car rental at chicago airport

Navigating Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) for the first time can be an overwhelming experience, given its vast size and the flurry of activity it witnesses daily.

On a recent trip that required me to rent a car upon arrival, I embarked on a journey to locate the car rental facilities at ORD.

This review is based on my firsthand experience, intended to assist fellow travelers in finding their way to the car rental services at one of the world’s busiest airports.

The Quest Begins: Finding Car Rental at ORD

Upon landing and gathering my luggage, the search for the car rental services commenced. It’s worth noting that Chicago O’Hare’s car rental facilities are not located within the main terminal buildings, a common setup in major airports to manage space and traffic flow more efficiently.

Multi-Modal Facility: The Hub for Car Rentals

ORD has centralized its car rental operations into a state-of-the-art Multi-Modal Facility (MMF), which serves as the hub for all major car rental companies.

This consolidation streamlines the rental process for travelers, offering a one-stop solution for picking up and returning rental vehicles.

Location and Accessibility

The MMF is situated at the northeast corner of the airport, away from the terminal congestion. While it might seem daunting to reach another airport area, ORD has made the journey relatively seamless.

Reaching the MMF


The most straightforward way to reach the MMF is by utilizing the Airport Transit System (ATS), a free, 24/7 automated people mover.

After collecting my luggage, I followed the signs directing to the ATS, which were prominently displayed throughout the airport. The ATS connects all terminals to the MMF, ensuring that regardless of your arrival terminal, access to the car rental facilities is convenient and quick.

The ATS Experience

The ride on the ATS to the MMF was swift and efficient, lasting approximately 10 minutes from my departure terminal.

The cars were clean, and despite my initial concerns about navigating to the MMF, the process was hassle-free, with clear announcements and signage guiding passengers to their destination.

Arrival at the Multi-Modal Facility


Upon arriving at the MMF, I was greeted by a modern, well-organized building housing the car rental services. The facility features:

  • Car Rental Companies: All major car rental agencies have counters here, including Hertz, Avis, Budget, Enterprise, and others. Their counters were clearly marked, making it easy to locate my reserved company.
  • Customer Service: I found the staff at the car rental counters to be helpful and efficient. The check-in process for my pre-booked vehicle was straightforward, with minimal wait time.
  • Vehicle Pick-up: After completing the paperwork, I was directed to the garage area adjacent to the service counters, where the rental cars are parked. The process of finding my car was simple, with clear signage guiding me to the correct zone.

Tips for a Smooth Car Rental Experience at ORD


Based on my experience, here are some tips to facilitate a smooth car rental process at Chicago O’Hare:

  1. Reserve in Advance: Pre-booking your car rental can significantly expedite the check-in process at the MMF.
  2. Follow Signage to ATS: The airport is large, but the signs directing passengers to the ATS and subsequently to the MMF are clear and abundant. Keep an eye out for these to avoid any confusion.
  3. Allow for Transit Time: Include the time it will take to ride the ATS and complete the rental process in your travel itinerary, especially if you have a tight schedule post-arrival.
  4. Familiarize Yourself with the Return Process: Knowing where and how to return your rental car can save you time and stress when departing. The MMF accommodates both pick-up and return, making it your one-stop destination for all car rental needs at ORD.


Renting a car at Chicago O’Hare International Airport, while initially daunting due to the airport’s size, is made remarkably straightforward thanks to the centralized Multi-Modal Facility and the efficient Airport Transit System.

The MMF houses a comprehensive range of car rental agencies, providing travelers with various options to suit their needs.

My journey from the terminal to driving away in my rental car was smooth and uneventful, highlighting ORD’s commitment to passenger convenience.

For those needing a rental car upon arrival in Chicago, the process at ORD is designed with efficiency and ease in mind, ensuring you’re on your way in no time.

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