May 23 – Part 2 – Crossing the Pond

Guest Blogger Beci Mahnken …..

We arrived at the airport in plenty of time to check in at the Alaska airlines desk for our first flight to Chicago . They tell us our bags have been checked thru but unfortunately we need to check ourselves in at the British desk in Chicago for the next two flight legs. This shouldn’t be a problem as we have 3 hours to make the connection and get where we need to be. Right?

The reality of the Chicago connection seemed a tad more complicated. Chris and I arrived in Chicago and worked our way thru the terminal to the shuttle leading to the international terminal where we checked in at the British airlines desk. The agent at the desk informed us that we were invited to go to the first class lounge located next to gate 11, but unfortunately they did not have a fast track line at O’Hare. Initially that was fine, until she further explained that the line was just about an hour long. (Ok.. I get it, now I know why she was apologizing.) Behind us snaked a security line that made me wonder if 3 hours for a connection with time to enjoy that wonderful lounge, was indeed enough.

And here is a confession – if you are ever with me and we are presented with a choice of lines to get into please do not allow me to choose unless of course you have time to kill and have a desire to be in the longest line. For some reason I am cosmically drawn to the line that will have some kind of issue just moments before I am the next to go. Supermarkets, drive thrus, and yes airport security. I choose the line that for the last 15 minutes has been moving at a very quick pace. Just as we approach and are now one person form the security station, here comes an army of flight crews who of course have the priority to avoid delayed flights. We are stopped for what seems like an eternity.. (ok minutes, but f you hate lines as much as I do, then you get it) about 15 minutes later we are through the screening process and on our way to find the lounge.

Once there, we are checked in and offered a wide array or beverages and snacks to prepare for our flight. We were given the choice to have dinner before or during the flight so we elected to wait. We found a window seat and watched as our Boeing 777 aircraft pulled up to the gate next door. About 30 minutes later they announced boarding for first class passengers. We made our way onto the aircraft and to our seats – errr.. beds – err pods. That may be the best description – pods. Each seat was very private with its own controls, nice sized table that lifted out of the console, and personal entertainment screen. They even provided a light weight sleep suit, slippers and a personal amenity kit with lip balm, tooth brush, toothpaste, eye shades and a pair of comfy socks for the trip. Nice touch!

Once airborne we were provided menus for dinner which provided several starter options as well as entrees. Chris had the Lobster salad with sesame chicken and I opted for the steak and mushroom pie with mashed potatoes. Dessert was New York cheese cake with berries. They also had a nice wines list with 3 reds, 3 whites and champagne as well.

After dinner the stewards came around and converted the seats to beds. Fully flat, approx 6 feet and was a very comfy way to cross the pond. I even managed to get a little sleep to prepare for the next leg of the journey that will take us to Barcelona .



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