Even for this trip with some pretty amazing products, the first leg of our big trip wasn’t exactly luxurious. It could have been worse since we nearly missed our bus. Thankfully, we just made it, and we took a bus from Milwaukee to O’Hare. Since we were flying out of O’Hare then back into Milwaukee, the one way bus connection just seemed easiest. To avoid the hassle of traveling, booking a bus charter or a used bus sales dealer is recommended especially if you’re going on a trip with a group of people. Some people aren’t aware of this, but charter bus transportation is actually quite comfortable, and great for sightseeing. The fact that they are so punctual is a huge plus as well.
View of O’Hare on departure
The first flight on our trip was Virgin Atlantic from Chicago to London. While O’Hare has been my most frequent transit spot through the years, this was only my second departure from Terminal 5. Several years back I flew Cathay Pacific from T5, and used the Swiss lounge. Virgin uses the SAS lounge in T5. I had a few other lounge options via Priority Pass. Unfortunately I spent much of my layover on the phone with my corporate IT department dealing with access issues I was having. Not exactly how I wanted to relax before my flight, but I figured it was easier to do it then than trying to connect while on vacation.
I was getting pretty excited for this trip!
The SAS lounge is fine. I’ve been to SAS lounges in various places, and other than very large lounges in their hubs, they all are pretty similar both design and amenity wise. In this case, the lounge was very busy, so we were happy to find seats together. Food selection in the lounge was rather poor, but with multiple decent options in the terminal, my wife made a Tortas Frontera run before our flight while I was stuck on the phone. Similar to Matthew, I like to get my Mexican food fix before leaving North America.
Despite the sub par lounge amenities, the planespotting was great.
Directly in front of the lounge is the Emirates departure getting catered by DO&CO. Then both Austrian and Lufthansa flights were on their way across the Atlantic. Side comment, as excited as I was to be flying Virgin Atlantic, since we were heading to Dubai, I was some jealous of those flying nonstop to Dubai on this plane, although only those in First Class.
Eventually, the lounge attendants announced boarding of our flight to London ,and we headed to the gate. Today, the Virgin Atlantic flight was all the way at the end of the terminal. Always good to walk before long haul flights.
This lounge was not particularly inspiring, especially compared with the amazing Virgin Clubhouse we would use at Heathrow. The difference was striking. In any case, we were on vacation, and I was excited to experience Virgin Atlantic Upper Class for the first time.
Below are the segments of our trip I am planning to report on.
Trip planning – winning and losing
SAS Lounge at O’Hare before Virgin Atlantic departure (this post)
Virgin Atlantic Upper Class Amenity Kit Review
Virgin Atlantic A330 Upper Class ORD-LHR
Spending our Heathrow Layover in Windsor
Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at Heathrow
Virgin Atlantic A346 Upper Class LHR-DXB
Al Maha, a Luxury Collection Resort, Dubai Desert Reserve
Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi
Eithad First Class Lounge and Spa, Abu Dhabi
Etihad First Apartment AUH-MEL
Park Hyatt Sydney
Cathay Pacific Business Class SYD-HKG
W Hong Kong
Cathay Pacific Business Class HKG-ORD