Way to the USA

Getting a direct flight to the USA from a nearby airport is quite problematic. Also direct flights are very much more expensive.

We wanted to fly to Chicago, because we know it there. Because of the price we chose the flight from Krakow (from Olomouc it is as far as Prague), which had transfers to Helsinki and Toronto. The journey was very long and very demanding, also because of all the unexpected things we met along the way. Overall, we were about to spend 16 hours on the way, but in the end it was even worse.

Krakow

Everything was fine in Krakow. Only at check-in we found that the aircraft was already full, so because we did not buy a booked seat or at least make a reservation in advance, we should not sit with a girlfriend side by side on a flight from Helsinki to Toronto and from Toronto to Chicago.

Before the flight, book your seat through your airline website to have a seat on the aircraft next to the person you fly with.

Departure from Krakow was on time, but during the flight we took a 20-minute delay. The flight was scheduled to last 1:55, but actually lasted about 2:15.

Helsinki

In Helsinki, we had 1:20 according to original plans to switch from one plane to another. But because of the delay we only had an hour. However, the transfer was within a single terminal, albeit very long, so it was not a problem to get it done. In addition, we did not have to worry about our luggage, which was automatically switched for the next flight. There was a relatively long queue at the gate, so we had some time before we let ourselves into the plane.

From Helsinki we flew a large Airbus A300-300, where each seat had its own Entertainment System – television, remote control, headphones. But the problem was that the entertainment system did not work. Several times, the staff tried to restart and apologized for complications, but the system could not be put into operation throughout the flight. So I pulled my notebook, my girlfriend took sudoku.

My girlfriend was originally supposed to sit in another part of the plane 11 rows behind me, but I managed to get in touch with the lady sitting next to me (she traveled by herself) to change her place with my girlfriend. But a moment later, we found out that the lady did not sit in her place, but the place of another boy who wondered who was sitting in his place. Luckily, he also traveled by himself, so he took the vacant space that was supposed to be right for the lady.

The flight to Toronto from Helsinki was scheduled to last 8:45, but due to a delay caused by a storm, it took approximately 9:45.

Toronto

Just before landing at Toronto airport, the captain reported that there was a strong thunder and fog in Toronto, due to which the airport was completely closed for all arrivals and departures. And due to this weather, we will have to circle 20-30 minutes above the airport before the weather improves. Finally, we were circling about an hour above the airport. However, the delay was very worrying because we had only two hours planned for the transfer due to the delay due to the storm and the usual flight delays shortened to about 30 minutes. So I asked the flight attendants before going out of the plane, if there was a chance to do it, and said that by closing the entire airport, all flights, including departures, were delayed, so it should be okay.

However, visas must also be in Canada, so we had to go through an interview with their immigration official and pick up our large luggage again. Their official was probably a big joker because he asked us what we wanted to do in Canada, how long we wanted to be here, where we wanted to be, etc., to which I told him all the time that we were not going to Canada but that there was only a change and fly further to Chicago. This interrogation made us even more nervous, but fortunately he fell out of it and gave us a visa for half a year.

After that, we’ve already put in large check-in bags and kept going to our gate to Chicago, but then the airport staff stopped and told us that we put our suitcases into a flight London. No longer able to speak, then began to laugh that they were just kidding.

Canadians are great jokers.

After we reached our gate, we heard the interview of a guy in front of us with an airport staff, in which we heard that the plane had already left, but that it could take the flight for tomorrow morning. So we were slowly reconciled to being at the airport. But when we got there, the lady said our plane was delayed for about 1.5 hours, so we can either wait or take a flight to the next morning. Of course we wanted to wait.

We flew a small Embraer ERJ-145 and we had to put the luggage in the luggage compartment. On the airplane, we did not have to sit next to each other with our girlfriend, but we again agreed with a lady and exchanged seats.

We had a strong storm all the way to Chicago. The flight was scheduled to take 1:35.

Chicago

After leaving the plane in Chicago, we found out that we were virtually alone in this part of the airport. We did not even meet the staff. We were surprised enough because we expected a lot of clerks and immigration people, but we did not see any of them. We did not go through any official, no one told us anymore, and we were right in the US. We just picked up the luggage and left the airport.

And our friend was surprised that we had arrived at Terminal 3, which serves domestic flights, so there are no immigration officials, and for other international flights, other terminals are already in use, where there are already officials and you have to go through them.

Although the journey was very tedious and demanding, we are happy to fly over Toronto, because we have arrived at the terminal for domestic flights and we did not have to go through an immigration official who in Chicago is reported to be stricter than in New York for example.

While flying to the USA, it is advisable to fly through Canada because you are likely to avoid an immigration official.

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