A few nights ago the Home Warrior and I were watching Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. It’s a show on Food Network where Guy Fieri goes around the country checking out delicious little hole in the wall restaurants. During this particular episode, a segment set in Chicago caught my eye. Guy opened it by saying, “People contact me all the time, asking this question. I’m stuck in an airport for a few hours–is there somewhere nearby where I can get some good food?” The place he recommended was only 15 minutes away from O’Hare, and looked very tasty.
I have a lot of problems with this advice. Sure, the restaurant looked tempting, and I can certainly understand the desire to enjoy something other than airport cuisine. However, in my opinion leaving the airport during a normal layover is just too risky. In Chicago and many other cities, 15 minutes away can pretty easily become two hours away during traffic. Also, in lots of airports security can get backed up and take foreeeeever to get through.
The only time I can think that this might be okay is if your flight is super delayed, and you use a tool like Flight Aware to track your incoming plane. It is still pretty risky though. Besides, not all airport food is bad! (Pictured: The salmon bites from a recent visit to Vino Volo. Yum!)
I know a lot of folks like to schedule stopovers, where they plan to leave the airport. If that’s the case then you should definitely go check out the city. If you’re on a normal two hour-ish layover, I recommend staying at the airport.
Readers, do you ever leave the airport during a layover?