Went to bed late the night before, because I stayed up late to download lots of goodies to my Clié, like an updated version of the Paris guide, the Zagat guides for Paris & London (got a 14-day demo version... perfect for the trip), the United timetables, etc.
The morning was easy; nothing left to pack. The Workmans arrived at 9:30 in the van to pick us up, and we got to the airport about 2.5 hours in advance.
Because we were flying through Chicago, we had to check in at the domestic terminal. Our bags were whisked through a big Xray machine while we waited in line to get our boarding passes. The bags arrived at the counter about the same time we did.
I showed the gate agent my credit card and electronic ticket, and four tickets were forthcoming. I asked him to send our bags priority (so they'd be first out) and he did!
The guys had gone to park the car and met us at the counter. We all walked over to the international terminal and had some lunch. The kids were disappointed there was no McDonald's there, although the adults found the food quite to our liking.
Finally, it was time for us to go through security, and we bid adieu to our husbands and went to our gate. Arriving at our gate we looked at our tickets and found out that they had changed our tickets from our original reservation. Instead of having seats in the premier economy section, on the sides of the plane, we now had 4 across (2 on the right side and 2 in the center section). For the 2nd leg from Chicago to Heathrow, they'd put us all the way in the back of the plane! (So much for priority luggage...)
We tried to change seats but to no avail. The flight was completely full. Same story in Chicago. Plus, a special meal that I'd ordered also wasn't there. It appears that booking flights over the web is not foolproof.
We boarded the plane; the kids were very excited to be going! Lauren and I sat together, and Max sat with Patti. I tried to "sleep" as much as I could, but I'm not sure I ever really fell asleep. We landed with a thud, on time in Chicago.
Our connecting gate was right next to the gate we arrived on. McDonald's was right next to that -- Hallelujah! The kids ate Chicken McNuggets for dinner, Patti had hot & sour soup from the food court, and I just got a couple of pieces of fruit to eat on the plane. Max and I raced each other up and down the airport to burn off energy while Patti and Lauren read.
After a two-hour layover it was time to board the plane again. The plane was completely full. They were offering incentives for people to change, but we weren't biting.
We got on the plane and proceeded to the back of the plane where we were in the 2nd-to-last row. Good access to the lavoratories and galley!
Squished in like sardines, we tried to sleep. I'm sure I got a little sleep, but after a while, I couldn't sit in the chair any longer. I went to lie down on the floor by the exit, but they booted me out after a short while "security reasons, you know." There's nowhere to sit on the plane that's not your seat any more.
Our flight was uneventful, and we arrived in Chicago on time.
We'll be picked up in Heathrow by a car, which will wisk us to our flat in Belgravia.