2016: Chicago to Manchester, Amsterdam to Chicago

2016: Chicago to Manchester, Amsterdam to Chicago

Trip Synopsis

Business Class one way Chicago to Manchester, via New York, on Delta, Economy Class one way Amsterdam to London on KLM, London to Chicago on Virgin Atlantic for 90K Delta SkyMiles



MMB Analysis

  • Delta is the only domestic “Big Four” without a hub presence in Chicago. Flying non-stop between Chicago and Europe will have to involve Delta’s partner. I found it in Virgin Atlantic on the return trip.
  • Delta has withdrawn award chart publicly, making it difficult to plan and budget miles needed for redemption. I did not have enough SkyMiles to book round trip in business but figured it’s worthwhile to exhaust my balance on a mixed cabin itinerary.
  • It’s best to redeem SkyMiles in round trip to Europe as they charge $200+ in fees for one way Europe to the US. The fee goes down to $50 for round trip award tickets.

How will it work out today

Delta devalued Europe award chart early 2017 without warning. One way business will cost 70K.

Trip Metrics

From To Distance (Miles)
Chicago New York 741
New York Manchester 3341
Amsterdam London 231
London Chicago 3953
Total 8265

MMB Highlights

Delta One

Our outbound flight on Delta One (aka Business Class) gave us privilege to access Delta Airlines Sky Club at New York JFK airport.

The lounge compared favorably to other domestic airlines’ lounges at their hubs, including American Airlines Admiral Club at ORD, MIA, and DFW, or United Club at ORD, for example. Seats were plenty and dining area spacious.

Sky Club entrance
Sky Club entrance


I found the food and drink choices decent, too.

I particularly liked the outdoor terrace and glass window corner of the lounge for plane spotting.

In contrast, food served on trans-Atlantic Delta One was definitely underwhelming, compared to those served on Asian premier carriers. Mustard-Crusted Tuna fell on the dry side, so was the lamb chop.

Tumi amenity box was provided on the flight.

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