Free Wi-Fi Available Through ‘Trick” at Chicago O’Hare and Chicago Midway

We are always looking around and trying to get free wi-fi at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport (ORD) and Chicago Midway airport (MDW). Here are some of the great suggestions we have found in our research on the interweb for free-wifi at Chicago O’Hare airport and Chicago midway.

  • Check out this’trick’ that I stumbled upon — when I was taking a 8 hour layover at ORD the other day, I noticed the WiFi (think the SSID was ‘Concourse’) was free (for 30 mins or so) from my mobile device but wasn’t free from my laptop. However, there were a number of sites accessible from the splash page (news, amazon, ebay etc) and I found that once I’d navigated to one of those (Amazon for instance) it would ‘unblock’ the rest of the navigable internet for free.  Seemed to work most times
  • I found that I could easily visit sites like slashdot, Google, or even this weblog, when adding a ?.jpg at the end of the url.   This trick will only work on Wi-Fi networks that allow images to go through without a redirect, and though it may seem like a bit of a stretch, it’s better than shelling out $7 for 30 minutes of Wi-Fi. free-wifi-at-Chicago O'Hare Airport-Chicago
  • The Chicago Department of Aviation and Boingo, the airports’ Wi-Fi provider, have inked a deal that allows free access to more than 41 websites offering news, weather, shopping, banking and travel information. Free websites include those for American, United, Delta and Southwest Airlines, but not some  international carriers that operate out of O’Hare. Wi-Fi access is free to Chicago-based Orbitz.com but not larger travel site Expedia.com. Popular social media sites such as Facebook or email access are also excluded–> CLICK HERE
  • Scan for wireless networks at the airport and you’ll probably find a Boingo hotspot. You may already know that you can very easily access some sites without paying. Connect to the network and click the The Good Stuff box. This gives you access to a limited number of complementary sites, but after clicking it, try opening a new tab in your browser and going somewhere else—you might just find it works.
  • Another ‘secret trick’ is the airline lounges all have free wifi. If you sit underneath one of the lounges that’s on the upper level you can usually get a good signal.
  • Another ‘unknown trick’:  Just find a friendly airport employee and ask them for the password. My buddy used to work for the TSA at Midway and gave me the password for the network there.
  • Walk over to the Chicago O’Hare Hilton , which has free internet access in public areas — Located within Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD), the O’Hare hotel is the only hotel with underground walkways to all domestic terminals and a train to downtown Chicago. Perfect for business and leisure travelers alike, Hilton Chicago O’Hare Airport hotel offers complimentary WiFi access in the lobby, three restaurants, 24-hour room service and expansive Athletic Club with indoor pool.
  • Another commuter tip for O’Hare: Spend $2 at Ace Hardware and buy a cube tap for your laptop bag. Electric outlets are few and far between, and chances are they’ll all be filled up. Pull out the cube tap you’re set.
  • The best travel accessory we’ve found is this Outlets To Go Power Strip with USB. It is compact and folds up nicely so doesn’t snag on all the other cables in our laptop bag like a cube tap does.
  • For some paid hotspots we’ve changed the DNS to Google’s 8.8.8.8 and have gotten free internet. Doesn’t always work though.
  • For Verizon customers who happen to have a 4g LTE Android phone and grandfathered true unlimited data plans, it is relatively easy to edit your phone’s database to remove the check with Verizon to see if you pay the monthly fee for hotspot.  Not really “free” per se, but just another tip from someone who travels a lot. It’s pretty much for this reason, I’m not upgrading my phone anytime soon.

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