry and Allegiant, you’ll likely find a calmer environment to relax or catch up on work. Be mindful that the airport’s overhead lights remain on throughout the night, so carrying an eye mask could be beneficial for rest.

For seating, Concourse A and B are busier but offer substantial seating arrangements. Despite the absence of bench seating, finding a single seat or a row of seats to lay across is feasible. For overnight stays, consider bringing a compact travel mattress or using an airline blanket to make do with the floor, as some travelers have successfully managed.

Amenities like free WiFi across the airport can keep you entertained or productive. Although the variety of amenities and things to do might seem limited, the availability of a food court that operates 24 hours ensures you won’t go hungry or thirsty, regardless of the time.

Before Your Layover:

  • Plan ahead by checking which concourse your flight departs from, as this could influence where you choose to spend your waiting time.
  • Consider packing a light blanket or scarf and an eye mask to aid comfort during potential naps or rests.
  • Keep essentials like a water bottle, snacks, and any necessary electronics (along with chargers) handy in your carry-on.

During Your Layover:

  • Explore the retail and dining options. Even with a limited selection, there are enough choices to explore different cuisines or pick up last-minute travel necessaries.
  • Stay connected with the airport’s free WiFi, perfect for catching up on emails, browsing, or streaming.
  • Use the quieter concourses for rest or more peaceful activities, particularly if your layover overlaps with nighttime.

Sleeping at Chicago’s MDW

Based on collected passenger reviews, the best location for sleeping at Midway Airport appears to be Concourse C. It is highlighted for being quiet and clean, with only occasional use by airlines like Suncountry and Allegiant. This area is well-lit and considered secure, making it ideal for solo travelers, including women who prioritize safety. However, it is noted that having no bench seating, necessitates the use of a foam mattress on the floor for comfort.

This concourse remains brightly lit throughout the night, so eye masks are recommended. For those needing amenities, some parts of the food court remain open 24 hours. While the absence of bench seating and occasional loud cleaning activities are drawbacks, the overall safe and relatively comfortable environment makes Concourse C a preferred choice for passengers needing rest.

While this airport lacks designated sleep areas and sleeping pods, you can still utilize the few spots we recommend for sleep based on several reviews we analyzed. Check out our Chicago’s Midway Airport Sleeping Guide.

We rated Midway Airport and found its sleep rating to be poor. Read our guide with a breakdown of Midway Airport Sleep Score.

Some Helpful Layover Tips:

Always set an alarm on your phone or watch to wake you up in time for your connecting flight, especially if you decide to nap. Being prepared and knowing what to expect can transform your layover at Chicago Midway Airport from a mere waiting period into a more enjoyable, or at least comfortable, part of your travel experience.

Tip #1: For a quieter experience at Midway Airport, opt for Concourse C. It’s significantly less busy compared to Concourse A and B, offering a more peaceful waiting area.

Tip #2: Since the overhead lights in the airport stay on all night, consider bringing an eye mask to make sleeping more comfortable if you plan to stay overnight.

Tip #3: With no bench seating available in some areas, it might be wise to bring a small, portable mattress or thick blanket if you need to rest on the floor.

Tip #4: For those unexpected hunger pangs or if you find yourself craving a snack during odd hours, some food courts within the airport are open 24/7.

Tip #5: If you’re looking to stretch out and possibly catch some sleep, find the seats at the edges of what can be described as a football field in the terminal. These areas typically have a run of seats with fewer people around.

Tip #6: Arriving landside at MDW just after midnight can offer an eerily quiet atmosphere. It’s a good time for travelers who prefer less hustle and bustle.

Tip #7: Don’t forget to set an alarm if you plan to nap in the terminal. Flights start boarding early, and you wouldn’t want to miss yours.

Tip #8: Always keep an eye on your belongings, even if you’re settling down for a nap. Consider using a luggage lock and keep important items like your passport and wallet on your person.

Tip #9: Charging stations can be few and far between, so bring a portable power bank to ensure your devices stay charged, especially if you’re relying on electronic boarding passes.

Tip #10: Explore the airport’s website or mobile app in advance to familiarize yourself with the layout. Knowing where amenities are located can save you time and stress, particularly if this is your first visit to MDW.

Tip #11: If you’re sensitive to noise, a pair of noise-canceling headphones or earplugs can be invaluable, especially when trying to sleep or relax in a busy terminal.

Tip #12: Stay hydrated by keeping a refillable water bottle with you. There are several water refill stations in Concourses A, B and C.

Take Note of Midway Airport Hours(opening/tsa)

Chicago Midway International Airport (MDW) operates around the clock, ensuring that its terminal is open 24 hours a day to accommodate travelers. It’s important to note, however, that access to the terminal is restricted between 12:00 AM and 4:00 AM solely to ticketed passengers. This policy is part of the airport’s comprehensive approach to maintaining a secure environment for everyone.

For those looking to plan their arrivals or departures, it’s crucial to consider the operating hours of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoints. They are available from 3:30 AM to 11:00 PM every day, facilitating security screening for most flights.

For travelers enrolled in TSA Pre✓™, an expedited screening process is offered, with checkpoints open from 4:30 AM to 8:00 PM daily. This timeline offers a broad window for passengers, ensuring a smoother transition through security checks before catching their flights.

Here’s a table summarizing the operational details for Chicago Midway International Airport (MDW):

Facility/ServiceOperating HoursDetails
Airport Terminal24 hoursOpen around the clock. Access restricted to ticketed passengers between 12:00 AM and 4:00 AM for security reasons.
TSA Checkpoints3:30 AM – 11:00 PMAvailable daily for most flights.
TSA Pre✓™ Checkpoints4:30 AM – 8:00 PMProvides expedited screening.
This table provides a clear overview of the terminal and security checkpoint hours, assisting travelers in planning their airport visits effectively.

Unfortunately, MDW doesn’t have shower facilities

Regarding inquiries about shower facilities at Midway Airport, it’s important to note that the airport currently does not offer public shower amenities for travelers. The airport houses a single lounge, the USO lounge, which is dedicated to serving active military members and their families; however, it also lacks shower facilities.

For passengers in need of showering options, looking into nearby accommodations becomes a necessary consideration. Hotels near Midway Airport, such as the Extended Stay America – Chicago – Midway or the Best Western Inn & Suites – Midway Airport, could serve as viable options. These establishments offer comfort and amenities, including shower facilities, that are not available within the airport.

Get Connected with Midway Airport WiFi for Free:

In response to inquiries about WiFi services at Midway Airport, travelers will be pleased to know that the airport offers free unlimited WiFi, ensuring connectivity throughout the terminal.

To access the internet, passengers simply need to connect to the “Boingo Hotspot” or the “_Free_MDW_Wi-Fi” network. Before gaining access, users are required to watch a short advertisement, after which they can enjoy uninterrupted internet service.

This feature adds a significant level of convenience for travelers, whether it’s catching up on work, staying in touch with family and friends, or simply browsing the internet while waiting for a flight.

Image of Nathan Kip Rotich

Nathan helps travelers find the most comfortable sleep setups during layovers, from cozy airport hotels to futuristic sleep pods. His insights aim to transform layovers into rejuvenating sleepcations, offering travelers an alternative to costly hotels and uncomfortable benches.