Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Flying to Chicago

The day started well with no arguments at check-in in processing my bicycle in it's large polythene bag. After saying goodbye to younger daughter, who works at the airport, I forgot to take my phone out of my pocket at security, so ended up enduring a search. At least he didn't put the latex gloves on! My ticket allowed me entry to the B.A. executive lounge so I didn't have to mix with the plebs!
The Pinot Noir was very good.
I had an exit row seat so there was no shortage of legroom.
I expected to have to endure a queue for security at Heathrow but it turned out to be just a quick passport check and straight into the international departures hall.
My plane  was a 777-300. An enormous beast.

I had selected a seat above the wing, so my view was somewhat restricted.
The new premium economy cabin is very smart and, in my view, premium economy is well worth the extra cost. In this case, because I was taking my bike in addition to a checked suitcase, there was no charge for the bike as in this cabin, 2 pieces of checked baggage are allowed.
The seats are wider, very handy in my case, and there is acres of legroom. I was able to stretch my legs out fully. Also, the TV screen is larger and our menu was the same as the rich folk in business.
I had fillets of sea bass with a nice white wine. A very nice meal.
Being me, I had to endure a couple of irritations. The woman sitting on my right spent most of the trip chewing gum at a high rate of knots with her mouth open. I was relieved when she reclined her seat and I couldn't see her any more! Unfortunately, the woman in front of her reclined her seat and I spent much of the rest of the flight seeing her constantly rotating her hair out of the corner of my right eye. Grrrrrr.
She looked thoroughly displeased when. I asked her to put her seat upright so I could get into the aisle. Just for fun I did it again a couple of times.
On the positive side, there was a young boy of no more than 3 or 4 and he didn't make a noise for the 8 hours of the flight.

The stewardess was most accommodating when I requested some extra G and T.

Despite having been late in leaving, we arrived early. It took a full 15 minutes from landing to actually getting to our terminal. Big airport.
My bag came off quickly but I had a longer and slightly nervous wait for my bicycle. I had a chat with the next Rory. McIlroy; a young man from Cumbria who is in Alabama on a golf scholarship. Can't be bad.
The bike arrived with some tears in my bike bag but appeared I damaged so phew.
Steve Lange was waiting for me and whisked me to my hotel which. I had booked through Booking. Com. Of course, when. I got there, the reception staff told me they only had a record of a cancelled booking, from when I had changed my booking from a 2 night to a 1 night stay.
They said they had a room but it would cost an extra $70 over and above the price on my booking form. Fat chance. I used their business centre to access Booking's website which confirmed the 1 night booking and then used the hotel phone to ring Booking.Com. All sorted, installed in my nice room, then down for a beer with Steve. 
I was quite pleased that, despite it being after 9pm by this time, or 3am my time, I was still feeling quite fresh. 
After Steve left,  I unpacked my bike and found all in order, rearranged my case etc, had coffee (mistake!!!) and went to bed at 10.45. 
I was wide awake by 2.30, got back to sleep and started typing this about 6. Oh well, it's just as well Dan Koch is driving today.

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