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Published: August 21st 2018
Today was the end of our Chicago trip schedule. We said goodbye to Caroline along with Al and Sandy who were giving her a lift to Detroit where Caroline would visit a friend. (So much for Don's original idea of booking British Airways so that the three of us could fly together via London.) Likewise we thanked Mike and Rob for their part in the Chicago shindig, while looking forward to seeing them again in a couple of months at the wedding party of their daughter Katie.
We packed our bags, stowed them with the hotel concierge, and stepped out to eat at one of the few kosher places (all open only for lunch) in central Chicago.
The first leg of our homebound flight pair was due to depart Chicago at 6pm and land at 6:45am Tuesday in London where we would make a tight change onto the 8am flight to Tel Aviv. We got to the airport about 3:30 in the afternoon, figuring it is best to checkin early and just relax in the lounge until the plane is ready. However we found pandemonium at the checkin desk. The inbound flight from London to Chicago was already tracking over 2 hours late and the BA ground staff knew it would be impossible for that aircraft to return to London overnight in time for most onward passenger connections. They were trying desperately to rebook individuals and groups onto other flights and eventually get them to their destinations.
When we understood the situation, we made a suggestion. Instead of trying to fly us from Chicago tonight, put us on a flight from Newark to Tel Aviv via London in two days time. The clerk was surprised but quickly acceded to our request without any charge for the difference. She did make it clear we would have to get from Chicago to Newark on our own, which we knew and didn't think would be a problem.
We left the BA desk to book seats on any carrier which would get us into the general New York City / northern New Jersey area. Unfortunately there was bad weather around New York and some flights had been cancelled. Others were full or ridiculously expensive.for the short hop. Eventually we booked early morning flights on American Airlines to Laguardia airport which would get us to north Jersey in time for the funeral. Likewise we reserved a Hertz rental car from Laguardia with return drop-off at Newark airport.
Here we were at big busy Chicago O'Hare International airport, with our bags and an early morning upcoming flight. We were certainly not heading back into the city! So we took a room at the Hilton on-property hotel at the airport. (Travel tip: try to avoid booking something like the Hilton O'Hare at the last minute, when reserving ahead is always far less expensive! But in this case ...)
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