After a very tiring 24 hours on planes and in airports I made it safely to Chicago. The Qantas A380 flight (Premium Economy) was very smooth, and the Qantas cabin staff were absolutely wonderful. The downside was that despite requesting it when tickets were booked a month ago, I didn’t get seated with my work colleague, and I also didn’t get an aisle seat (my preference). If anything can make your bladder want to work overtime, it is being stuck in the middle of two sleeping strangers on a plane.
We had a slight delay taking off, then two on landing. Just before we took off the pilot announced that there was a technical problem with the onboard computer systems that was being rectified by technical staff. Personally, I would have preferred it if he just said we were waiting for some late boarding passengers or something. The first delay on landing was due to some “roadworks” on the LA Airport runway which meant the pilot couldn’t taxi all the way to gate, but had to be pulled in by a “tug”, then the second delay was when they couldn’t get the door open. Anyway, it didn’t really matter because we had a 5-hour lay-over in LA airport anyway.
LA airport is pretty uninspiring, so the 5 hour layover was a bit of a challenge. The 4-hour American Airlines flight to Chicago (Economy) was nowhere near as comfortable, but was uneventful which is all that matters I guess. We eventually made it to our hotel about 7pm Saturday night (Chicago time), but after getting no sleep on the planes I just wanted to crash. As is usual for me, and despite no real sleep for 24 hours, I still didn’t sleep well – really just dozed on and off. We had some pretty impressive thunder and lightning storms through the night as well which also kept me awake.
We got up and had some breakfast and then went for a bit of a walking tour of Chicago including walking along the Michigan Avenue “Golden Mile” and going up to the Hancock Observatory on the 94th floor of the Hancock Center. We then walked down to Millenium Park to see “The Bean” which I had previously seen many pictures of, then walked back along the shore-line track to Navy Pier where we had some lunch and a turn on the Ferris Wheel. That was just about enough for us two tired travellers so we returned to the hotel to catch up on some emails and have a bit of a rest before the first work function start tonight.
I didn’t take my good camera along due to carry-on weight restrictions but did take some photos with my little Olympus point-and-shoot. I’ve included a few below, more on Flickr.