A Last Star Alliance Fling? To Chicago with United Airlines and Air Canada
Touchy Feely fun with the TSA, IAD to ORD with United
- An Apology and The Introduction
- To London Heathrow, BMI Lounge, Star Alliance Lounge
- United UA923 London Heathrow – Washington Dulles International
- TSA Shenanigans, United UA221 Washington Dulles to Chicago O’Hare (this entry)
- InterContinental Chicago, North Michigan Avenue
- One Time Exception: Chicago Water Taxi
- Hyatt Regency O’Hare
- United UA474, Chicago O’Hare to Toronto Pearson International in United First
- Maple Leaf Lounge, Air Canada AC856 Toronto Pearson International to London Heathrow
- Homeward bound
- No more Star Alliance?
Once off the plane, it was off to the Midfield immigration area as I was due to transit onto another United flight. Midfield immigration (like any US immigration) is a matter of getting off the plane as fast as possible and heading to the immigration area.
Thankfully the queue was moving rather quickly that morning for visitors to the United States of America
After arriving at DC and making my way to the midfield terminal immigration there was a 20 minute wait to be seen. The agent was in a chatty mood, asking about my plans and such. After satisfying those requirements, my passport and blue form were stamped, and I was sent on my way.
With a 20 minute wait, I had timed it perfectly for luggage which by this point was making its way around the carousel like happy things. After hefting the bags onto a trolley, I approached US Customs, who welcomed me with “Straight Ahead – Welcome to the United States”
Definitely not an Eric Cartman style customs officer today.
However, after dropping off my checked luggage, it was time to deal with the TSA – who had their Eric Cartman clones on duty today at the checkpoint. As usual, I placed my stuff on the belt, and was directed to the Nude-O-Scope. In keeping with my beliefs about them, I opted out.
Then the waiting game begun… until the officer who i stated I was opting out too decided to inspect me himself (it seems midfield TSA as usual were understaffed). As usual, we’re talking about a usual 2nd base inspection, which came out clean. I thanked the officer and grabbed my trash, and headed into the terminal. Seeing the my flight was going from the D Gates, I hiked down C Concourse, directly to the D7 United Club
United Club (D7)
I wandered downstairs and was welcomed, and politely invited into the club. Now, I have a soft spot for this club as it’s self service, and its nice and quiet normally. This club lived up to those expectations today with just a few people in. I just settled down and relaxed for a bit – and resorted my trash after the TSA fondling.
After relaxing for a bit and grabbing a few drinks, I left the lounge and headed for the gate. When i got to the gate, I saw the seat map, and looked at it very carefully. There were some pairs of seats open still, so I went to the gate and got a window with a clear middle seat.
It’s not being selfish, it’s being proactive.
Boarding begun on time, and I made my way down once Star Golds were called.
UA221 United Airlines Washington Dulles International – Chicago O’Hare International
United Airlines Seat 35F, Airbus A320 Economy Class (Blue Tulip Scheme)
588 flown, 600 Earned
I was welcomed aboard, and headed straight to almost the back of the plane – as I’m arriving into Chicago, I’m not exactly doing anything bar settling down – so I’m not fussed getting off the plane late.
As suspected, there was an isle seat person, but no middle seat person – this is what we call a relaxing environment.
Pushback was a little late, and I was greeted with Jeff again doing his spiel, and then the elevator music version of Rhapsody in Blue with something resembling a safety video.
Soon enough, we lined up for take off… and I realised where my phone was – in my bag. So, no Youtube videos for this segment. Aren’t you glad? 😉
Take off as was its usual sporty self in an A320, with the plane reaching for the skies in no time at all. The crew were released to do a drinks service, and I just sat back and watched the world go by.
Legroom was reasonable, even if its near the back of the plane
Soon enough, the excitement of a drinks service arrived. Still needing liquid, I just went for another diet coke… delivered Continental style.
The flight continued on its way, crossing Lake Michigan, and the plane twisted and turned for Chicago.
Tocuhdown was its usual sporty self for an A320, and soon we were off the runway, taxing to the B Concourse at O’Hare
Soon enough, the plane pulled in, and the bongs went. As I was near the back of the plane, it took time to disembark, but I eventually made it off the plane.
Overall: Nothing special for a sub 600 mile flight to be honest, but you can see cuts just in this service alone – whilst I like a full can of cola, I don’t like asking for it. Guess its a change… oh you all know the rest.
Next: Intercontinental Chicago – North Michigan Avenue.