Sunday, October 31, 2004

The return leg

Unlike the outward journey, where I was flying direct to LAX from Heathrow, I ended up having to go via Chicago on the return leg.

Now normally, I wouldn't mind this, as I know Chicago airport fairly well. But half an hour after our scheduled take off time we were still sitting at the gate in LAX. It didn't bode well for making my connection back to the UK, and since my connection was the last flight of the day I'd probably get stuck in Chicago for an unscheduled layover if I missed it.

Waiting at LAX, I can see the plane...

According to the ground staff at LAX, who were looking fairly harassed by this point, the delay was due to the airspace over Chicago being, well, full. In the end I think they bundled us aboard the 747 just to get rid of us, as we sat on the tarmac for another half an hour after they closed the doors before we got pushback.

In the end we took off from LAX an hour late, considering I had an hour and twenty minutes to change planes in Chicago I wasn't actually in too bad shape. I was definately going to make it, so long as we weren't stacked and racked over Chicago. The chances of my luggage making it were, of course, fairly slim.

A suspicously empty gate for the LHR flight

Ariving into Chicago I got lucky, my gate for the Heathrow flight was only two down from my arriving flight, an easy change considering I had a full 10 minutes before they were going to close the doors to get there.

When I got there I thought I'd got turned around, the gate was suspicously empty for a flight that was scheduled to depart "real soon now", where were the queues, the massed throngs of people? It turns out that 3/4 of the people scheduled to be on the flight were stuck over in a different terminal on another (late) plane. I walked onto the plane, almost one of the first to arrive.

When I made it back into Heathrow, my luggage even turned up, now that's what I call service.