Back to O’Hare and The Swissport Lounge
Indirect Travel Fun
Oh. Dearie. Me.
- How much is it this time???
- Early Morning National Express, Mid Moring Terminal 3
- Elegantly Lounging around Terminal 3 (Cathay Pacific and American Airlines Lounges)
- American Airlines AA99 London Heathrow to Chicago (Main Cabin Extra)
- Into the USA, Crowne Plaza O’Hare
- Hyatt Regency O’Hare
- Airplane Art Extra: From the Hyatt Regency O’Hare
- Chicago Classics: Mannys Deli and Cafeteria
- Bench Test and First Impressions: Canon EOS R50
- Rebuilding a Legacy: Central Camera, Chicago
- Chicago Classics: Peaquod’s Pizza
- Back to O’Hare, Swissport Lounge Chicago T5
- Finnair AY10 Chicago O’Hare to Helsinki Vantaa
- A quick ground-side visit, and an even quicker stop at the Finnair Lounge
- Finnair AY1337 to Helsinki Vantaa to London Heathrow
- The Unexpected Coach Home
- Expect the Unexpected
Return to O’Hare
With my time in Chicago coming to an end, I made my way back from the centre and to the Hyatt to repack my bags, and to catch a shuttle back to the airport.
And no, I wasn’t in the mood for an Uber or Lyft.
There was a wait, but eventually, I was the only person requiring a shuttle connection to the airport. The driver noted I needed to be dropped off at terminal 5, so made their way directly to T5, as opposed to going around the entire terminal complex, weaving back and forth between them.
With my bags dropped off, I took a few minutes to breathe, before entering the chaos that is O’Hare Terminal 5.
And these days, chaos is the only word I can use. Gone are the days when it was just international airlines, with Frontier, Southwest and Delta all having gates there.
I eventually found my check-in desks and settled in for a check-in battle. And that’s the nicest way of putting it, as it was contract staff manning the desks.
For the first bag, it was overweight. With a couple of bags of American candy removed from the main bag, it was light enough to travel. Then came the fun of the second bag, This confused the agents as I was an economy passenger with status. I reminded them to go through the SOP and the oneworld rules.
After checking and umming, it was there in black and white, The bags were both accepted for travel.
With that done, I discovered which lounge I would need to head to. But first I would have to negotiate security at O’Hare.
Whilst it wasn’t the TSA on full shouty that day, it was a matter of processing speed, with one lane out of two opened at the side security gates (which pop you out near the SAS lounge). Thus, it took a good 25 minutes to clear that hurdle.
Thankfully, my bags weren’t pulled over, so I was cleared to proceed quickly through the improving mess – that is O’Hare Terminal 5.
With a lot of building work on the departure level seemingly completed (with only some sections up with hoardings, there was a lot more space to circulate – this is important as passenger traffic flows from the duty-free, dining area and atrium – where narrow corridors are a dumb idea.
I negotiated past the traffic and headed to the Swissport Lounge. This is across the way from the old Air France – KLM Lounge (which is now a Delta lounge).
What wonders would await me?
I was… welcomed is a word I’ll use, and after some checking, I was directed to the right side of the lounge. And then directed to some counter seating… as the lounge had four available seats in it.
The cycle passengers in and out fast, as it covers Austrian Airlines, Aer Lingus, Emirates, Etihad, Eva Air, Finnair, Korean Air, SWISS and Turkish Airlines.
Thus, even though it’s a generic lounge, I would expect some quality here.
Oh boy. Ever think you might be better off sitting in the public area? Here’s a perfect example.
There was a small drinks station with both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. Snacks were limited to pre-packaged items including crisps, and wrapped fruit. There were some items in the fridge, including snack sandwiches, salads and Crudités (all pre-portioned).
The only hot item – was Marucha Instant Lunch.
Now, I’ve seen instant noodles offered in lounges (notably in Asia, where instant noodles on the go are a requirement), but these are backed up with high-quality self-catered items.
This lounge didn’t have any backup to that, and thus, felt cheap.
It felt cheaper as time went on. As the Emirates flight cleared out, I had a walk around the lounge. And dear deity, whoever manages this lounge clearly needs to visit a premium lounge elsewhere in the world.
Because the “blue” side of the lounge is an abject dump.
Heck, even in the same terminal.
I accept that furniture gets beaten up, but the threadbare of some of the chairs looked like they could have gone to Goodwill to get something a little more suitable. Power outlets were menial, whilst wifi performance was poor – to the point where I was losing connection to services,
It’s honestly as if they couldn’t care to operate a lounge with any nicety.
They were also being proactive with lounge management, closing the side that I was assigned to. So I had to do the walk of shame to the “ivory” side of the lounge.
At least the furniture was in better condition here. The food and beverages offered were the same as the blue side of the lounge.
I took the time to reorganise before heading out.
I always thought the BA lounge at ORD T5 was the dumpiest of dumps at the airport.
It turns out I was wrong – by a long shot.
I hiked my way back from M13 to M20 (a fair distance these days) and found that boarding was well underway for the Helsinki flight.
Why yes, yes it is.
I presented myself via the premium lanes. With a passport scan, as well as a facial scan by the border services, I was let through the jetway.
It was time to start heading towards home.
Finnair AY10 – Talk about cutting the soft product to the bone…
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