Typical Dallas summer weather was expected with scattered storms, but things were pretty peaceful for us. Checked in online, hit the Admirals Club for some coffee and water-bottle refills, then settled into exit row aisles across from each other in 15C/D. Figured if only one upgrade went through, either remaining coach seat was desirable. Neither cleared, but the bonus was the two guys in the middle seats (15B/E) got pulled up after boarding completed so we had what is largely considered the best coach has to offer: exit row seats with an open middle. Hallelujah!
Takeoff was smooth but there were bumps pretty much throughout the flight. Nothing that sat the crew down or caused anyone to have to hold their bladders, but pretty constant. For some reason, the mid-range flights like this one seem longer to me that long-haul flights. Kinda odd that I get more bored in 2 hrs than I do in 10.
Descent into Chicago was through multiple layers of clouds, and our approach took us East past the city out over the lake, then back West to land with spectacular views of the city. Weather in Chicago was supposed to be stormy for Sunday as predicted all week, but cleared up perfectly for us.
Deplaned, took the Blue Line to Monroe downtown and walked the 1.5 blocks to the Palmer House.
Decided to go for a run to pass some time before the big night. Didn't realize we were right next to Millennium Park until I headed out. Very cool! Hot and humid but such a great city for exercise; down along the waterfront toward Navy Pier, then turned back by the W Hotel and ran through the city streets on the way back.
It's interesting how cheap you can be when there are some perks. Executive lounge at the hotel meant free dinner before the show, and I get free breakfasts. The only thing we paid for were some stuff at the concert, some snacks late that night after the show, and lunch on Monday.
Every $$ I spent on our seats to see U2 @ Soldier field was worth it!!!!!! Grew up on U2 and they were a bucket list item. Getting to see them play the entire Joshua Tree album live was the epic experience of a lifetime! Chills literally ran up my spine when they started; just could not believe I was there.
We had lunch @ Lou Malnati's on State St with a guy I met at the hotel in Jakarta on a previous mileage run in December, and he insisted on driving us to ORD! Traveling is the best place to meet cool people.
AA recently changed their system as it relates to upgrades, and it broke a piece so we were not able to check in online after our upgrades cleared which meant having to do it at the ticket counter at the airport. We were already cutting it close, and the priority line was long. When I showed the line agent the printout with the error from the kiosk, she saw Executive Platinum and put us in a separate, empty line that was blocked off. Getting to skip the line was awesome, until an angry foreign traveler in the priority line actually came up to me at the counter and angrily asked why I was not in line. I was stunned that they confronted me directly, and apparently the staff were over the top mad about it because three of them intervened to get him back in line while he kept on saying "I'm in First Class!! There is a line! Why is he at the counter?!". I kept quiet; no point escalating the situation, as much as I wanted to just go "neener neener!"
Through Pre-Check, just enough time to refill water and grab some of that peanut/cranberry trail mix (my nemesis) to-go. Boarded into 3F with my wife behind me in 4F. We took off just about on time into clear skies and got a great view of ORD as we climbed out.
Flight back was smooth at first, but weather enroute was scattered, so we were picking around various bits here and there, and the seatbelt sign stayed on most of the time. Kept dozing off but enjoyed the view of passing around huge storm clouds with a view of the ground beneath us. Descent into DFW was pretty smooth, and we approached South to the East of the airport, then turned to land to the North. You get to see other planes land next to you every now and then, but usually it's a smaller/larger aircraft so they have slower/faster approaches and you're not usually in sync. But this time it was another 737 on approach and we were like mirrors. Wife had never seen it before so it was really cool to watch as both planes came in to land. Deplaned at gate A10 and were speeding home through surprisingly light rush-hour traffic.
Unforgettable trip of a lifetime!!!!!!! Can't wait to be back in the air ASAP.
Safe & happy flying to all!