Cold Chicago, Warm Planes – To Chicago with AA and BA
US Immigration, Crowne Plaza O’Hare
- 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…
Off to US Immigration
When I got off the plane, it would be the usual race to US Immigration.
Why? I hate the long queues that can build up at the US Border. US immigration can be unpredictable (to be polite), as the queues can be anything from a few people long to full two-hour wait – which is typical if you’re arriving non-US Resident.
Thankfully, I managed to get to the immigration counters in a reasonable time, and there were only a few people waiting it seemed.
After waiting at 10 minutes, I was directed to see an immigration agent. I wasn’t looking forward to it after the last grilling I had into the USA – however; this time it was a quick process. The passport was stamped, and I was sent on my way.
From there, it was of to the luggage belt, and as usual – luggage delivery took its sweet time to come out of the belt.
The first bag popped out after a few minutes, whilst the second bag followed 10 minutes later (showing priority luggage is one of those things very few people pay attention to)
From there it was up to customs. The agent examined my form, and thankfully sent me on my way – from plane door to the exit point in customs in 25 minutes. A lot better than usual here.
After making a few Skype calls using the local free WiFi provided by the airport, I decided that it would be a good idea to check into the hotel for the night – the Crowne Plaza O’Hare.
After exiting into the biting cold, I headed for a taxi rank. Thankfully, there was a cab waiting. And for once I had a taxi driver who was honest, didn’t take me around the houses and got me to the hotel without ripping me off. He was tipped appropriately.
Crowne Plaza O’Hare
I didn’t get an external hotel shot this time… shuttle buses are good enough… right?
I was welcomed to the hotel and seen to by receptionist quickly. The agent checked my details and confirmed that my account had been linked up to my Priority Club Account – which is nice.
I was then asked what welcome amenity I would like. I was given the option of a welcome pack of drinks and snacks, a drink in the bar or 600 points.
As I’m not hot on the drinks in the bar, I went for the 600 points. IHG points are pretty usable.
I was issued my room card keys, given the Wi-Fi access codes and given a breakfast voucher – with me not realising that breakfast was complimentary on the rate I was on. Always a nice addition to see.
With those formalities completed and headed up to 12th floor and head to the room – and get ready for the cold of Chicago.
Taken a bit later.
To the rooms
So let’s have a look this room
Tea and coffee facilities
With the one at the end of the corridor had a sort of corner room – so it had two sets of windows as opposed to one window…Which is nice
The bed was the usual Crowne Plaza bed – in other words, a pretty acceptable bed for an overnight stop. The room itself was nice and warm, which was helpful given the biting conditions outside.
The bathroom is a pretty normal Crowne Plaza bathroom, well stocked and had a bath with water which was a reasonable temperature. Good things in my book.
I wandered out to experience how cold Chicago was, and wandered back later on. A small welcome amenity was delivered along with a hand-written welcome note from the manager, thanking me for my custom and continued visiting of the property.
It’s the small things that count – and this matters in my book.
As I had a voucher for breakfast, I felt it would be rude not to utilise it.
The breakfast buffet was held in the restaurant with the usual help yourself offerings
Spanish Omelette and bits
Not bad in the least. Although I’m glad I had a breakfast voucher…
ERK. $20 for a buffet breakfast?
I tipped appropriately, and then headed back upstairs to pack and ensure my luggage was in a good state for the next part of the trip.
As I had need to be elsewhere, I checked out about 11am to switch hotel. All charges were “as billed”, and I left in a happy mood.
Overall: Another solid performance by the Crowne Plaza O’Hare. A good product, delivered simply, and at a reasonable cost. All the makings of good consistent visit. Whilst it isn’t a stellar property, it is reliable for a night’s rest, with good connectivity. These things count.
Next: The Hyatt Regency O’Hare