As soon as we were off of United Airlines flight 660 and inside Chicago O’hare Concourse C, I asked the gate agent at the podium on how to get to Concourse B to catch flight 476 to Toronto. With the answer from the GA, my senior citizen parents and I rushed and then ran to catch our original flight to Toronto. It wasn’t only my parents and I who were rushing. Everyone around us seemed to also be in a mad rush to get to their next United Airlines flight. Some passengers even had to ask passengers blocking the moving walkways to stand to one side so that they could run past them and try to get to their next flight. My parents and I rushed up the stairs instead of taking the escalators leading up to Chicago O’hare Concourse B. Trying to rush to Gate B5 while at the same time trying to catch my breadth was no easy task, but we arrived at Gate B5 just as boarding for Group 1, which is the boarding group for first class/business class passengers started. We joined Group 1 line at the end of the line and once our turn came up, our boarding passes were scanned, but we got an unusual beep and the GA scanning boarding passes directed us to the podium for one of the other gate agents to fix whatever was causing the problem.
What happened according to the GA at the podium, who were talking among themselves was that our reservation had already been transferred to Air Canada and that it had to be brought back to United. BTW, the two GA’s working the podium were not very pleasant this morning for whatever reason. There was a lot of eye rolling and negative small talk between them. None of it was directed or related to me or my parents so I just ignored it. Once our boarding passes were fixed and handed back to us, I asked the GA that had performed the fix if our luggage would make it. I was given a curt, “You will find out after you board!” Whatever, I gave her couple choice words in my mind only, and went to join the end of Group 2 which was almost finished boarding. The line for Group 2 was closer than trying to go back to Group 1 line and bypass. The male GA from earlier again scanned our boarding passes, checked our passports and down the jet bridge we went to board our Boeing 737-800 aircraft.There were no traffic jams in the jet bridge on this flight unlike the earlier flight from LAX. We walked down the jet bridge and directly onto the aircraft. The first class cabin, which is sold as business class by United Airlines for international flights, was already full except for our three seats. Pre departure drink service was already going on and after we sat down, the female flight attendant, who was performing the pre departure beverage service did not bother to come over and take our orders. I’m guessing in her eyes we were late boarding so we were SOL for pre departure drink service. The first class/business class seats on this Boeing 737-800 seemed much more comfortable than the Boeing 757-300 first class seats that we endured for 4+ hours on our earlier flight from Los Angeles. There seemed to be more legroom at the bulkhead seats compared to the bulkhead row 1 seats aboard the 757 as well. Unlike the earlier Boeing 757-300 which only had BYOD entertainment, this aircraft was equipped with live DirecTV system. The screens were mounted to the bulkhead for row 1 seats and the remote controls were built into the center armrest. I saw the GA that gave me the curt: “You will find out after you board!” walking through the aircraft and considered asking about our luggage since it was no “after we boarded” but I decided to let it go. I was tired and really was not in a mood to deal with any other GA nastiness this morning. Once the GA left the aircraft, the doors were closed and we were ready for pushback. Since our aircraft had screens for DirecTV, safety demonstrations were shown as a video instead of a manual demonstration. The crew did stand in the aisle while the video demonstration was playing. I had already seen the safety video that was being played, on YouTube when it was first released so I focused on picture taking out of my window and watching the male GA who scanned our boarding passes earlier, maneuver the jet bridge away from our aircraft.
Once we got moving, I was expecting a long taxi and line for takeoff since Chicago is the hub of both American Airlines and United Airlines but we arrived at the runway and was soon on our way to Toronto. Quite frankly, I was hoping we would miss flight 476 and we would fly on the alternative Air Canada flight because, I did not know if my early checkin request at our hotel would be honored and I wanted to spend some time at the remodeled Chicago United Club. Also flying Air Canada would have given me an opportunity to fly and write a trip report about Air Canada’s product and flight instead of only for United Airlines during this trip.As soon as the flight attendants were released from their jump seats, announcements regarding service and amenities aboard todays flight were made and preparations for the morning snack service went on in the first class galley. The first class cabin was being handled by a male flight attendant who seemed to be very busy in the galley opening and closing all of the carts and service item containers. For a 1 hour flight with only drink and warmed muffin service, I wasn’t exactly sure what all of the fuss was about. If I didn’t know better, I would have thought he was preparing for a 3 course breakfast service from all of the fuss going on in the galley. Our drink orders were taken by flight attendant and delivered in real glassware on a silver platter. I chose to stick with orange juice for this flight since I was already starting to feel a little hungover from the drinks I had at the LAX United Club and aboard flight 660 earlier. Once the drink service was completed, a tray of warmed muffins were brought out for first class passengers. I misheard the flight attendant thinking it was either blueberry or cranberry muffins but it turned out to be a mix of both blueberry and cranberry. I wasn’t the only one with the hearing problem. Other passengers were choosing blueberry or cranberry when their turn with the warmed muffin came up. Refills on drinks were offered but I decided to change to just plain water. The rest of the flight to Toronto was uneventful and I tried to kill some time by playing with the DirecTV system. The response time of the remote seemed to be a little lagging and I finally gave up playing with the system. Also, wether on the ground or in the air, there really is nothing to watch on live tv anymore. Everything seems to be just pure garbage on TV. With the remaining time, I made sure I had correctly filled out the customs declaration form that was handed out earlier in the flight. The rough texture of the tray table made it difficult to write “legibly and clearly” as instructed on the customs form. Only 1 form per family is required similar to the US Customs Declaration Form. Once we landed in Toronto, taxiing to our gate was quick. Literally it was a straight line once we exited the runway. Since we were in row 1, my parents and I were the first 3 off of the aircraft and the first three from our aircraft heading to customs and immigration, but during our walk to customs, a bunch of runners from coach beat us there. Similar to US Customs and Immigration, customs and immigration in Toronto starts out at a automated kiosk where you scan your passports and then insert the customs form filled out on the plane. You are given a receipt slip which a immigration agent gives a cursory check along with your passport. After the automated kiosk and passport check, we went to collect our luggage. After the curt response from the GA in Chicago regarding our bags, we were not 100% sure if our bags made it on our flight. I saw the United Airlines Baggage Service desk next to the carousel and had my mom get our claims check out just in case none of our bags showed up. As soon as the carousel started to move, the first three bags that came out was ours! We collected the bags and went to the exit area where we handed our receipts to the custom agent who then just waived us through. Customs and immigration turned out to be one of the smoothest that I’ve ever experienced so far in any country. I’m not sure how busy it can get, but when our flight arrived, there was no line at all during the whole customs and immigration area.