It was time for a winter getaway, leaving the cold and snow of Chicago for the sun and warm waters of Goa, India. The first stop was Hyderabad, India by way of London. The plan was to fly United in Polaris business class nonstop from O’Hare to Heathrow connecting to Air India business class nonstop from Heathrow to Hyderabad. Well, you know what they say about the best laid plans, right? With a mid-flight diversion and multiple missed connections, we finally made it to Hyderabad a day later than planned and with double the number of flights! Check it out.
Be sure to check out the full video trip report RIGHT HERE!
FLIGHT #1: CHICAGO (ORD)-CHICAGO (ORD)-LONDON (LHR):
- Airline: United Airlines
- Aircraft: Boeing 767-300ER
- Registration: N665UA, a 1998 built aircraft and N657UA, a 1993 built aircraft.
- Flight distance: 862 miles and 4,045 miles
- Flight Duration: 1 hour and 52 minutes and 7 hours and 15 minutes.
- Class, seat: Polaris Business, seat 1L and Polaris Business, seat 9F
- 862nd and 863rd flights overall
Be sure to check out the full video trip report RIGHT HERE!
I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t give myself a million things to do before a trip, so after spending the night before in the hospital, seeing patients that morning and making a quick run to the gym, I finally found myself in a crowded terminal 1, checked in with boarding passes in hand.
There is however, a method to my madness, and my gym run was quite calculated as it would allow me to stuff my face….errrr….. I mean daintily sample the offerings of the Polaris lounge buffet.
My mom is a bit north of 70 but she is still a ride or die chick and the absolute best travel partner for my crazy adventures. Here she is all smiles at the start of what would be a long and aggravating trip.
And this beautiful bird, N665UA, was the 25 year old initial source of my aggravation. Quite the majestic beast. Despite the follies, I can’t stay mad at it!
I like the new livery on the 767, though I think a bit more purple would have really made the livery pop!
Things were initially looking up as we boarded on time. Unfortunately things were going to go south soon thereafter.
1A and 1L are always the best Polaris window seats, with the large foot wells that allow big-footed people like myself to effortless flip and flop through the night.
The chow on offer for tonight’s trans-Atlantic hop.
Yes, the sun does set pretty early in December but not that dang early! As you can tell from the lack of sun when we finally pushed off of the gate, a series of delays meant that we were departing about an hour behind schedule. Our two hour connection in London was down to about an hour. You can check out the full details of the follies in my trip report video here: https://youtu.be/5S_hk-ju3pE?si=SGXKBEbVgtdfeJoa
After a rather short taxi, we took off into the crisp Chicago night. A bit late but we were finally on our way……or so I thought. Soon after the beverage (and warn nut) service began, I got a message from the Flighty app that we were diverting. Two minutes later, the pilot came over the PA to confirm that due to a faulty fuel gauge indicator light, we were returning to Chicago O’Hare.
Obviously our connection from London to Hyderabad was shot. After some haggling with the agent in the Polaris club who insisted that there no other J-class options that night, we were finally rebooked on the last Chicago-London flight connecting to Air India London-Delhi and Delhi-Hyderabad (thanks to my own research).
I was happy to have a seat at all that night, but I lost my favorite 1L and ended up with 9F, smack dab in the middle.
Once again, we had a two hour connection in London and once again we experienced more than one delay leading to another late departure. By the time we finally took off, we calculated a roughly 25 minute connection time in London. The upside to the diversion, I had warm nuts twice.
I went for the vegan meal option, which was actually pretty good.
This ice cream sundae on the other hand was absolutely pathetic!!!
Stressed the eff out and already exhausted, I caught a few ZZZ’s. I was most definitely checked out!!
The dinner was descent, the breakfast not so much. None the less, I remembered the words of my grandmother echoing in my head and so, I ate every morsel because after all, “there are starving children in Africa”.
We landed in London with about 30 minutes before the scheduled departure time of our London-Delhi flight. Unfortunately, yet more shenanigans ensured. Did we make our connection to Delhi or did we spend the night in jolly old England? Check it all out RIGHT HERE!
- Experience/Total stars: 2.5 of 5 stars. Nothing special.
- Check-in: 3/5: Because of the need for document checks (Indian visa), online checkin wasn’t available. Checkin was relatively smooth overall but not all agents are able to verify documents, so there frequently is a bit of a wait for an agent who can actually complete the process.
- Lounge: 4/5: The Polaris lounge is definitely a step up from your run of the mill United Club. Add a quiet area and some massage chairs, an I’ll give you a solid 5😂.
- Boarding: 5 out of 5- Boarding was late but orderly and the flight attendants gave a nice welcome upon entering.
- Seat: 4 out of 5- The Polaris seat, in my opinion, is quite comfortable. Give me a door and a bit more padding and you get a 5.
- In-Flight Entertainment: 4 out of 5- United has a good IFE offering but it falls short of Emirate’s ICE and Qatar’s Orynx One.
- Meals: 3 of 5- The quality was average at best with middle of the road portions. The ice cream sundae however was just pathetic.
- Cabin Crew: 4 of 5- The crew were professional and courteous.
- Cabin ambiance: 3 of 5- Just average. Mood lighting and bathroom amenities would boost this rating.
- Cabin cleanliness: 5 of 5- Cabin was clean and presentable.
- Price paid and value for money: 5 of 5- 90,000 miles for Business Class to India, can’t really complain about that.
- Thumbs up: Good mileage redemption, flatbed seats.
- Thumbs down: Multiple delays on both flights, missed connections, no communicate between UA and AI, lost luggage.