Back to O’Hare, Air France/KLM Lounge
Taking the Longer Way Home
In this trip
- So. Keeping it original for autumn, aren’t we?
- Off to Heathrow in the Dead of the Night
- Terminal 3 Lounges… And more delays
- American Airlines AA99 London Heathrow to Chicago O’Hare (Main Cabin)
- In the USA, Candlewood Suites O’Hare
- TRAVEL PLUS: Fooding around Chicago
- Hyatt Regency O’Hare
- Airplane Art Extra – from the 10th Floor of the Hyatt Regency O’Hare
- TRAVEL PLUS: The Art Institute, Chicago
- Back to O’Hare, Air France/KLM Lounge
- Finnair AY010 Chicago O’Hare to Helsinki Vantaa
- A Helsinki Layover
- Finnair AY1335 Helsinki Vantaa to London Heathrow
- Coaching Homewards
- Sometimes, it’s more the journey
Back to O’Hare
After a ride on the L back to Rosemont station and a short walk back to the Hyatt Regency O’Hare, it was time to retrieve my bags from the luggage team.
That done, it was a quick repack – as I wanted to be ready for the hotel shuttle. Except for the 15-minute shuttle the hotel promises was more like 25-minute wait.
Annoying – but at least I had time on my hands.
The shuttle driver arrived and took my luggage off my hands. I could see his face sour when I said “Terminal 5” when asked which terminal I needed to be dropped off at.
I think he was hoping for an easy drive around the main terminal complex before heading to pick more passengers up. No matter.
After a ride around the central terminal area at O’Hare, and the driver using a sneaky Authorised vehicles route to access Terminal 5, I was dropped off and $5 lighter.
Well, anything to cut down the grumbling of the shuttle bus driver.
With that done, I headed into Terminal 5.
As Finnair is one of the more “temporary” airlines at Chicago O’Hare who serve it on a seasonal basis, it can be a challenge to find where the check-in area is. This time, the airline was towards Row F – near the back of the terminal.
There was no wait to be checked in, with the agent happily checking me in. I was asked to unclip a strap on one of my bags – for the protection of the bag.
With that done, the main suitcase was sent down the belt. I would have to take my slightly oversized bag to oversized screening to be processed.
I was also informed of my lounges at Chicago (which would be the Air France/KLM Lounge) and at Helsinki (the temporary Finnair Lounge).
After dropping my luggage, I noticed something… different at this end of the terminal – was that a security lane – or were my eyes playing tricks on me. It was indeed a security lane!
Apparently – since June – Chicago O’Hare Terminal 5 opened a new security Checkpoint – Checkpoint 11. Whilst that will mean nothing to most of you, it’s the latest checkpoint. With one person in front of me.
In practical terms – my own private screening lane.
I was cleared through it quickly enough and sent on my way. This gates drops you near the SAS lounge in Terminal 5, so I had a little backtracking to do to head to M7 – where the lounge was.
At least this trip, I would be spared the British Airways Terraces Dungeon in O’Hare.
On the way, I did a little light spotting – as one does where there’s an airport with windows you can look out of.
There is of course – one benefit of going through this new security lane – you can skip past the duty-free shopping (as well as the shops that have plenty of taxes – then again Illinois and Chicago loves its 10.25% tax…)
I headed onwards, my target in sight – the Air France-KLM lounge.
Whilst this lounge is operated nominally by AF/KLM, it is also a contract lounge – so every other airline but which uses it.
And it shows.
This also has a knock-on with capacity – as it is tight in here. As such if you’ve got your Priority Club Card (or it’s compatriots) ready to go here… expect it to be declined.
The lounge itself is busy – but it has one thing the British Airways lounge doesn’t have – natural light.
Oh, and some of the best catering that I’ve found in O’Hare Terminal 5. Not that it’s hard to beat the BA lounge at all.
Let’s look at the food offerings they have here
I grabbed a window seat – with the KLM 100th anniversary Boeing 787 on one side and an Air France A330 on another.
Well, I’ve had worse window views in the world.
Typically at this point of the show, I’m writing a few emails and posting a few things on the interwebs.
So speedy Wi-Fi is a necessity. I also had to get some images off to a friend (Which turned into a race if they would upload before boarding commenced).
The lounge also offers a boarding area for Premium Passengers from the lounge – which allowed the Air France passengers to board their waiting A330 to Paris (akin to the BA First lounge… if the right plane is parked at the right gate).
Boarding for my Finnair flight seemed to be slightly delayed – but by the time it was called, I had my images uploaded and sent.
A quick walk to Gate M11 showed the flight was a good 10 minutes away from boarding. I tried to spend money at Hudson News next to the gate.
That was another exercise in futility.
Normally a pretty awful idea in any sense of the word – and not particularly good when they don’t put prices on items.
It’s a bit of a core tenant of selling something – you put a price on it so people can gauge if they want to buy it or not. I know this could be shocking in retail, but amazingly – it can drive sales.
Shock and Horror – I know.
I wrote that off as a bad experience and headed back to the gate – where priority boarding had begun.
My boarding pass was blipped, and I was cleared by the CPB machine as leaving the country.
It was time to start the long way home.
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