We wake up in Barcelona and need to immediately get ready and go to the airport. My flight was at 08h15 and I was moving slowly. I was a little maggoty (hungover) from a final night of tapas and bar hopping (visiting all the places that MS frequented when he was a student in Barcelona). It would be a long day since I was flying 700 miles the wrong direction and connecting in Frankfurt.
Carrier: Lufthansa (BCN-FRA)
In Frankfurt, I was denied access to the the first two Senator Lounges I came across. Since I was flying home on United they wanted me to spend my time in the nasty overcrowded Lounge near the United planes. I even told them I was meeting a colleague at this lounge and had no way to let him know that I would be in the other lounge. That didn’t work — but it was a good try, I thought.
My upgrade had cleared and I was assigned a seat in the first row of BusinessFirst. Luckily, my hangover was gone at this point.
Carrier: United Airlines (FRA-ORD)
The flight was full and I was in a window BusinessFirst seat. I really like having access to the aisles – I drink a ton of water on every flight I am on and need access to the lavatories without disturbing everyone around me.
This flight was very uneventful. The meal on this flight was the exact same as the flight to London a week prior. I opted for the beef dish, in lieu of the chicken and was equally disappointed – the food was bland and pretty dry – actually a little worse than normal airline food. Unlike the first flight, I did get the ice cream sundae which I found better than the cheese course.
I watched the Goonies in French and slept for a bit, then watched The Hunt For Red October (in English) and before I knew it, it was time for us to land in Chicago.
Every time I make that long walk from our arrival gate to Customs and Border Protection I kick myself for not signing up for Global Entry. This time was no different. The lines for US Passport Holders was the longest I have ever seen. It snaked through the corrals then out into the hallway leading to the arrival gates. From the time I stepped into line until I walked into the Arrival Meeting Point it took nearly 2 hours. Outrageous. I really need to sign up for Global Entry.
United offered a discount on BusinessFirst upgrades over the summer – instead of charging $550 plus 20,000 miles, they charged $440 and 16,000 miles. While my trip to Europe was totally worth the upgrade cost, the return was not. The seats were the same, but I didn’t want to sleep on the return flight. I would have been perfectly content sitting in a nice Economy Plus/Exit Row for this flight back home.
Our summer trip had come to an end. Time to get working on our next vacation.