Return to a much busier O’Hare Terminal 5
Fall fun in the Windy City
In this adventure:
- Still trying to keep it different
- Great. A Broken Down Coach…
- Cathay Pacific Lounge, Heathrow Terminal 3
- AA99 London Heathrow to Chicago O’Hare (Main Cabin Extra)
- Avid Hotel, Chicago O’Hare
- Hyatt Regency O’Hare
- Airplane Art from the Hyatt Regency O’Hare
- Table for One – Time for Food
- Trying a different Deep Dish Pizza (Pequods)
- Night-Time fun with the iPhone 14 Pro
- Return to much busier Chicago O’Hare Terminal 5
- BA296 Chicago O’Hare to London Heathrow (World Traveller)
- A Coach, A Coach. My Kingdom for a Coach
- Not the end, for 2022… maybe…
Return to a much busier O’Hare
With my time in the USA coming to an end, I made my way back to the Hyatt Regency O’Hare.
After a chance to repack my luggage and reduce weight in other bags, I was happy to set off home, firstly by using the hotel shuttle to the airport.
Shuttle bus time
The nice thing about an evening flight is that on the shuttles, there are a lot fewer people to deal with when heading to the airport – I had the bus to myself for the 10-minute ride to Terminal 5.
After arriving at the Terminal, I thanked the driver and headed off to a much busier terminal.
Some time ago, Southwest and Frontier had switched to O’Hare Terminal 5 – well, it seems Delta is now the newest occupant of the terminal.
That warrants a discussion – as this is one of the big carriers that have moved away from the central terminal area. Whilst it could mean a better passenger experience when using a quieter terminal, it has a knock-on effect.
Here are a few that caught my mind, with Delta passengers so far away from the Central Terminal Area:
- A longer hike for a shuttle bus (especially hotel ones which can forget about T5 easily), which may mean a ride to the central bus terminal if your hotel won’t serve T5
- Away from the main connections and transfer options (although there is international connectivity via terminal 5 for Skyteam airlines)
- Odder waits for taxis (It’s a crapshoot if there are taxis at Terminal 5 sometimes, with Ubers taking their time to snake their way there).
- And multiple escalators and stairs if you want to take the Airport Transit System to the L Station, for a public transport ride into the city. Remember to wave at Terminal 5 as you go past.
And you can bet that the bus had fun, finding a place to drop me off with the increased traffic at the terminal.
Entering the terminal, it was indeed a lot busier than I’d ever seen it. Nonetheless, the British Airways desks were pretty empty when I reached them.
I began the check-in process (as I had forgotten to complete the online check-in process earlier). Whilst the check-in process was going on, I enquired about the upgrade pricing between Chicago O’Hare and Heathrow.
Mainly, as I wanted a bit more legroom to get some rest on the flight.
Online, I had been quoted £279 for an upgrade – and I had honestly forgotten to press the button to activate the upgrade. At the airport, it seems the upgrade at check-in fee has jumped to $500.
I checked the status of the seat next to me and happily discovered it was free. That would have to do for this flight home.
With that done, my bags were accepted for travel and my boarding pass was generated for the return leg.
From here, I decided to head to the West Security Gate at O’Hare T5. This took around 15 minutes to clear. I could have made it for the main security shouting section – but this gate area tends to move reasonably quickly (and also, no odd 3D body scanner thing).
However, there were more than a few passengers that needed assistance through the security process, which added to the time to clear the area.
$13,910. Such a precise number.
There is one advantage – you don’t have to fight through the maze of duty-free (and confused domestic passengers working out if they can’t take advantage of it or not).
Once in the secure part of the terminal, I backtracked a little, as O’Hare Terminal 5 is changing since its expansion – the main thing for visitors who used it in the past is that all the gate numbers have changed.
M1 to M40. OUCH.
Even if some of the things haven’t changed. Such as Hudson News pricing.
Raising your children to be AVgeeks young.
Other things had not changed – such as Hudson News wrapping fruit in poly wrap and a tray, with a barcode.
If only fruit came in its own protective packaging… I’m talking
There were a few new things on this side of T5, with the salad vending machines being one of the newest additions.
And all the planes.
A lot of these Farmers Fridge machines…
The good old Lego machine
And privacy cubes to work in. (charged by the minute).
Great. The popcorn is now spooky.
With a bottle of Powerade in hand (at the horribly overpriced thanks to Hudson news) and some popcorn to go home with, I headed to the British Airways Lounge.
We’re still calling it Terraces?
British Airways Lounge
I was welcomed to the lounge and directed to use either the seated area or the self-serve buffet area (as BA Silvers can now use pre-flight dining… for now).
I settled down and had a look at what was available. It seems Tuesday night was Taco night – with soft tacos and fillings for them. A nice selection for the help yourself, with salads and desserts too.
For those who prefer a burger or pasta, at-seat ordering was available too. Which was nice to see, as it meant additional options.
The pre-flight dining section was quiet that evening, which suited me. It allowed me to get on with more than a few things, catch up on the world and nibble away on bits.
As for the lounge itself – I call this the dungeon lounge – and I’m still not wrong. This windowless lounge just doesn’t do the airline any justice. With the first-class lounge still out of action and no sign of BA moving to a larger space, it seems we’re stuck with this lit dungeon for a while.
At least it is well-lit.
As time moved on, the lounge attendant walked around the lounge to advise that boarding would commence shortly.
I took the chance to pack everything away.
Well, almost everything.
I had shifted to the Canon 100D that I had, as something had happened to the EOS R – to the point that it was not travelling with me for the rest of the trip and would be spending its remaining time in a bin.
To be honest, that camera put me in one hell of a mood towards the end of the trip.
The wrong way Kevin. Turn around, Bright Eyes…
Nonetheless, with all my items in hand, I trotted over the Gate M17/M16 complex – what was the old Gate M11/12, which has been heavily expanded in terms of space.
Follow the signs.
Only in the USA will the stick drink holders on armrests.
At least there is power of all sorts under the seat (USB-C, USB-A and mains electric).
Boarding was about to being by the time I got there, so I spent a few minutes taking a few pictures of the aircraft that would take me to London, realising that I wasn’t familiar with the registration of this aircraft.
It turned out that I would be aboard a Boeing 787-10 this time (the aircraft type I was meant to be on the last trip, which was subbed for a 787-9). I guess BA still loves to chop and change its fleet around, dependant on demand.
Priority boarding commenced, with families going first, then group 1. With group 2 being called – I headed to the podium. My boarding pass was ripped, a picture was taken of me, and I was allowed to proceed down the jetway.
I was ready to go home.
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