CiCoNO and I are now back in the homeland. The Eagles have landed. The luggage has arrived in one piece (just)…. well, two pieces of me, but that part was planned. I had too much stuff to bring back and so had to check two bags in to the hold. No problem apart from the fact that in SLC, we had to leave our bag at the security screening area. Not happy campers with the idea of just leaving our luggage in limbo, so we had our picnic lunch and waited until our cases had toddled off on the baggage conveyor belt. “Do not leave your luggage unattended” – well it kind of is if you leave it in a security area! A very foreign concept for us Brits.
I scored 20 points in the ‘Who can spot a genie first?’ game as it transpired that my genie-mate Sharn White was on the same flight as us to Chicago (Leg 1). Packed in like sardines on an American Airlines two-by-two plane, CiCoNO and I were not even able to sit together…. Well, that was a quiet flight for both of us! We read more of our books during that three-hour period than we have during the rest of the trip!
It was not the most comfortable flight I have ever had. Sudden drops in altitude rather than gradual and the final descent seemed to creep up on the cabin crew with a very rushed ‘tables up and electronic items stowed’ announcement and about 90 seconds to landing. We were delighted to find that there was a quick way to transfer to Terminal 5 without going through security again – always a bonus. Oh, and I missed the fact that in SLC we were given special security clearance! No ‘take out your electrical devices and liquids’ and ‘remove your shoes’ malarkey. Wear it all and leave it all in there…. Unless you have a metallic belt as, in my case, that sets off the alarms (thanks Ma & Pa FWL for the Christmas present, not to be worn again on travels!).
A quick wander around Chicago Terminal 5 – who am I kidding?! – and a duty-free purchase or two, I suddenly heard GRAY over the PA system. CiCoNO said there was no way that was me, until we heard VALENTINE as well! Oh heck! There we were hoping that we were to be upgraded to Business Class but sadly, that was not the case. Just a passport and boarding pass check…. What a shame! The quick wander wasn’t quick at all, as there were 2,500 steps still to be walked before midnight is some time zone or another, so these were completed in the front row of World Traveller Plus whilst we waited for everyone to embark.
Our flight was slightly delayed as Storm Imogen was raging in the UK and so the outbound flight from Heathrow to Chicago had been delayed. But, after a brief de-ice (that would never happen in England!), we departed less than half an hour after our scheduled slot. Amazing!
Drinks, dinner and then a cat nap before arriving back in Blighty. Could we really have been away for ten days? It sure doesn’t feel like it in many ways. But now, it’s back to normality, whatever that is.