What to expect on an eight hour flight from Chicago to London  

I have never seen a flight so empty. Today, I am flying from Chicago to London. My flight leaves at 8:30 on a Friday morning in late September. I am heading to London and Paris for the week. 

 Boarding group 9, you may begin boarding; the gate agent calls. 

I settle into my seat. 

We fly over Montreal, and I can see the red in the trees in Canada. The windows are tinted so the bright sun doesn’t blind me. I peer out of the window occasionally, only to see the clouds. It feels like short to me. I turn on a movie, sit back, and relax before the food starts pouring in. While I can’t guarantee your flight will be as empty as this one, here are a few things you can expect from flying Economy American Airlines from Chicago to London. 

You will get two meals 

First, they serve as a beverage with biscotti cookies. Next, I get scrambled eggs with spinach and salsa, a fruit cup, swiss cheese and crackers, and a croissant with strawberry preserves. Eggs don’t seem like the best option to me, given we’re 37,000 feet in the air, but surprisingly, with the salas and spinach combined, they are delicious. Or I am just hungry. If you need more than that, you can always bring a few of your own snacks. Here are a few snacks to avoid. 

For an eight-hour flight, you can expect two meals. The first is typically a larger meal; the second could resemble a hot pocket. I usually get two snacks with drinks along with the two meals. 

You won’t go through customs before hand 

 We are six hours ahead of London, so it will be around 10:30 when we arrive. At the same time, we arrived at O’hare airport three hours before our flight prepared to go through customs. Unfortunately, there is no line for customs in Chicago, and the moment of realization sinks in. We will have to go through customs once we get to London, not before. This means we will be getting in even later than we anticipated. It will be a long night ahead of us. 

Alcoholic drinks are free on international flights 

Generally on a short domestic flight, purchasing alcohol on a flight is expensive and seemingly unnecessary. However, on an international flight, a glass of wine comes complimentary. I can’t promise it will be good wine, but they will serve you free wine on an international flight nevertheless.

You can see the ocean from 37,000 feet up 

Flying 570 miles per hour in the airplane, I look out of the window again. I see the outer-worldly ripples of the ocean below. The view is spectacular. A long part of the flight covers the sea. All I can see for hours is the peak white at the crest of the deep waves with a layer of clouds above it. The clouds look so white and puffy that I could jump on them- like jumping onto a big hotel bed. After a while, the view feels like we haven’t moved. The same ocean and clouds over and over again. Every time I look out, I can only see clouds. 

No sunset with the window tint 

The light in the window suddenly goes from bright yellow to blue. The tint on the window keeps the sunlight out. During the first movie, I was thankful for the shade, but after several hours, I started to miss the sun. It has felt like nighttime since around 11 AM this morning. My eyes begin to hurt, and I close them for a moment, but I don’t sleep. The last few hours of the trip, I wished the captain would lift the tint. Unfortunately, golden hour came and went, and I missed it. 

Entertainment – Movie & TV shows 

Flying from Chicago to London you can expect there to be individual TVs on each headrest. The past few weeks have been hectic for me. I wanted nothing more than to lay in bed, watch TV, and unwind with a glass of wine. While an airplane seat isn’t as comfortable as my bed, I feel relaxed. I watch TV, eat, and look out the window. There are outlets to charge your phone so you can watch any movies downloaded from your phone. While the selection of in-flight film is extensive, it’s not Netflix. If there is something you want to watch, download it before boarding. I sit back, relax, and watch movies while the pilot guides the aircraft across the pond. 

You might get sleepy but not be able to sleep  

My eyes droopy, and I desperately want to take a short nap. It’s hard to get comfortable on a small airplane seat. I keep my eyes open and plan on sleeping upon arrival.

Just two hours left on my flight. Flying from Chicago to London went by faster than I expected. I can’t believe the flight has flown by so quickly. It is undoubtedly much more enjoyable than my first time catching a red eye to Italy. It was crowded and uncomfortable trying to sleep overnight. 

It just felt like a lazy Saturday of watching TV, and soon enough, the sun went down, and we landed in London. 

Seated near the back of the plane, I wasn’t eager to jump out of my seat to grab my bag in the overhead compartment.