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Old May 2, 13, 1:34 pm   #1
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Back Into Action, Back to the Back – To Chicago with AA and BA - with a big surprise

Back into action, Back to the Back - To Chicago with American Airlines, American Eagle and British Airways
LHR-ORD, ORD-YYZ-LHR

Yet another odyssey to Chicago, down the back of the plane... and a few surprises



New Readers: Welcome to a Trip Report experience that you probably haven't encounter before - someone writing regularly about Economy Class travel on long distances, with all the nuances of travel.

Loyal readers: Welcome to a trip report I actually thought I would not be writing at one point early this year. You’ll find out why soon enough, so there is rambling (as there always in a GhettoIFE trip report).

Otherwise, this the traditional GhettoIFE spring review of Transatlantic travel, and how good/bad/indifferent it’s been since the last time I travelled down the back of the plane. Because like it or not... there’s a lot of people who travel down the back of a plane.

Besides, when I travel in Business Class, trouble normally follows right behind me. Economy is safe...

Well. Mostly...

As a reminder to some of my grammar conscious/grammar sensitive readers, please head to http://boardingarea.com/blogs/ghetto...ers-out-there/ for an explanation of why my grammar may not be up to others high standards.

Dodging the Sword of Damocles (The Intro)

For those who don’t read my blog or previous blog entries, let me bring you up to speed. I used work for a part of National Health Service that specialised in Maternity Research. Alas, due to the short-sightedness of some seeing the unit I worked at being a line on a spreadsheet - rather than a place that brings change.

So when I got back from Hong Kong in November, a cloud had descended on my life, putting everything on hold in my life - be it trips, buying a sofa, getting things fixed... the works.

In December 2012, I was placed at formal risk of redundancy, leading to some mistakes, and me worrying a lot more than I should had done.

As January rode around, I spied a job at another NHS agency, and went to interview... and got the job (to my amazement).

Fast forward to March, and on day one into the new job, I negotiated leave for April. Yes, its a bit cheeky, but it was granted as I had given more than enough notice (and I informed them of the request after the interview so they would know) - and that I seemingly proving myself on the first to my new bosses satisfaction with my friendliness, interaction and actually doing the job I was asked to do (and beyond as I seem to be helping out with their Social Media strategy. Oh well...)

So with leave in place, I have enough time for a quick stop and drop in Chicago. Well, where else in the world would I go in the Spring?

Finally admitting I was enjoying flying with Oneworld last year, I decided to make a concerted effort to get some tier points this in this year, whilst I still can. Precious time has been lost in the race for re-qualification, and I’m not about throw away opportunities when I need to.

Now the problem with the time of year I travel is simple: It’s the end of the school holidays in the United Kingdom, so fares are in the plus £500 range for a short 8 hour flight. On top of that, I’m also hit with an Air Passenger Duty Rise (Thanks George Osborne. My vote will be for someone else next time).

So I wasn’t honestly surprised to see fares in the £525 range - considering that fare hasn’t shifted much since January and this was booked before the T -28 Day deadline, I wasn’t convinced this fare was going to move downwards. I could had routed through Dublin, but considering the extra luggage I take on this trip - a straight departure from London was the order of the day.

Tradition states that I get to Chicago quickly so I can get stuff I need to do done and then take the most indirect fun route home at a low cost.

So, once again, I turned to the British Airways booking engine and plugged away some dates and hoped something interesting turned up. Whilst I was angling for a routing via Philly (like the previous trip was meant to contain), it wasn’t turning up. Boston was, but as Boston to London is one of the shortest Transatlantic runs out there, I discounted that. However, there was an option through a Canada... and Toronto.

Whilst I do have “history” with Canada; it seems when I transit through the country, they’re not interested in me... so Canada seems like a good spot to visit. On top of that, my father loves the Maple Syrup cookies.

No, I don’t get it either.

So we’re looking at:
  • AA99 London to Chicago in an AA 777
  • AA4008 Chicago O’Hare to Toronto Pearson in an ERJ
  • BA098 Toronto Pearson to London in a BA 747
For the Hotel... I’m being completely original, and heading back to the Hyatt Regency O’Hare. My reasons are that I’ll be finishing most nights late, and on top of that - I’d be teaching a class on Photography this year at the event I go to.

Yes, I do teach. And unsurprisingly, it’s NOT safe for work!

So anyway, a map to get you started:


Map generated by the Great Circle Mapper - www.gcmap.com

On top of this, as its the usual early morning start, it’s back on National Express to London and a train home.

So, it’s time to load up my trash and head out of the door. What adventures await me this time I wonder?

Plenty as it happens... including a surprise later

Last edited by Kevincm; May 2, 13 at 2:04 pm
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Old May 2, 13, 1:38 pm   #2
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Part 1: To London, LHR Lounges

The pictures:To say the art of packing is lost on me is akin to saying I know where everything is in my flat. The fact is I know where 9/10 things are… but can never find the magic one.

And that was the summation of my packing. I left it way too late (with Easter getting in the way), and it was last minute - forgetting power transformers along the way.

And headphones. Oh well.

At 2:15, I called for a cab -which arrived pretty promptly - that would take me to Digbeth Coach Station. The cabbie was in a talkative mood as he belted down to station, charging me £7 for the privilege.

As I arrived, the coach pulled into station. Pretty perfect timing.

National Express 210 Birmingham Digbeth to Heathrow Central Bus station
Price Paid: £25 (£1.40 Cashback via Quidco)


After my ticket was inspected, I was let aboard the chariot that would take me to Heathrow. The loads were low that the coach was barely a quarter full - leading to lots of space onboard.



Waiting for the off...

I sat at the front where there was a bit of extra legroom, which allowed me to stretch out… and try and get some sleep on the journey.

The coach wound its way from Digbeth to Birmingham Airport - picking up exactly one person. From there it headed to Banbury where we picked up… well - not a soul, and finally to Heathrow Airport.

In the end I managed to doze off after Banbury for a not too fulfilling one hour of catnapping on the coach.

By 5am, the coach had pulled into Heathrow Central Bus station, where I picked up my bags and was on my way through the back end of LHR T3.



At rest at Heathrow Airport.

Heathrow T3

Once I was under way, I headed through the bowels of the Heathrow Central Zone, popping up into the cold outside of T3.

Going into Zone F, there was an ugly sight to behold - a mammoth queue to get checked in and do a luggage drop. After managing to convince the staff I was a BA Gold, I was sent to the Business/First queue - which had no-one in it. Unsurprisingly, the check-in staff were ready to go - it was ICTS who were taking their own sweet time getting themselves into position with their fancy tablets.

After a light grilling by security, I was let through to check in - where my bags were tagged and my boarding passes issued.

By about 5:30 I had managed to clear check-in, and was heading to security. The next ugly surprise was that FastTrack security was shut.

Grr.

Thankfully normal security was quiet with only a few souls around - and I was through in 5 minutes into the maze that is the T3 Duty Free shop.



Good luck escaping the Duty Free shop....

After negotiating that mess, I headed to the BA Lounge to relax in for a while.

Lounge Stop BA First Galleries Lounge

I headed to Lounge F and was greeted, with my BA Gold acknowledged and I was granted access to the lounge.

Of course, being in the BA F lounge that can only mean one thing.



Champagne Bar



Bottles of bubbles...



Pink Bubbles of course (Bollinger Rose)!

Don't look at me in that tone of voice. It was 5 O'Clock. Just 5am in the morning…

I settled down near the food area, with cold cuts and pastries out, and supped my glass of pink bubbles.



Juices



Cold cuts



Fruits



Cereals



Pastries

And for once in a BA F lounge - I was by one of the lounge staff asked if I wanted something from the menu.



Wonders will never cease!

I went for a bacon and egg sandwich, which was delivered promptly



And it hit the spot nicely. Bread was nicely toasted, Egg nicely firm and done and the bacon wasn't plastic. Wonders will never cease. A very reasonable fill first thing in the morning for what would be a long old flight across the pond.

However, looking at the clock, and noticing what I was missing (some headphones that would actually pump out music and a plug adapter after only finding one in the flat), I decided to make tracks to Dixons Duty Free

Overall: A much-improved performance compared to last time in the T3 First lounge. Maybe I am wrong about BA at their T3 base, and they are starting to be more proactive first thing in the morning. This is a good thing.

I headed over to Dixons, and parted money for some nice Philips headphones, and a pair of power adaptors.

With that bit of business over and done with, I headed over to another lounge - The AA lounge - to relax in as the AA lounge is closer to the gates I’d need to be flying out of today.



Lounge Stop - American Airlines FlAAgship Lounge
(Yes, I use double AA's for American Lounges still )

I was welcomed to the AA lounge entrance, and after my detail were verified, I was directed to the FlAAgship lounge (as opposed to the Admirals Club).

After arriving in the lounge, I headed off to the bar area with the computers - as I needed to get on with some geeky stuff first.



The bar work area

I was asked by one of the attendants if I wished for some breakfast… and yes, I went for another breakfast - and being the AA FlAAgship lounge, the only breakfast to really go for is Eggs Benedict.



Yes, there are other options on the menu, but there is the option of Eggs Benedict… which the AA lounge seems to do well.

Meanwhile the lounge as usual was reasonably quiet with passengers chatting to staff who wanted to chat, and those in another corner slowly dozing away in the background.



Cold breakfast items



Coffee, Tea and other things


I kept an eye on the clock and close to boarding time - I packed up my trash and headed for the gate, thanking the staff as I went through.

Overall: Whilst the AA FlAAgship Lounge is smaller than the BA Lounge and a bit older looking, it has a much tighter level of service that's a bit more a leap ahead than the BA F Lounge… and it shows.

Thankfully as opposed to the normal five mile hike to the back end of T3, we were boarding at Gate 23 - the first of the gates past the AA Lounges.

Somehow, on the way between the lounge and the gate, I managed to lose a pair of headphones that I had just brought. What is it with me and losing smegging headphones? Bloody annoying is what it is...

I entered the gate lounge, was security re-checked, and my boarding pass zapped. The gate lounge staff tried to help - and contacted the FlAAgship lounge to see if the headphones were there (they weren’t sadly)

Soon enough, the boarding calls begun, and I headed off to board the plane to Chicago.



At the gate...
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Old May 2, 13, 1:38 pm   #3
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Part 2: AA99 London Heathrow Airport T3 to Chicago O’Hare International T5 (booked as BA1540)
American Airlines, Main Cabin, 26J, Boeing 777-200ER - 4th April 2013
3953 miles flown, 35 Tier Points, 7906 Avios earned.


The PicturesI was welcomed aboard (and surprised the lead flight attendant with my iPhone Boarding Pass - Yes, an actual use for the Passbook App), and was directed to the right hand side of the plane to find my seat.

Eventually, I found my seat - 1 row behind the seat I was in last time. So I moaned about how tight row 25 is on an AA 777. How tight is row 26? A lot better surprisingly. For starters my knees weren't touching the seat in front of me.



Either 1) I’ve lost a lot of weight (unlikely) 2) I removed everything behind me or 3) A seat isn’t just a seat as usually is.

No matter. It was relatively comfortable (which for a TATL flight is important), and I had my window views. These things are good for me.



Boarding in progress

As boarding was being completed, a crewmember informed me that the headphones were not found – well – at least they tried, and that’s important in my book.

Boarding completed on schedule, with the seat next to me occupied for the leg across the pond - not a big thing as this AA 777-200 is in the classic 2-5-2 layout. Meanwhile pushback was delayed 20 minutes or so due to a plane behind us in the way (our plane was docked at gate 323, so there’s a bit of waiting sadly to get out of the airport).

For me, I took the opportunity for start dozing after the safety video had finished. Bear in mind I got the best part of an hour on the coach, and didn’t have time to doze due to the rush to pack to get out of the front door. One pushback was complete, the plane begun a slow taxi past the T5 complex, finally lining up for 09R, where after a short wait, the powerful engines spooled up... and off we went.



New Colours waiting



BA 747-400’s at T5B

[youtube width=560" height=315]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0cfKKYqwBPc[/youtube]

Climbout was it’s usual powerful self, and soon enough we were tracking towards Wales, Ireland and the Atlantic Ocean.



Climbout



Blue Skies

Now, sitting in the first section of the Main Cabin has its benefits - few as they are - the fact is if you’re wanting food you get served first - as the trolleys start from the first section.

So here's the tray - I went for the omelette.



Tray





Omelette

Since towards the end of my last USA trip, I discovered Lactaid, which in situations like being in a plane and going out help an awful lot if I can't avoid milk based products. It makes life a little easier even though I avoid milk based products like the plague at home…

So lets look at the tray - and it seems AA has better caterers out of LHR than United as the omelette wasn't burned. It's a small thing, but of makes a big difference. The vegetable mix that accompanied it wasn't a bad thing, making a nice warm savoury dish. Meanwhile, the fruit was fresh - although there was a lot of melon. Guess there was a special on melon that day when AA put the food orders in.

I took out the contents of the nibble tray for later, as well as the bottle of water... and there was a hand-collection of trays in some parts of the cabin (including at my row). As my seatmate had gone to the small room, I got the laptop out to help me write during the flight later on.

And as much as I tried to get some rest, it just was not happening. Normally I rest my head against the bulkhead, but I seemed to slip my head onto the window rather than the bulkhead. Even padding the side with a pillow or didn’t help. Certainly the headrest didn’t do much for me sadly.

Eventually, I gave up on the idea of rest and decided to get on with some work

Hang on - wait a second... No GettoIFE? Is the world ending?

No dear friends, I haven't given up on my iPhone in a sickbag concept that has failed to take off. Nor did I forget to pull out the craplet (my Chinese cheap £58 tablet I bought in Hong Kong that's on the frizz again).

I had other fish to fry... and write up.

Most of you know I do a lot of "grown up" photography as well as travel photography . Well this trip, I would be running a class on “grown up” photography (and maybe… I'll put the slide deck up - however, it's not for family viewing…)

Therefore most of the time I had my ageing Apple MacBookPro (that has seen plenty of miles) out, and now a seemingly dying battery that has “Service battery”, whilst trying to type up this trip report, and preparing a presentation that seemingly needing tweaking a lot of time.



Writing more than one thing at once... presentation in the background, a bit of a trip report at the front..

So how hard is this in an economy seat with no extra power?

The flippy uppey two part try table helps a lot in my initial experiments, and whilst tight - there's a comfortable typing position with room to breath. On the plus side if you negotiate the laptop to the right, not a lot of space is impeded. It also helps when the person in front of you doesn’t recline their seat.

During my interactions with the crew, they were in a good mood, and were happy to help – even engaging me in a discussion about Diet Coke.

It’s the little things that matter – it showed the crew were human and were willing to help.

Meanwhile, the views outside didn’t disappoint as the plane crossed Canada





About 1 1/2 hours to go, the 2nd service was delivered. Again, a proper tray meal - looking something like this:







Well I think the bread thing is a pizza related item, and the pasta is pasta. The pastry item was hot, along with the filling (although not easy to cut up with plastic cutlery), whilst the pasta was nicely chilled with the vegetables nicely caramelised.

So it is possible to have two TATL meals that aren’t rubbish down the back of the plane. Wonders will never cease...



And yes, I did have a nude GhettoIFE system... more commonly known as an iPhone. Now everyone got the Emergency Services new number? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ab8GtuPdrUQ


The plane was cleared down, and I took my chance to do paperwork, stow the laptop and get ready for landing.



Beginning to cross Lake Michigan

Meanwhile, Gate and Transfer data was broadcasted to seats



All was secured long before we crossed the other side of Lake Michigan, with the plane vectoring in for Chicago.



Crossing the north shore.

Soon enough, the wheels were down and the Boeing 777 touched down at Chicago O’Hare International Airport.

Landing Video

[youtube width=560" height=315]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8TCnIBUN4DU[/youtube]

A bit of a taxi, passing the grounded LOT Polish Airlines 787, and a turn - we quickly arrived at the terminal. Meanwhile - pulling up at the same time was a United Airlines 777. This was not what I wanted to see, as there would be now two planeloads of passengers trying to funnel through US Immigration. A limbering up and running would be needed once off the plane...



Uh oh (the United 777 beginning to dock)

The plane docked at the International Terminal, and we were allowed to disembark.

Overall: Another solid performance by AA. Keeping the product simple and delivering the product constantly are good things in my book. The staff made the service very acceptable. However, I wish the alignments on the seats were slightly better against the bulkhead…
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Old May 2, 13, 1:39 pm   #4
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Part 3 Hyatt Regency O’Hare

The Photos:
Before the joy of the Hyatt Regency O’Hare, there is of course, the joy of US Immigration. For those who don’t know, the tips are simple to clear US Immigration in a hurry:
  • Sit as far front as you can to the plane
  • Complete all paperwork before landing
  • Make sure you’re off early and get to the passport booths as soon as possible.
Dawdling will cost you time turning what can be a 20 minute processing time into an hour plus... which at Chicago Immigration never seems to be any fun.

I raced off the plane, and got to an empty-ish immigration point, where the United flight had just begun unloading. Listening to the voices, the flight was from Germany. Nether the less, when I queued up finally after going through all the switchbacks, I was in the first row.

Immigration seemed to be processing people quickly, and I was processed just as quick. The usual immigration queries were asked as well as the amount of US Stamps in my passport formed the basis of my interview. My prints and picture were taken, my passport stamped with a nice thunk, and I was allowed to go through.

As I reached the belt, the first bags were coming off belt 1, with the rucksack appearing quickly, along with the ski bag right behind it on the oversized belt.

I proceeded to customs, where I was welcomed to the United States and invited to go straight ahead, allowing me to exit the immigration section. Bear in mind we landed and mated at the gate about 10:12. I was through the other side by 10:30 sharp.

Wow. It is possible to get through US Immigration in a reasonable amount of time.

I made a couple of calls, and then headed off to the taxi rank. As I was the only person there, I had to wait a few minutes for a cab to appear, but soon enough one did, and took me to the Hyatt Regency O’Hare with the minimum of fuss... and minimum of cost.

Heck - an honest airport taxi driver. What stars were aligned in the skies that morning???

Soon enough we were at the Hyatt, where the doorman welcomed me (and a familiar doorman - as he recognised me too!), and took my baggage up the check in level. I followed and went to check in.



Hyatt Regency O’Hare
Conference Rate. 2670 Points + 3000 Points Earned.


The check in areas were empty when I arrived, so I was dealt with quickly, with my room choices confirmed, and the electronic key cards issued. I was offered a 2pm check-out which I took advantage of. My bags and me then headed off to the 10th floor.

Now I always tend to go with a high level room in the main block as opposed to heading to the Executive Wing. Why? You try hiking to the Exec Wing at 2am in the morning when you’re half asleep... it’s a challenge enough when you’re awake...

I entered my room and found it to be the typical Hyatt Room that I have come to enjoy.

So, we’re looking at a typical Hyatt Regency Double room, with the beds I love, well appointed and still looking very nice.





Beds



Art - although a BAe 146 as art... hmmm



Alarm Clock, Welcome Newsletter

Now, as you know, I forgot a few things on my travels. Thankfully Hyatt offer a service where you can get some things to either borrow or have. I needed a razor, and sewing kits (yes, my bag was showing signs of being needing repair again).

Also of interest were the toiletries. Eh? Toiletries?

Some people loved it… others hated it. I'm of course referring to Hyatt's "White Ginger" range of bathroom smells they used to have. Well, they’ve been replaced. So what are they actually like?
The new kit is by KentMD (as opposed to Portico)... and looks like something below:



The Bathbar: Very neutral in smell. Effective and lathers up rather ok.

The Bodywash: A nice fragrance, leaving the skin clean

Shampoo/Conditioner: Again very neutral in fragrance. The shampoo didn't need a lot to clean my hair, whilst an even smaller amount of conditioner was needed.



The lip balm: Works a treat… especially after a long flight.

The power wash gave a nice feeling, whilst the body lotion did the job.



The cleansing bar again had a neutral fragrance, but again did the job.

For those who hate White ginger, it's a major improvement. For me, I like that the soap is pretty neutral, as are most of the other smells. What's more important is that they do the cleaning thing well... and that does me nicely.

The view outside wasn’t the greatest, but at least it was a high room





Well, I suppose I could do trainspotting...

However, there is one little thing about this Hyatt - it’s on the approach to O’Hare. Which means planes are on the approach to landing. And when you have a balcony with no glass in the way - this helps a lot...

Here’s a quick sample:



American Eagle ERJ



United Airlines Boeing 757-200



United Airlines Boeing 737-900ER



American Airlines MD-80



United Express CRJ-200

More of them at http://www.photoblog.com/kevincm/201...ncy-ohare.html

As usual, the conference staff at the Hyatt did a sterling job, helping me out where needed and delivering bits and bobs that would help me

Monday came, and with the list of jobs to do still surmountable after a busy weekend, I checked out at 10am, and headed off downtownish... to get things and sort a couple of other things out.

Overall: Another good performance by the Hyatt Regency O’Hare. Yes, it’s had its ups and downs... but all I’m seeing is up’s - and that can’t be a bad thing at all. The quality of service was good and timely, as was the staff who were their usual excellent selves.

Last edited by Kevincm; May 2, 13 at 1:48 pm
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Old May 2, 13, 1:40 pm   #5
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Part 4 One Time Exception: A loop around the loop

Price: $2.25... or $5 if you’re travelling on the Blue Line down from O’Hare

This may familiar from last time’s “From Addison to Downtown on the L… the scenic way”. Trust me - this has newcontent!!!

As the weekend ended, I needed to head to Paulina to get few things purchased... as well as heading downtown to get a few other things. A joy of travelling is people asking to shop for things - and I don’t have a problem with this as long as I have time... and for once - I had time.

I cheated and caught a cab to when I needed - running into Cubs traffic on the way at Addison as it was the first game of the Baseball season.

After getting what I needed in Paulina (No, don’t ask...), it was off to the Loop to visit the Boeing Shop, pick up a couple of bits from Walgreens and then head for home. Sounds a simple plan.

So after finding my way to the Paulina L Station, I deposited some coins and notes - and got a CTA farecard. $2.25 later, I was on my way downtown.



The view from Paulina Station


A short wait, and the Brown line delivered a train to me. Good timing as always.




A L Train arriving

The route from Paulina merges with the Red Line (which was getting busy as it was the first Cubs game of the season) at Belmont and diverges again at Fullerton, taking an elevated route to the Loop, giving you some nice views of the skyscrapers that populate North Michigan Avenue.



Merging near Belmont



On a curve - the Jack Hancock Centre visible with some of the towers of North Michigan Avenue





The Trump Tower in the distance

The train crosses through the edge of Merchandise Mart, and then over the Chicago River, going anti-clockwise around the loop.





Crossing the Chicago River



To me, the Loop has always been the Heart of Chicago. Whilst North Michigan Avenue hasthe glam shops, The Loop has the business heart and soul of the city. For those who are architecture and high building nuts, this is where to come and gaze upward.





Looking towards Millennium Park

For those who like the historical side, a stop at Quincy Station is required as the station is a must - one of the oldest surviving L stations, which was restored to it’s 1890’s looks.



Quincy

As you travel around the loop, you’ll cross over State Street - the main thoroughfare of the Loop.



Crossing to Wabash - the Jewellers Row, the train passes the mad coloured CNA centre on the right... and my personal favourite haunt in Chicago - Central Camera.



Passing the CNA Center - Hey I know how to make a building different - lets paint it red!



My other home in Chicago (And where I learned to love film again).

Walking along Wabash is a normal activity for me as I’m normally going to Central Camera to pick up bits I’ve forgotten - but its nice to let the train take the strain as you pass The Art Institute and Millennium Park.

Eventually, the train loops back towards State Street - the top of it, and this is where I leave it as I’m needing to go raid a few places before heading back to the hotel and the plane.



North of State Street - Marina City II on the left the old IBM building on the right

The Chicago Architectural Foundation also runs a guided tour at https://tickets.architecture.org/pub...Name=L%20Train through the loop with a lot more history than I could ever write (and is on my to-do list).

Overall: If you like your big buildings and don’t like to walk, this is for you. A trick I learned when I was starting out in photography is “To look upwards”. You’ll never know what you might have missed...

Last edited by Kevincm; May 2, 13 at 1:50 pm
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Old May 2, 13, 1:41 pm   #6
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Part 5: Back to O'Hare and a hop around the AA AAdmiral's Clubs...

The Pictures:After looping around the loop and doing a few other things, it was time to head back to the Hyatt. Of course, rather than pay $50 to a cabbie, I paid another $2.25 and caught a train back to O’Hare. 50 minutes later, I was at O’Hare station; on my way back the Hyatt Regency.

On the shuttle I observed something interesting - a member of Hyatt staff was checking people into the hotel as they sat down. What an interesting innovation, so all they would need to do is pick up their keys at reception.

After arriving back, I picked up my trash, combined and sorted my bags, and headed off for the shuttle that would take me back to O’Hare T3.

Again, the shuttle was quick with just a single stop at T3 - which is helpful as the shuttles run every 15 minutes.

This time - as I wasn’t in a rush - I made the effort to find the Premium customer area. I was met with a guardian who let me through, and my check in commenced. Both of my bags were accepted without question (with one bag getting the dreaded “heavy” sticker) - and boarding passes issued

From there it was through to security, and straight to a Nude-O-Scope.

Of course, I opted out, and had a manual inspection. Though if the TSA do like the touchy feely sort of thing, I’d love a box of chocolate... or dinner... or even a new bag (no TSA - I haven’t forgotten about that incident from a few years ago. The miracle it took to sort that bag out...)



Passing the Harley Davidson store...

Through security, I decided to eschew the benefits of the FlAAgship lounge and instead head to the AAdmiral’s Club near the gates.



And pass the hall of flags…

Well that was the plan. AA has other plans for me.

I headed off to the G Gate AAdmiral’s club and after a minor hike; I seemed to find my way to the club.

AAdmirals Club G Gates

I was allowed in and given a premium drinks voucher and found my way into quite a small lounge.

And yes, it was packed to the rafters.

So yes, I converted my premium voucher into a premium drink



Well it has been coming. Regulars will know what this is...

Walking around the lounge there are the usual seating areas and of course some interesting sights....



Computers



Board Games. Hang on... board games? Hmm. Connect 4 before a flight seems appropriate at O’Hare...



Cruets




Coffee and Mixes.

Now as I was waiting (and pondering why my converter wasn’t fitting into the floor plug, , noticed my phone was making a lot of buzzing. Either the vibrator motor was on the blink... or I had been bombarded with messages.

No guesses which one it was.

I saw a count on the messages icon... 3 messages... and another one buzzed in…then another. Gate changes galore. Wonderful!

I exited the club and headed for the new gate... crossing back across the terminal and through the hall of flags, and to the new gate.



Under the globe...

Now at the gate there were the flight deck crew, the flight attendant.. and that was it.

Uhoh.

A plane was still docked awaiting pushback, whilst there was no gate agent to be seen. A quick chat to the captain indicated that our plane was still waiting to dock and be serviced. I took that as a hint to head to Duty Free... and also head to the lounge.

Duty Free was its usual self, with the machines rejecting both of my cards (grr... paid cash, but annoying when the cards worked fine later), and then it was off to the G Gates AAdmiral’s Lounge

H Gates AAdmiral’s Club

Again, I was welcomed and given another drinks voucher, and directed upstairs to this infinitely larger club than the one at the G Gates.

Now this is a lot better in terms of a lounge - still busy (as any hub lounge is) but lots of space rather than the cupboard that the H Lounge is.



Lightshades



Snacks



Coffee and waters




A busy space

I found a nice spot to watch planes, whilst keeping a track of AA4008 and if it had turned up at the gate yet. And that wait got longer and longer... and in the back of my head it was slowly dawning on me that my connection at Toronto was shrinking by the second.

Not what I wanted.

The snacks are akin to a United Club, with food for order if people wanted food. It’s a good option for those to eat, but if you’re coming from an European Lounge, an Asian Lounge or even a Canadian lounge, the offerings are a bit sub-par in terms of food.

I just partook of water was more in the mood to get on as opposed to sitting in the lounge.

Eventually, I saw that the plane had finally reached the gate, and I headed downstairs back to the gate area.

Heading back to gate H5, the passengers were exiting the ERJ-145, whilst everyone at the gate was getting impatient to load the plane.

A boarding call was finally made, and I presented my boarding pass. The card was ripped, and I was sent on my merry way to the plane.

Last edited by Kevincm; May 2, 13 at 1:51 pm
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Old May 2, 13, 1:42 pm   #7
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Part 5: AA99 Chicago O’Hare International T3 - Toronto Pearson International T3 (booked as BA6826)
American Eagle for American Airlines, Main Cabin, 12A, Embraer ERJ-145 – 8th April 2013
463miles flown, 500 awarded, 10 Tier Points, 1000 Avios earned.


The Pictures

I was first aboard, and was welcome aboard by the flight attendant. I was directed down the plane, to my seat in row 12.

Call me bonkers, but I love Embraer 145’s. Why? The 1+2 seating is in m book the highlight. Any seat that is both a window and an isle is a winner in my book.

Of course, I went for an A seat to get the best of both worlds.

Now, on an ERJ-145, there are certain seats to avoid, and certain seats go for. The ones to go for are in an American Eagle ERJ-145 are Row 1 (duh), and row 12.

Why? Lots of legroom - something you don't associate with an ERJ.



Seat 12A. And rest.

My luggage easily fitted into the overhead bins, and I took my seat as the plane begun to load up.



Still waiting for the go...

Loading took some time, and by this point we were running later than planned. During loading, the flight attendant I was capable and willing to do the duties on the exit card. After a verbal acknowledgement, the she left to complete the loading procedure. Eventually, the plane was buttoned up and pushback commenced.

An audio safety announcement was made, with a demo of the features, and we begun a short taxi around O'Hare.

Soon enough, we lined up for a departure, and those two little Rolls Royce Allison Engines roared into life.

[youtube width=560" height=315]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t0FlfsG03_8[/youtube]

Yes, the Youtube video is working now. Don't know what happened to original though. Odd. Most... odd.

The climbout was quick (as they always seem to be with the ERJ series), and as we climbed over Lake Michigan, electronics were allowed.





Even though this is a short flight, I decided to make myself some entertainment - so yes, finally we have a GhettoIFE System



Sometimes, you feel like this in a plane (Patrick McGoohan - The Prisoner... and yes, I like my zany not quite explainable TV shows...). For those who are wondering why an iPhone is in a sick bag, head to What is GhettoIFE? It explains it. Mostly. People expecting the craplet will have to wait...



Cabin during cruise

The state of the plane can be summed up as "nothing that a bit of TLC can fix". For example, it was clean, but the seat pocket was falling off - quite littarly. Yet simply pushing the popper back on (and if American Eagle has industrial strengh glue), simply put it back in position. Sound, but a bit of attention to detail would help..



As the plane settled into cruise, the flight attendant prepared the cart for service. As we continued into cruise, she made her way to me.

I was greeted by name and offered my drink of choice, and if I'd like a snack as well. There was a choice of a Cheese Tray, Trail Mix or Smoked Almonds. Well, that’s an easy way into my heart when it comes to smoked almonds.



I know it's a small thing offering a snack and being addressed by name, but it does help an awful lot.

Cruise continued, with clouds building up as we travelled. I didn't know what those clouds held for me in store for later on though.







The flight attended distributed the immigration forms late into the flight - a little moan, I know but if you have these at the beginning, you can get them done and dusted quickly, instead of rushing to do them as the plane descended through the cloud levels.



The flight attendant made two sweeps of the plane as we begun to make our descent into Toronto. As we begun to lose altitude the bright evening sun turned to grey and murk, with rain falling.

The plane made a reasonable landing at Toronto, with a short taxi to the terminal.

[youtube width=560" height=315]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TeUpuZZRSuw[/youtube]

After landing, we begun the long taxi to the terminal, and guided in with batons to the RegionalJet Jetbridges - and considering the rain that was falling - this was no bad thing at all.



Waiting to be guided in



The bongs went off when we parked, and everyone raced to get off the plane.



I thanked the crew (and again, addressed by name), and headed off for Dante's 3rd ring of hell - Toronto Airport T3...

Overall: Yes, the delay was annoying and there were a couple of things that could had been done better, but a good performance by American Eagle. The service level for a EXP/Oneworld Emerald was excellent and the service delivered well. But next time, immigration forms after boarding please - it'll give some of us more time to fill in the dreaded paperwork...

Last edited by Kevincm; May 2, 13 at 1:53 pm
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Old May 2, 13, 1:48 pm   #8
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Part 6: The Hell of Toronto Airport, and an unexpected dinner

The Pictures:Getting off the plane, I negotiated my past the horde of people waiting for their wheeliebags, and headed into the terminal, hunting for the connections area.



Eventually, my hunt leads me to Immigration - which was also deemed as the connection area.


It’s somewhere this way.


Hmm. This has all sorts of wrongablity written over it. What was looking like a reasonably comfortable connection was starting to get tighter by the minute.

I presented my passport and landing card, and was allowed to proceed after light questioning, which lead me into luggage reclaim... and where I found out that there is no straight interline for baggage - all bags must be reclaimed, then dropped off (akin to the US arrivals system)

Grrrrrrrr. Starting to get annoyed now. It’s possible to do a straight interline in T1, yet it’s a fully manual process in T3. Wonderful.


Of course, there were no free carts, and me being tight fisted, I waited a fair chunk of time for the bags to come out... to be confronted with a long old queue for Canadian Customs.

Thankfully it seems, Customs were not interested in me, and directed me to baggage re-check, where there two lines - one for WestJet customers, and one for everyone else. Thankfully the “everyone else” line was empty. My bags were rescanned and I was invited to lug my own luggage onto the belts.

After that little debacle I followed the signs for connections that took me... you've guessed it - into the public arrivals area.

What sort of person designed this level of Dante's inferno?

I found my way by chance to the upper level and after floundering trying to find the right security gate, a member of staff directed me to the right concourse.

Thankfully, security itself was very quiet, and I was through within minutes. It was then a case of hiking through the B pier, and finally to the C gates which a gate guardian protected.

After getting some Canadian Maple Leaf Cookies (just for my father...), my attentions turned to the next thing: a lounge.

From there - I could see the gates, and a sign to the British Airways Lounge. I followed the sign to the lift, and up to an oasis after the pain I just went through.



Lounge stop: British Airways Galleries Lounge
Meals eaten quickly 1
Surprises: 2...


I headed into the lounge where I was welcomed after looking very exhausted. The lounge agent, who started to do some tapping at her keyboard, took my boarding pass. I thought nothing of it as she confirmed my bags and apologised for the way luggage is handled at T3.

After a short while I was issued with a replacement boarding pass on BA stock with a ticket for pre-flight dining.

Hang on... Preflight dining - On an economy class ticket? My brain was still fried dealing with immigration (and carrying 65kg again), so I headed off to the pre-flight dining not knowing what actually was in my hand...


Dining area



Menu



Salads





Mains



Desserts



Dining area


I was welcomed to pre-flight dining and my invite taken from me. As I sat down to settle down on a starter, I read what was on my boarding pass...



Class=J=Seat 63J...CLUB WORLD[/b].


That were the first letters I saw. 63J is not an economy class seat no matter how you cut it. I then broke into a big smile as I saw the other words on the boarding pass - CLUB WORLD.

To say I ran back to reception and thanked the agent.

This is a rare Double Upgrade, from a seat in World Traveller, skipping straight past World Traveller Plus and straight onto the Top Deck of a 747.

Suddenly, going through Toronto wasn’t such a bad idea after all.

I dived into the main course when boarding was called. Talk about bad luck in timing.


I’m getting there gov. Hang on!


The lounge itself was very Galleries style, with fancy lights and blue hues everywhere.




Alcohol



Wines



Main lounge area


I finished off my meal and grabbed a bottle of water. I made the effort to thank the lounge staff who wished me a good flight, and I headed for the gate


Gate area


I headed into the area, and skipped the economy line - straight to the Fast Track. My boarding pass was beeped, and I was let through... onto my first upper deck experience.

Well everyone loves a first time don’t they?


De Plane boss... and a seat on the upper deck is MINE!

Last edited by Kevincm; May 2, 13 at 1:54 pm
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Old May 2, 13, 1:50 pm   #9
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Part 8 BA098 Toronto Pearson International T3 to London Heathrow T5
British Airways, Club World, 63J/K Boeing 747-400 - 8th April 2013
3556 miles flown, 35 Tier Points, 7106 Avios earned.






The Pictures:I headed aboard to greet the crew - who said someone is a bit happy (well I did get OpUp'd... I have an excuse for once!). I was then directed to the upper deck.

I was welcomed to the upper deck by the crew And found a surprise waiting - 2 adults and 3 children (1 sub-18 months) were already in situ and making one hell of a racket.

What did I say business class and me not mixing? I was having a flashback to my New York trip, and quietly hoped the children would settle down once in flight.



Seat

As I settled into the J seat, the passenger in the K seat was getting more and more annoyed at the children making a racket, and went to be reseated on the main deck. I took the hint and switched to the window seat and put the noise cancelling headphones on as BA offer gate to gate IFE.

They work - that’s all I'm going to say



Headphones





The view from 63J before the switch



63K - after I made the switch. I found the extra distance helped.

Preflight drinks were offered... and taken.



Well - it’s BA. What else am I going to drink?

As boarding was completed, a thunderstorm passed over Toronto Airport - with a full ground stop and delay announced from the flight deck.



A touch wet outside...

However, the children seemed to take this as a time to throw a headrest cover around. And did the parents do something? Only when prompted by the crew.

Menus were handed out and offers were taken for those who wanted food - and for those who wanted breakfast. People were also warned that both services can take tube and impact their sleeping time. I went for dinner (as I skipped through most if the one on the ground) and if I was awake at breakfast to have breakfast.

Menu:















Eventually, loading was completed, and pushback commenced. There was a bit of delay after the pushback, but we begun a long taxi to 06L, where the 747-400's RB211's powered for the the short journey over the pond.



Taxing out

[youtube width=560" height=315]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SE0MzuyljEc[/youtube]

The 747 made a nice climb into the air, getting through the rough weather. I took it as an opportunity to flip the IFE system out. Whilst the IFE system about this unrefurbished Boeing 747-400 isn't as extensive as the systems aboard the 777-300ER's, it's content is enough to suit me.



Top Gear - 50 years of bond. Shaken, not stirred (Aston Martin DB5 from Skyfall)

As Richard Hammond exuded about Bond Cars and the DB5 , dinner arrived. Now I went for the Parmesan Chicken. Of course, I had a couple of lactaids to assist - well better safe than sorry in my book.

(Continued...)

Last edited by Kevincm; May 2, 13 at 1:57 pm
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Old May 2, 13, 1:52 pm   #10
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The meal arrived on a tray - which considering this was a sleeper service makes sense as the flight is maximised for sleeping - not a full dining experience.

So I could say that I had the meal in the interests of my readers... But that would be a lie

The chicken was of a reasonable sized portion, with salad, feta cheese and beetroot - Not a combination you’d think that goes together, but it seemed to go well as a light meal. The chicken itself was a bit tough to get into, but was quite flavoursome... and rather good for a late evening meal.

By the time I polished off the meal, I wasn’t in the mood for the Pear tart (and the amount of cream on it would had probably required another Lactaid or two,

I did accept a Kir Royale. Or two.



Kir Royale

With that - and the cabin already in darkness - I popped my seat into the bed position and drifted away to Richard Hammond trying not to sink a Lotus. The joy of watching programmes you’ve seen before is that you can mentally shut down without paying attention, whilst knowing the show inside out. Doesn’t make it any less entertaining.

And I had a pretty darn good sleep across the pond. Didn't need the blanket, as the temperature was fine to me.

Lets speak of the seat before we go on - after all, it's most of the reason why you're paying the money to go Club World.



IFE at 63J

I found the seat to be comfortable in all phases of flight, without it being over-firm or over-soft. The privacy divider is a nice touch as it gives you a bit of peace and quiet on a service - whilst allowing the crew to carry out their service.

The seat is turns into fully flat seat and on the top deck, it's arranged in a Ying-Yang format, with window seats facing in reverse and aisle seats (on the top deck) facing forward.



Seat controls



In bed mode



In relax mode



Yang seat - not my stuff on there I should add...



Forward view


I woke up just before the lights came on, and it was time for breakfast. I therefore turned the seat from a bed back into something relaxing. The table was laid and a fruit plate arrived with yoghurt, coffee and orange juice

A good start - the fruit was fresh, and orange juice and coffee woke me up slowly. The Yoghurt was put aside



Fruit and coffee

Soon enough, one of the flight attendants came round with the bacon rolls... And offered me two of them off the bat.

This - I like



The bacon roll itself was a little dry, but the bacon tasted of bacon and not burnt, rubbery or anywhere in-between.

Of course, to be entertained, I hit the IFE system and found the boys from the small rouge one were playing



It’s cold outside, no kind of atmosphere, I’m all alone - more or less... let me fly far away from here... fun fun fun... in the sun sun sun...

As cruising continued I started to raise the window as a few people already had done so..



A rare view for me...



Looking at the amenity kit, it hasn’t changed since I flew Club World… and that’s a good thing. Inside the bag are all the usual things



Again - useful contents and they work. Speaking of amenities, the small room is pretty much that... a small room, decorated with a flower and Elemis toiletries



Soon enough the plane began its decent to Heathrow, as the bright of the day turned into the murk of a “spring” morning in the United Kingdom.



The crew buttoned down the top deck and the plane descended through the English countryside, landing on 09L and bringing an end to this journey

[youtube width=560" height=315]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tOLOYLRDQoo[/youtube]

Of course it didn't stop the male of the family unbuckling his seatbelt to get items from the overhead locker and being told a few times to sit down until the plane had come to a stop.

Sigh.

Finally, the plane docked at the B docks and the bongs went off. I got up and retrieved my baggage whilst the parents of the kids were organising themselves, and I headed to the stairway, thanking the crew.



Heading down the stairs.

Overall: A good performance on all round. The hard product is pretty good to me, with the seat comfortable both in bed and seat mode. The soft product was delivered well, and the crew did a great job delivering what I've started to expect of BA in any class - a polished service. Yes, the screaming kids did take the edge off an almost perfect flight, but after they settled down... the flight was relaxing... and did the job.

Last edited by Kevincm; May 2, 13 at 1:59 pm
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Old May 2, 13, 1:53 pm   #11
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Part 9: Homeward Bound

After arriving at B dock, it was back to followings the signs to the T5 main terminal shuttle and then to UK Immigration.



Heading off the plane.



Walking through B Dock

Arriving at the UK Border, the queues seemed to be substantial, so I went through the Biometric Passport lanes. With that formality dealt with, it was down to baggage claim. My rucksack had made it out successfully and was doing its first circuit around the luggage belt, whilst my ski bag was about 5 minutes behind it.



My trash assembled




Baggage Claim

All loaded up, I headed to UK Customs and cleared the customs zone, leading me to the public section of the airport.

Now, was the next challenge - finding the Heathrow Express/Connect stops. After going the wrong way, I finally found the entrance and purchased a Connect ticket (as a Heathrow Express ticket costs the best part of £20 now... whilst a Heathrow Connect ticket is still £9.50).

After lugging my luggage aboard for the one-stop to Heathrow Central, it was a short wait for a Heathrow Connect train to take me to London Paddington. As usual, the connect service was its usual reasonable speed self, and dropped me off at Platform 10 at Paddington station. From there it was up to the Taxi rank for the short ride to Marylebone station where a train was preparing to go. Of course, it was in the far end of Marylebone - thankfully I had time by the bucketload to get a ticket, take the bags to the train and dump myself at a table seat.

The Chiltern Railways service did what it says on the tin - got me from Marylebone, through the Chiltern Hills, fast through to Banbury, then stopping at Leamington Spa, Warwick Parkway, Solihull and finally Birmingham Moor Street.



Everything loaded up. One day I’ll learn to travel light... nah.



Whilst travelling

I also did something odd - I partook of the trolley service. Not that I was hungry, but I was still pretty thirsty. £1.60 for a 500ml bottle of Diet coke isn’t great, but I wasn’t in a position to object when you've missed your chance to get a cheaper drink at the train station.

A grand total 1 hour and 40 minutes later, it was time to load the luggage on my back and shoulders as the train reached Birmingham Moor Street.

Once out of the train, it was through the barriers into a grey Birmingham afternoon. Outside, taxis were waiting, and I grabbed one for the short journey to the flat.

And soon enough, I was at my front door - another adventure over and a lot of new experiences.


Last edited by Kevincm; May 2, 13 at 2:00 pm
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Old May 2, 13, 1:59 pm   #12
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Well, lets wrap this all up, draw some conclusions and comment.

The British Airways First Lounge - A LOT better than before. The staff seemed more awake and willing to help, whilst the F Lounge retained its peace and quiet.

The AA FlAAgship Lounge (LHR) - Whilst it's a smaller lounge than the BA Lounge, the breakfast service was tightly focused with good service with good facilities.

American Airlines Transatlantic - it proves that the right seat - even in economy - it can make a big difference. The service was pretty reasonable if uninspired, but it did the job getting from point A to point B. For those of you who like quick immigration (or having a quick service inflight) - seating in the front section of Economy is a must.

The Hyatt Regency O'Hare - A VERY Strong performance by the team at the Hyatt Regency again. Top notch service, new smellies and a well maintained room. Apart from my usual moan about WiFi in the conference area, not much to criticise about at all.

The AA AAdmirals Clubs - Functional, and did the job. At least the WiFi was up to speed and Vodka seemed pretty good. Decent hiking boots are needed if you get a gate change though and you need to switch lounge.

American Eagle - For a short run, an impressive service (even addressed by name throughout which BA and AA mainline didn't even do). It's making me warm up to doing domestic runs in the USA - even down the back of the plane.

Toronto Airport - Bring me the head of the designer of Toronto T3 who can't seem to work out that people want to make international connections there, and I'll show him what the heck it's all about when you're on an increasingly tight connection.

British Airways Galleries Lounge Toronto - A reasonably sized lounge with lovely agents. And I'll remember it as the home of my first BA opup.

British Airways Club World on the top deck of a 747 - Well, if I ignore the kids who were one row infront of me, it was a great flight. Food and service was appropriate to the length of flight, whilst the seat was excellent. And yes, I can see why people pay out £1000's for a Club World seat.... and one day... I may do so again.


Whilst the flights may had been expensive this trip, I actually felt like I got value for money both in terms of service and enjoyment. Everything actually was rather good... which makes a very nice change for one of these TATL trips where I end up moaning about things constantly. The OpUp of course was the icing on the cake that turned a weekend around for me.

Will this last into the Autumn when I again take to the air to do a trip to Chicago? I don't know. There is only one way to find out though....


And how did the presentation go? Very well actually... And besides, most of you won’t want to hear about how to take better pictures at home with an alternative twist. Honestly. You don't. The things I can do with a torch and crappy pink Fujifilm camera would make some cry in amazement and wonder.


That and the following lines went down well:
  • The best camera you have is the one that is in your hand - Chase Jarvis

  • It’s better to have a blurry photo of something that you want rather than having photos of something that you don’t want - Kai Wong, Digital Rev
  • Make it black and white and almost anything can pass for art - Kevincm


When in doubt - Black and White. Covers all sins

The fact I do it differently is completely besides the point... (or drop me a mail at blog@ghettoife.com and I'll see what I can dig up that's safe... ish.)

That’s your lot for this trip. But wait! There's more to come!


There’s another trip coming up that should provide amusement as I head back to the United States of America - and this time to Denver and Beyond. Tune in for “Getting the BAcon in with Aer Lingus and British Airways” coming... sometime soon.

Your comments and feedback are welcome as always.




My Previous Trip Reports

LHR-BRU-LHR ... or "How do you burn a £50 BMI voucher without too much pain?"
MAN-ORD on BMI (29/10 ... or Did Kevin Make it to ORD?)
Kevin goes for a little mileage run on UA - ORD/CHM/IAD/EWR/ORD
ORD-MAN in BMI Premium Economy (with Pictures)
Kevin’s American Adventure – MAN-ORD-SEA-ORD-MAN (4 flights, 2 weeks) in Y..
ORD - MAN in BMI Premium Economy: How hard can a PE product drop? (also random moans)
LHR-PHL-SEA, SEA-PHX-ORD, ORD-PHL-LHR - In Y, Come and be scared with US!
LHR-SFO-LHR - If you're going to San Francisco - SFO MegaDO Trip report
Gold Run - Mr Kevincm goes to Washington with EI and US
Long Haul Commuter Run - LHR-IAD-ORD and back with UA
Saying Goodbye to a Friend - Travelling for the wrong reasons - LHR-PHL with UA (Also on GhettoIFE.com - expanded)
The BA Y+/Y Class Long Haul Experience LHR-BKK/SIN-SYD and back on a bargain fare (Also on GhettoIFE.com -Expanded)
The Autumn Run - Mixing Business with Pleasure (C/F/Y adventures with UA and US) (Also on GhettoIFE.com -Expanded)
Long Way Home - The Spring Commute with UA and CO (Also on GhettoIFE.com - Expanded)
Atlanta or Bust (and Frankfurt too!) - (Also on GhettoIFE.com - Expanded)
Drinks in Belfast with the BMI Board with LCC’s - (Also on GhettoIFE.com - Expanded)
Kevin get’s a bit of Seoul - First and Business class with Asiana Airlines and Thai to Seoul and Hong Kong (Also on GhettoIFE.com - Expanded)
Mixed Classes and Infinite/Madness: The Autumn Run with United - LHR-ORD-LAS-LAX-SFO-DEN-LHR - Also on GhettoIFE.com - expanded
Gold Run 2: Blame Canada! It's Only A Mileage Run anyway! (To YVR with AC, CO, BD..) also on Also on GhettoIFE.com - expanded
Re-Creating a Photo - To New York with United, British Airways and BMI Baby (Also on GhettoIFE.com)
Going the Canadian Way: To Chicago with Air Canada (LHR-YYZ-ORD in Y) (also on GhettoIFE.com)
SEN for £129? SEN Status Match Run with Swiss and Helvetic. (also on GhettoIFE.com)
Multimodal Mayhem with Coaches, Ferries, Brussels Airlines and Air Canada (also on GhettoIFE.com)
A Smooch of Chicago and a Kiss of DC – with United – LHR-ORD-IAD-LHR (also on GhettoIFE.com)
Narrow Minds and Narrow Bodies - To Denver with the New United, Aer Lingus and FlyBe (also on GhettoIFE.com)
Farewell Miles to Japan, Hong Kong and Seoul with ANA, Thai and Asiana with ANA's new 787 (also on GhettoIFE.com)
A Last Star Fling? To Chicago with United and Air Canada – LHR-IAD-ORD, ORD-YYZ-LHR? Exclusive to GhettoIFE!
Creating a Photo: Back to New York with British Airways and the A318 in CWLCY (also on GhettoIFE)
Behind the Scenes at London City Airport (also on GhettoIFE)
Different Airlines - Same Routes. To Chicago With AA and BA featuring Hurricane Sandy (Also on GhettoIFE)
Oh for the LOVE of Avios! To Hong Kong with Swiss and BA (also with much more stuff on GhettoIFE)

Last edited by Kevincm; May 2, 13 at 2:31 pm Reason: That's all folks!
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Old May 2, 13, 3:46 pm   #13
  
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Nice report. As someone who flies thru YYZ quite a bit, I agree wholeheartedly at your disdain for it's design. It's a necessary evil for me though.
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Old May 2, 13, 5:51 pm   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fieldeng View Post
Nice report. As someone who flies thru YYZ quite a bit, I agree wholeheartedly at your disdain for it's design. It's a necessary evil for me though.
Thanks fieldeng - Glad you enjoyed. Y

YYZ T1 isn't that bad if doing an US > International or an International > US connection... but T3... is in need ripping up and starting again.

Sorry you have to suffer it
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Old May 2, 13, 9:12 pm   #15
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Another enjoyable report Kevincm!

YYZ seems ace for op-ups, & even double op-ups - congrats
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