Boeing 777 at O'Hare
Home is always nice to visit but I could never live there; forty-one years of bouncing around the world does that to a person. A two-month visit was long enough. I picked up a one-way rental car at the Escanaba Airport in Upper Michigan and cruised down the shoreline crossing into Wisconsin at Marinette then continuing south through Green Bay and Milwaukee to Chicago - about 350 miles. After a night with relatives, I turned the Chevy Malibu in at O'Hare Airport and rode a National/Alamo shuttle bus to the United Airlines check-in counter.
Early check-in usually guaranteed a seating choice but not with United; seating was assigned at the boarding gate. It was their way of milking extra dollars from customers who wanted to avoid a middle seat or wanted extra leg-room. Fortunately my issued seat was an aisle one so maybe the early check-in did pay off. Regardless, on future travels out of the U.S. I will only book on foreign air carriers that offer seating and meal preferences.