Back to O’Hare, the Air France-KLM lounge – Long Way Home
In this adventure:
- I’ve got to stop looking at odd routings and thinking they’re good ideas
- Sleep? What’s that concept? Off to Heathrow T3
- Lounging around Heathrow T3
- AA99 London Heathrow to Chicago O’Hare
- The Hyatt Regency O’Hare
- The Nutella Cafe
- Fooding Around Chicago
- The Canon 100D – Good for aviation photography?
- Camera shift – from EOS 6D to EOS R
- Back to O’Hare, Air France Lounge
- AY10 Chicago to Helsinki Vantaa… with Air Italy?
- Two hours and 20 in Helsinki Vantaa
- AY1335 Helsinki Vantaa to London Heathrow
- Bussing back home
- Long Way Home or short way back?
Back to O’Hare
With my time in Chicago up, I returned to the Hyatt Regency O’Hare to pick up my luggage and do a little repacking.
That done – I headed to the waiting shuttle bus – with a driver who wasn’t too happy he had to go over to the International Terminal to drop me off.
I seem to be getting a bit of that this trip when I go to and from the International terminal.
A drive around the O’Hare complex and I was soon at T5, ready to face whatever was coming at me.
With my baggage off the shuttle bus, I made my way to the check-in desks. Which were a different place to what I’m used to at the airport.
That would be O’Hare
Interestingly, there was a laminated sign on the check-in desk. Apparently, this fight had suffered an equipment swap and it would be operated by Air Italy for Finnair.
I was checked in successfully, and my bags tagged all the way to Heathrow. I was also informed of the lounge location – which would be the Air France-KLM lounge (as opposed to the oneworld British Airways lounge).
In a lot of respects, I was happy about that. That dark box and I do not get on.
With the formalities done, it was time to endure the wonder that is the TSA Screening Checkpoint. Now, with an international terminal like this – you would have thought that consideration would have been higher to users who don’t speak English or could use multi-language auto announcements.
No. That would be far too easy. The only thing that is here is the conversion of food and energy into noise and shouting.
It seems the old comment of “if they don’t understand English, speak louder” is in full force in O’Hare. This is easily aviodable…. however it seems TSA employees love to shout.
The queues moved along quickly thankfully, and I was through the main security checkpoint in 10 minutes.
But shouting at people really doesn’t work as a passenger experience thing, TSA O’Hare. Not in the least.
Once clear of the mess that was security, I headed past the Duty-Free section, and into the main food and dining area. As I was pretty spent up on this trip, I turned right and headed towards the lounge.
There are some lounges that are very exclusive, and there are some that are… welcoming of anyone. The Air France-KLM lounge is very much the latter, being a contract lounge for just about anyone and everyone.
Air France Lounge
I was blipped into the lounge and ran straight into my first problem – finding a spot to sit. Seating is pretty dense in the lounge – so that represents a new level of fun and games. It’s especially busy as the KLM flight is heading out, and the Finnair and Qatar Airways flights use this lounge.
It’s very much a lounge at capacity all of the time.
This lounge is meant to be one of the better lounges at O’Hare T5. Well, lets put it like this – the views beat the BA dark box into nothing.
Once I found a seat, I went about the task of locating food. Thankfully, this lounge has reasonable food options – two hot options (noodles and rice), and lots of sandwiches in the fridge. There was also soup for those who wanted it.
I noticed the replenishment of the hot items after the KLM flight left slowed down, but otherwise – the area was being kept clean.
There was also self-pour Heineken in the lounge too. Needless to say, you could never tell I don’t pour my own pints when I was younger.
I stuck to Processo and water interested
Yes. Still better than the BA Lounge.
So whilst I had a window seat and gorgeous light to play with, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to give the Canon EOS R a work-out. Because why not/
After a while, the inbound plane came in – running late it seemed.
With the light fading, we were called for boarding. I exited the lounge along with others to find the gate staff in Halloween garb… but no boarding commencing just yet.
Eventually an announcement was made that due to the late arrival of the plane, boarding would be delayed by 20 minutes.
With that, I turned around and headed to the lounge.
I was blipped back in and found a seat that was unoccupied. With some water to lighten the mood, I sat back and spent my time scrolling through the phone.
Well, there was little else to do. Finnair’s systems said we had departed and were in the air. We weren’t.
Eventually, we were called back to the gate. There was still some toing and froing with Air Italy staff boarding the plane (both those operating the flight, and those operating the flight back). After a while, a mechanical delay was announced.
There is only so many times you can show your face at a lounge without looking like a complete idiot. I had hit that limit with two times.
I therefore camped out near the gate and just sat back and watched the world go by. That and unpack my USB Powered fan I got from the Boeing store.
Little did I know how much I would need it in the upcoming flight.
The fault was cleared, and boarding was announced. Finnair boards by groups – so as a oneworld sapphire – I boarded in group 1.
With the final scan of the boarding pass and check of the passport, I left the United States of America.
And headed abroad for Italy. Or Is it Qatar? Or is it Finland? Guess we’ll find out… or maybe not…
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