Different Airlines – Same Routes – To Chicago with American Airlines and British Airways
Or “Oh Sandy. You came and you gave without thinking….”
- Cheap Flight? In the autumn? Which planet are you on? (The Introduction)
- To London, BA Galleries First, American Airlines FlAAgship Lounge
- AA99 – London Heathrow to Chicago O’Hare International
- Crowne Plaza O’Hare
- Hyatt Regency O’Hare
- One-Time Exception: From Addison to Downtown – Riding the L
- Trials, Tribulations and Sandy
- O’Hare T3 and the American Airlines FlAAgship Lounge (THIS SECTION)
- AA98 - Chicago O’Hare International to London Heathrow
- Homeward Bound
- Oh Sandy, you came and you gave without thinking… (The Wrap-up)
With an e-ticket in my itinerary and new valid segment, it was time to head to O’Hare Airport and escape this madness…
- Set 1 http://www.photoblog.com/kevincm/2012/11/02/
- Set 2 http://www.photoblog.com/kevincm/2012/11/03/
The shuttle driver drove directly to T3, and as I was the only person aboard, it was a painless thing. After exiting the shuttle, it was time to find out where in this terminal I could check in.
After wandering around T3 with my bags a bit, I headed over to a set of international check in desks where I was received. My bags were accepted, with the rucksack being a fair few lbs over (the exact same amount as the ski bag was under).
And I had to pay the $60 to get it on the plane. Grr. Oh well. I’ve got a seat on the flight home. Mustn’t grumble.
Reluctantly, I paid up.
I was assigned in Row 20 in the middle block and sent on my way (as the agent didn’t bother to ask me if I’d like an isle or a window seat).
So yes, poor first impression there of AA at one of their hubs
I headed over to security to deal with the joy of that wonderfully organised force – the Transportation Security Administration – and headed to a queue without a nude-o-scope in it.
Meanwhile in front of me was a family who failed to get to grips with what to carry in their bags and what size liquids they couldn’t carry. People eh?
Still, I was cleared quickly enough, and after taking my time putting my shoes on and my laptop in the bag (that’s a challenge with the amount of crap that was in that bag too), I went on my way.
The next challenges were simple: Duty Free, and a lounge. It was time to go into the hallowed atrium bit, which has had the world flags removed and replaced by Breast Cancer Awareness flags
The intersection – turn left..
Obviously, I had a small amount of duty free to get, which was purchased without any problem (including my favourite tipple of the moment – Smirnoff Vodka with Cinnamon and gold flakes… don’t look at me in that tone of voice. I happen to like it…), which would be delivered at the gate.
With that all done, it was time to head off to the FlAAgship lounge and rest for a bit after the madness of the past few hours trying to get a flight home.
An unassuming entrance
Lounge Stop: American Airlines FlAAgship Lounge
I was welcomed into a very quiet lounge, and presented my boarding pass and Gold card. After being granted access, I asked about my seat assignment, and if there was an open window seat.
A bit of fiddling, and I was placed in Row 20G – the bulkhead row.
Now, I had 3 hours to check Seatguru out. Did I? No. I’d pay for that for the flight home…
However what I did instead was enjoy the lounge. Now, its not exactly “large” compared to some lounges, but it’s 1) functional, 2) quiet and 3) Has food in it.
Because, we all know that TATL food in economy can be… lacking (there – a nice term rather than saying the catering can be awful).
Lets have a look around…
Fruits and cakes
Cheese and crackers
Cruets, Salad, Hot Items (Sausage, potato bits, meat skewers)
Cajun Chicken Gumbo
Meanwhile on the drinks side…
Californian Fizzy Bubbles. They were passable.
The food and beverage selection were a lot better than a lot of lounges I’ve been in the USA. But as this lounge had so few people in it (as FlAAgship lounges are targeted at First Class passengers), it’s not difficult to see why.
Saying that, the lounge was quiet. And I mean very quiet.
WiFi was operated by AT&T and was of a good strength and speed.
And the lounge itself… was very very quiet. For a Sunday, I would had thought there would had been more people flying out – but I was wrong. In total, I counted 10 people go through the lounge.
There were the usual features of a lounge – a business area (sponsored by HP), Food, washrooms and plenty of seating, with TV screens for those who wanted them… and areas without them for people who didn’t need them.
Speaking of the mens…
The Mens was also a severe weather shelter…
and lots of soap.
The washroom was clean and well maintained and, the lounge offered quiet environment before having to go out to the real world.
And eventually at 22:05, a call was made to the lounge that Flight 98 to London was boarding. I took that as my cue to leave.
I thanked the staff and went on my way.
Overall: A peaceful lounge in a hive of activity. Just what you need sometimes. Whilst a bit small, it is well formed for its needs and is one of the better lounges. Shame they can’t deliver this to the basic lounges in the USA…
On approach to the gate, the call was made for Oneworld elites to board – that was my cue to head to the line. I got to the line, and handed over my boarding pass where a red light came on.
Had I been upgraded? Had I been denied boarding?
Another agent came over and told me I had simply been moved to the other side of the plane, in the same row – still in a window seat.
One thing I suppose.
I collected my duty free.. and headed to the plane for the last flight of this journey.
Next: Row 20 in a 767-300ER. Where’s the recline button… oh – in AA98 - Chicago O’Hare International to London Heathrow