seating at the lounge
Seating at the AF/KLM lounge

There are just three lounges in the entire international terminal at Chicago’s O’hare international airport. One of the best of these (definitely top two) is the Air France/KLM Lounge. It’s a little tight on space, and it can be overbearingly crowded if you’re flying at the wrong time. Otherwise, it does offer you the chance to have a bite to eat and a drink or three before you head off to your flight. In terms of comparisions, the natural light, and the remarkably better food options, makes it a better choice than the Swissport Lounge across the hallway. However, if you can’t get into the AF/KLM lounge due to space issues, you can try that as a second-best option, if you have card access. But that won’t happen to YOU, so jump right in to our Air France-KLM Lounge Review – Chicago (ORD) to find out all the excitement that awaits you at T5 ORD!

Our Trip – Air France-KLM Lounge Review – Chicago (ORD)

‘Twas the season of longhauls

and all through the terminal

not a creature was stirring

except for a lounge shark…

…Specifically, from Tokyo to Chicago to Doha, flying very empty planes on Japan Airlines and Qatar Airways. There are more efficient routings than this, but then, that wouldn’t get you a lounge review in Chicago, now would it?

Our trip roun’d the world, almost.

The Facts – Air France-KLM Lounge Review – Chicago (ORD)

This lounge isn’t super remarkable but, surprisingly, the best that the entire international terminal at O’Hare has to offer (in fact, its one of just three), and so quite a few airlines team up with it for their business class and status’ed passengers, including: Qatar, Air India, and Etihad, and Ethiopian.

airline pasengers accepted at the Air France-KLM Lounge Review - Chicago (ORD)
Entrance to the AF/KLM lounge in Chicago

The lounge also takes a wide range of cards, including Priority Pass, but also Lounge Key and Diner’s club. One issue here is potentially that, during crowded times, they may limit access to holders of these cards, though in the covid moment, this is not an issue. (Thankfully, they do have limits, unlike certain lounges we know.)

To reach the lounge, after security, walk through duty-free, and once you’re in the main terminal hallway, head to the right. You’ll pass the Lufthansa Senator Lounge, and then the restrooms, and then you’ll see the lounge on your left, as shown below.

hallway leading to Air France-KLM Lounge Review - Chicago (ORD)
How to get to the lounge
reception desk at Air France-KLM Lounge Review - Chicago (ORD)
The check-in desk can sometimes have a wait

The Space – Air France-KLM Lounge Review – Chicago (ORD)

The fact this Skyteam lounge takes so many different passengers and cards means that spaciousness is not one of its trump cards. Really, the lounge is quite narrow, and the food is spread out in a long line, which means that there’s people constantly coming and going. It really doesn’t contribute to a relaxing air, especially when someone decides to take a video call without headphones. If you come before the crush of afternoon flights, you might be a little more relaxation, though.

seating at the lounge
A moment of relative solitude at the AirFrance/KLM lounge.

It is sometimes more quiet at the far back wall. There is also another room, with no food, behind the recetion area that can offer a little more respite. Sadly, both of these areas are closed while the pandemic continues. However, if you’re reading this in happier times, those sections may be open, and the crowds may be back.

seating at Air France-KLM Lounge Review - Chicago (ORD)

The food – Air France-KLM Lounge Review – Chicago (ORD)

In non-pandemic times, there are usually a few trays of mediocre hot food: some soups, maybe a little farfalle or a bit of tagliatelle in a questionable sauce du jour. The chili, when they have it, isn’t all so bad. In pandemic times, though, the hot food’s basically all gone, and you can only have soup and ramen noodles as “hot food.” Or oatmeal, if you want to count that.

noodle bar at Air France-KLM Lounge Review - Chicago (ORD)
This is the noodle bar.

The noodle bar doesn’t quite live up to those in airlines with a more Asian persuasion. But then, this IS the Airfrance lounge, after all.

sandwiches at Air France-KLM Lounge Review - Chicago (ORD)

Then, in the fridge, there’s a goodly selection of packaged foods that you may end up relying on. These include sandwiches, vegetables like carrots in baggies, some hummos and the like. It’s not awful, actually, but the packaging does add up.

snacks at Air France-KLM Lounge Review - Chicago (ORD)

Then there are the chips, the oatmeal, and the cookies. All this can be yours next time you fly internationally from a non-US carrier. Woo!

The drinks

Here again, the lounge at least tries to keep it interesting. They’ve got a good range of mostly American beers, as well as a few wines.

beer at the Air France-KLM Lounge Review - Chicago (ORD)
The beer selection is remarkably good. Air France-KLM Lounge Review – Chicago (ORD)The beer selection is remarkably good.

There’s also a good range of juices and waters, alongside the typical coffee and tea options.

sodas at the lounge. Air France-KLM Lounge Review - Chicago (ORD)
There are also sodas and things

They manner of display of the liquor isn’t exactly exciting, given that they try to make five bottles fill a super long shelf, but if you’re looking to get a little sloshed and know how to pick your poison, it shouldn’t be an insurmountable challenge. Or you could just grab a red or white wine and keep it simple; they have that too.

Some liquors at the airfrance klm lounge
Lounge liquor shelf
more liquor Air France-KLM Lounge Review - Chicago (ORD)
topshelf at the AF/KLM lounge

The internet

This has always been an issue for us. Certain devices refuse to connect, sometimes they connect, sometimes they dont. It’s never been an issue on our phones, but with the laptop, it sometimes takes some work, and this is a long-running issue. However, in principle, the lounge does have internet, and it does run reasonably fast. I’m sure with some dedication you’ll be able to figure out the conncetivity issues. You can rely on this lounge for a basic, medium-speed connection.

The restrooms

There ain’t none. To lower your weight before takeoff, you’ll need to exit the lounge and head a few steps to the right, where you’ll find the usual airport restrooms. It’s not so far as to be very annoying, but of course, it doesn’t feel like true luxury if you’re doing your business amidst the general throng. There are also no showers, at all. If you do really value a private bathroom, you can try the Swissport lounge across the hallway, assuming you have access.

Final Thoughts

The lounge has some ups and his has some downs. Space and noise can be serious issues, but the general availability of reasonably tasty snacks and even sometimes hot food make this lounge a truly decent place to decompress before you get on a flight. They do make well-timed announcements, too, so you don’t need to stress out about missing your flight. If you have access, it is certainly worth a visit, but don’t show up too early in the hopes of basking in luxury. If you want that, go to Antigua.

Final Grades

Alcohol: 3/5
Total Score16/30
reading material at Air France-KLM Lounge Review - Chicago (ORD)
Pandemic-era lounge reading material