EUROPE 2016

Overview and Flight

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The crew: Jeanine and I, Gary and Lynn, Paula, Janelle, and Marcia.

Itinerary Janelle and Marcia also flew Icelandar, but from Minneapolis/St. Paul meeting us in Iceland for the Iceland to Heathrow segments. Gary and Lynn flew from Pittsburgh and Paula from Charlotte, meeting in Newark for the United flight to London.
Kevin and his crew joined us for the train ride to Chicago and then spend two days there seeing the sights.
After hanging out at the Metropolitan Lounge in Chicago's Union Station, we took the ?? Milwaukee West Metra from Union Station Franklin Park. We called the O'hare Inn and Suites and the shuttle arrived promptly. We walked a few blocks to the small Sorento?? Restaurant. I forgot what I had; but Jeanine thought the eggplant parmesian was very good.
The hotel allowed us an extra hour in the room until noon. But that wasn't nearly enough because a check of Icelandair's website showed that the estimated departure would be 9:30PM, rather than the scheduled 7:30. But we decided to head for the airport since we had been sitting in the hotel lobby for several hours. The check in lady said (lied?) that the departure would be delayed a few minutes. Later a more knowledgeable employee admitted it would be 3 1/2 late because of a late arriving aircraft. Further, he said that all Icelandair flights to North America were delayed because of a computer outage over the North Atlantic, and that 9 connecting flights, including ours, would be held in Reykjavic, Iceland. So we relaxed a little even though we had only 1 hour to connect; and our plane was 3:45 late departing Chicago.

But the adventure wasn't over. When we arrived at the Keflavik Airport, there were no agents at the gate to tell arriving passengers where to go; and as we followed the "arrival" sign and crowd into the center of the terminal, I couldn't see any flight status board indicating where our flight would depart or had departed from. Finally, I saw a service desk and was given a gate number and directed which way to go. That lead to the passport control queue, which fortunately moved along well (I suppose since passenger are transferring from many NA origins to many European destinations and vice versa, they can't sterilize the connecting passengers. When we got to our gate, it was deserted and locked. The only other employees in that concourse were cleaning staff, and of course knew nothing. Fortunately, Jeanine had the chutzpah to press the button marked "emergency only"; and miraculously the door opened. When we got to the plane and I complained, the attendants gave us a dumb look. Soon an announcement was made that we were waiting for a few more passengers and their luggage. I don't know how they got in.

I was very surprised when we arrived in London only 2 hours late at 1:45PM London time.
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