Back Into Action, Back to the Back – To Chicago with AA and BA

Back into action, Back to the Back – To Chicago with American Airlines, American Eagle and British Airways


The Introduction!


Yet another odyssey to Chicago, down the back of the plane.

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 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 –

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 😉


  1. DaninSTL says

    Nice post. I would have picked the Intercontinental Ohare as I have IHG points and Ambassador status which they seem to care about. Hyatt is also a good choice. I’ve stayed at the Radisson OHare area a few times. Nothing special but great view from the pool of the low flight path and the LOT airwaitress staff :)

    • says

      Thanks DaninSTL. I was thinking about the IC, but 2am finishes and 8:30 starts preclude the extra $$$ going back and forth in a cab each night. I was meant to to try the IC last year, but there was a little storm that got in the way things, and wrecked more than my trip sadly. One day, I’ll vary my O’Hare Hotels.

      And as for the flight path… check out . Not bad in my book 😉