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First Airport Lounge at Chicago Midway Set to Open Next Year

The first-ever lounge at Chicago's secondary airport will be open to Priority Pass holders and all other passengers for a $50 fee

by Lauren Smith

October 2, 2023

Photo: Courtesy of Chicago Midway Airport

Chicago Midway International Airport (MDW) will open its first passenger lounge next fall, accessible to Priority Pass holders or for a $50 fee.

The 3,300-square-foot “Club MDW” will be located at Concourses A and B intersection in the airport’s single terminal.

Photo: Concourse A. Courtesy of Chicago Midway Airport

Construction will start in early 2024, with a design that will “draw inspiration from Chicago’s rich architectural history, featuring high-contrast, monochromatic tones,” the Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) said in a statement.

“Club MDW will be available for all travelers regardless of airlines and class of service,” the CDA added.

Travelers can gain entry by paying $50 for a day pass or becoming members of Priority Pass. This program offers access to more than 1,300 independent lounges at airports worldwide.

Chicago River and landmark buildings / Photo: Courtesy of Espiegle/iStock/Getty Images

Entry-level Priority Pass membership costs $99 annually, giving holders and guests discounted access to airport lounges. Premium membership, costing up to $469 annually, offers free lounge visits.

Memberships are also packaged with premium rewards credit cards, including Chase Sapphire Reserve, American Express Platinum, and Capital One Venture X Rewards.

Once inside the lounge, guests can help themselves with complimentary food and beverages.

Midway Airport opened in 1927 on Chicago’s South Side, and while later eclipsed by O’Hare (ORD), it remains a major airport, serving more than 20 million customers each year. It’s also rebounded strongly from the coronavirus crisis, with passenger volumes at 106% of 2019 levels.

Photo: Courtesy of Chicago Midway Airport

Midway is a hub for Southwest Airlines, with over 90% market share. There’s also limited service from Allegiant, Delta, Frontier, Porter, and Volaris, with 95% of routes domestic.

Southwest’s dominance at Midway explains why it’s never had a passenger lounge, as the budget carrier doesn’t operate lounges. The other two busiest U.S. airports without lounges are also Southwest hubs: Dallas Love Field (DAL) and Houston Hobby (HOU).

Financing for Club MDW is coming from the Chicago Department of Aviation and Midway Partnership. Midway Partnership is investing more than $75 million to improve dining and retail facilities at the airport. It will bring local favorites such as Connie’s Pizza, Garrett’s Popcorn, M Burger, and Reilly’s Daughter to the hub.

CDA Commissioner Jamie Rhee said the “new lounge in the heart of Midway is the next step in elevating the passenger experience as Midway continues to see travel numbers that outpace pre-pandemic statistics.”

CEO of Midway Partnership, Sammy Patel, said: “We are delighted to unveil Midway’s first airport lounge. The Club MDW is the latest example of the partnership between Midway Partnership and the Chicago Department of Aviation collectively prioritizing the guest experience and satisfaction of Midway’s passengers.”