We present a strategy for control of chaos in open flows and provide its experimental validation in the near field of a transitional jet flow system. The low-dimensional chaotic dynamics studied here results from vortex ring formation and their pairings over a spatially extended region of the flow that was excited by low level periodic forcing of the primary instability. The control method utilizes unstable periodic orbits (UPO) embedded within the chaotic attractor. Since hydrodynamic instabilities in the open flow system are convective, both monitoring and control can be implemented at a few locations, resulting in a simple and effective control algorithm. Experiments were performed in an incompressible, initially laminar, 4 cm diameter circular air jet, at a Reynolds number of 23 000, housed in a low-noise, large anechoic chamber. Distinct trajectory bundles surrounding the dominant UPOs were found from experimentally derived, time-delayed embedding of the chaotic attractor. Velocity traces from a pair of probes placed at the jet flow exit and farther downstream were used to empirically model the UPOs and compute control perturbations to be applied at the jet nozzle lip. Open loop control was used to sustain several nearly periodic states.