Okay, really, this is the LAST of the Tokyo trip series. Swearsies realisies, you guys.
Rather than doing separate reviews for our flight and hotel the night we stayed in Chicago, I thought it would probably be more reasonable to just combine them into one since we didn’t really do anything except huddle indoors, away from the arctic winds that are a fact of life in Chicago in February.
Traveling in or out of Rochester Jan – March (and sometimes April) is incredibly tricky, even without COVID-19 looming around us. The weather is temperamental at best and we’re prone to bouts of what I would refer to as “Snow Tantrums” where the clouds just open up and destroy us with snow. Then 3 days later it’s 65 degrees and sunny…thanks, climate change?
That’s my little background schpiel to let you know why we booked an overnight stay in Chicago, IL before flying to Tokyo. I’m rarely the one in our marriage who would be considered the diligent planner, but I knew that international flights in the middle of a February winter could be the one big obstacle that would ruin our whole trip. So I worked a little magic and got us some swanky accommodations for our 16 hours in Chicago.
Delta Rochester to O’Hare First Class Review
First, I think the most adorable thing in the world is that our teeny tiny airport is labeled an “International” airport. We have two terminals and maybe 20 gates? I think ROC is listed as international solely because we’re so close to Canada. And consequently, fly often from here to Toronto.
But I digress. We booked the first leg of our anniversary trip using Delta Skymiles and strategically timed upgrades. I say “strategic” because in my experience if you don’t have status but book your trip in steps (AKA booking tickets in economy/comfort+ and then upgrading the closer it gets it to the trip) seems to offer better deals than doing it all at once. But my evidence is only anecdotal so take it with a grain of salt.
The trip took us from Rochester to Detroit with a layover, then Detroit to O’Hare. Normally, I would’ve booked via United since they actually DO have direct flights to Chicago. But there was a reason for my multiple legs:
Our layover in Detroit was a few hours. Which meant we could utilize one of the Delta Sky Clubs and get some lunch for free. Our American Express Platinum card gives us access to Sky Clubs but with a caveat: you need to have a Delta ticket for a flight departing that airport on the same day. This means that we wouldn’t be able to go to the Sky Clubs at O’Hare since that was our final destination that day. And damn it, we want free food (especially since we’d have to pay for it once we got to the hotel). So it worked to our advantage that we had a few hours to kill.
Delta First Class is probably my favorite of the fancy-schmancy domestic cabins, but to be honest, they’re all fine. While waiting for take-off I usually order a mimosa (and all the Flight Attendants I’ve encountered have a heavy pour!) and absolutely recommend them. Mimosas have become a First Class tradition for me, maybe because we don’t have unlimited mimosa brunches here 🙁
Delta’s First Class seats are fairly comfy and have excellent legroom.
I base my review of “excellent” based on if Steve can comfortably fit his 6’ 2” frame in them. And he never seems to have much of an issue.
As an aside, most First Class cabins we’ve flown in usually mean that Flight Attendants will come around with hot towels before or right after take-off. If you’ve encountered this…doesn’t it make you feel like Adam Sandler in The Wedding Singer when he’s given one his first time in First Class? I still never know what to do with them other than awkwardly rub them on my hands.
On the way back from our trip, we took Delta again. But this time went O’Hare – La Guardia – Rochester and got to experience the new Delta wing of LGA with their new Sky Clubs. I didn’t think to take any pictures because we were so jet-lagged (and it was 11:30 pm our time). But they are definitely an upgrade from any of the other Sky Clubs we’ve been in so far.
Marriott Suites O’Hare Review
For our overnight in Chicago, we booked a suite in the Marriott Suites hotel that was close to O’Hare. (Again, not taking any chances and missing our Tokyo flight!) Marriott Suites has a free shuttle to and from the airport. Though I’ll warn you: Marriott has, like, 7 different hotels that service O’Hare and each of them has their own shuttle. So pay attention to which one you’ll need. For the record, the Marriott Suites O’Hare is a maroon-colored van.
We have a Marriott Bonvoy American Express card which I really keep because of the free night award we get each year and the 15-night credits which gives us a boost towards reaching Platinum status with them (we’re Gold members thanks to the Amex Platinum, though Gold doesn’t really do as much as it used to). I ended up using that award ticket to book our overnight stay here. So it was for all intents and purposes “free.”
We had a King Suite which included a living room space, kitchenette, and desk in one room. And a separate bedroom in its own room. The bed was quite lovely and fluffy. We had no real issues with our stay with the exception that our TV was unplugged and wouldn’t seem to work. Not until someone from their Engineering team came to fix the connections. I will say, however, that they took care of our issue incredibly quickly and were very accommodating.
Marriott Suites O’Hare had a restaurant attached and another restaurant nearby. But we opted to just get Uber Eats and veg in our room in anticipation of the long flight ahead of us the next day. There are also a few cheaper restaurants and a convenience store within walking distance. So you won’t need to blow your budget due to being somewhat secluded from Downtown Chicago.
In the morning, the Concierge had set out a coffee and tea station that was complimentary. It was a nice way to pass the time while we waited for the shuttle to take us back. And then we were off to begin our super swanky trip on ANA.