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06:00

The alarm’s gone off and we’re rising, bleary eyed from bed. Why is it that you so often have a lousy nights sleep when you’re about to embark on a long trip? Nerves, excitement? I’ve been doing this for decades but it still happens. Then one disturbs the other and you’re both tossing and turning! Add in a surreal dream too – at one point I woke up and thought “hang on, I’ll get arrested when I land in the USA!” After a moment thinking “where the hell did that idea come from?” I realised this was tied in to a scenario in a previous dream! I wouldn’t mind, but I’ve not eaten any cheese (renowned for triggering dreams) this Christmas.

Right now, I need coffee – and a shower – in that order!

08:29.

We’re being chauffeur driven to Heathrow T2 by Darren, Dawn’s brother. Mercifully, the roads ate quiet due to the Christmas shutdown.

10:04.

We’re through check-in, security (which was efficient and surprisingly painless) have stocked up on a few bits and now we’re enjoying a bacon and egg muffin washed down with more coffee. Terminal 2 is remarkably quiet compared to how I’ve seen it so it’s quite relaxed.

From here we’re off to Chicago aboard a United Airlines Boeing 767, Then to Auckland aboard an Air New Zealand Boeing 787-900 ‘Dreamliner’ which I’m looking forward to as I’ve never flown on one before.

Whilst hanging around in airport lounges is great for people watching it’s a waste of a few hours that could have been spent sleeping, or doing something more productive. It’s my great complaint about modern air travel. By the time we take off at 12:05 we’ll have been up for 6 hours.

11:16.

Our chariot awaits…

Right, where’s the wine?

11:42.

Boarding’s complete and we’ll be in the air for the next 9 hours, so we’ll see you on the other side of the pond this evening!

15:04 (Chicago time) 21:04 (UK time).

We’ve just landed at Chicago O’Hare. The temperatures a chilly -4 and snow’s forecast but as we won’t be leaving terminal 5 we’re not too bothered.

This hasn’t been a bad flight 3,254 miles in under 9 hours. There’s plenty of legroom on these 767s but the seat pitch is poor. You can’t recline far to get some decent sleep.

The food was pretty good. Due to her allergies Dawn ordered the vegan menu, which produced a very acceptable curry!

The salad accompanyment was just as tasty.

22:58 UK. 16:58 Chicago time.

Getting through Chicago O’ Hare’s a bit of a faff. This is the first transit flight I’ve been on where you have to collect your baggage to go through customs before dropping it off again. At least we already had our ESTA’s after being in New York in May. Even so, it’s quite a bureaucratic process. Now we’ve made it through to T5 departures. I must admit to being a little disappointed by the airport. Considering T5 is the international terminal, it’s not a patch on many. We’re both dog-tired at this stage and desperately hoping we can get some decent sleep on the next flight.