Cold Chicago, Warm Planes – To Chicago with AA and BA
Featuring American Airlines Boeing 767-300s, Republic Airlines E-175s and British Airways Boeing 787-8s
- Let’s Play “Stacking Discounts!” (The Introduction)
- We’re going where the air is free (NX210 to LHR), BA Galleries Lounge AA Flagship Lounge
- AA87 London Heathrow T3 to Chicago O’Hare T5
- Crowne Plaza O’Hare
- Hyatt Regency O’Hare
- One Time Exception – Millennium Park
- Back to O’Hare T3, American Airlines Flagship Lounge
- AA4253 Chicago O’Hare T3 to Toronto Pearson T3
- Toronto, Oh Toronto…
- The British Airways Galleries Lounge, Toronto
- BA098 Toronto Pearson T1 to London Heathrow T5
- Arrivals Lounge, Homeward Bound
- Warming up slowly…
First up, my apologies. It’s been one of those months in the real world – as well as the joy of losing the actual trip report when I was typing it. The joy of data recovery is never my friend.
The content of the trip report is still pretty valid (apart from the biting cold of a Chicago winter, but I’m sure another one of those will roll round), so lets get on with this thing… before I lose that Word document again to the maw that is known as my MacBook’s hard disk
Let’s Play “Stacking Discounts!” (The Introduction)
Discounts. Lets face it – we all love them, even if they add a tiny bit of inconvenience on our travels. And sales, we love them too when we can save money on something we want.
If this is combinable with our travels, saving extra money always helps.
So, why do I mention this? After finishing The Last Push for Tier points for 2013/2014 – the game begins anew for 2014/2015.
In addition I need to be in Chicago. Again. Why? Well… that’s another discussion on another blog. But anyway with another trip to the Windy City, I decided to try to take advantage what I discounts I could lay my hands on.
First up was the British Airways Sale. Yes, it’s not much off (£20 or so off the normal fare), taking the fare from £500 to £480ish, but it’s better than a poke in the eye.
The second discount – and a not-so-known one for those outside (and for that matter inside the UK) is for those who hold BMI/Diamond Club Credit Cards. This gives an extra 10% off the fare element of a ticket.
This reduced my fare from the low £500’s to £467. It’s better than nothing, and better that paying full price.
For a routing, I decided on a familiar one to anyone who’s read my recent trip reports – on the way out, direct to Chicago, whilst on the return legs, heading up to Toronto and home to Heathrow. I find this routing breaks up the trip, whilst squeezing in an extra 10 Tier Points for £2 extra normally.
This would have a few firsts inside it:
- The new American Eagle Embraer E-175s
- My first flight to Chicago that hasn’t departed at the crack of dawn in years
However, there was minor downside – as the 07:45 flight (AA99) wasn’t available, I had to take the 10:50 flight (AA87), which is operated by an American Airlines Boeing 767-300ER. Whilst these aren’t too bad up front, down the back – they’re a bit more grim – with IFE not exactly a priority and some of the planes quite rickety as I discovered once.
Thankfully, I located a seat in Main Cabin Extra and did the seating dance thing to see if anyone would sit next to me.
The return leg from Toronto to London would be operated by British Airways aboard a Boeing 787. I tried to upgrade my segment on the BA flight between Toronto and London, and I wanted to avoid the nasty 3-3-3 seating down the back of the plane – so my plan was to upgrade with Avios or Cash into World Traveller Plus.
Neither seemed to bite with BA sadly. Oh well. Could be worse.
For hotels it was a usual mix. Sadly, the Hyatt I wanted to stay at was sold out for one of the five days I was there… so it was the old combo of Crowne Plaza and Hyatt Regency O’Hare.
Last time as some of you may remember, Hyatt left a pretty stale takes in my mouth, but there are two important things to note when I’m in Chicago…
- I am at an event that finished 2am at night normally, with daylight saving time readying to bite me
- I wanted to be in a semi-convenient spot so I can get in an elevator, head downstairs, get a coffee and do things.
So four nights at the Hyatt… and a message to the front desk so my room would be assured this time, and not messed up royally like last time. I’d see how well they did that when I checked in.
One night was booked at the Crowne Plaza, and that was that for accommodation.
Finally – I sort of forgot about the coach, resulting me paying £50 return on National Express.
Oh, and a new suitcase. But you knew about my thoughts on suitcases. More about that later as we go along.
With my wallets still divided after the Paris incident (and me finally sorting out the fraud details with MNBA so I had a brace of working credit cards), it was time to rock and again.
So a map… and another set of fun ahead.
Map by the Great Circle Mapper – www.gcmap.com
What adventures would await me this time? Keep an eye open as always – there could be a surprise or two!
Next – The Off, BA and AA lounges