Air New Zealand NZ1
NZ1 to Auckland via LA
We've flown with Air New Zealand a few times and generally found them above average - apart from a really miserable cabin crew from London to Hong Kong one time! It still amazing me how these 747's get off the ground. Even a good grounding in physics and a clear explanation of thrust and lift still isn't enough to make me think 'how does something this big get off the ground?'
US immigration questions
The flight was really empty - only around 140 people on the plane. I manage to get a good seat. A good seat if you are travelling though LAX in transit is one as close to front of the plane as possible due to the security checks and biometrics you have to go through before being let into the salubrious (!) transit lounge. The difference between the front and the back of the queue can frequently be over an hour. Luckily I arrive first in the queue and spend the usual wait for any 'homeland security' personal to appear chatting to a member of Air New Zealand staff who is having to spend 12 months living in LA - reluctantly.
Transit lounge at LAX
The lounge - a term that isn't the first one that comes to mind - is not that bad compared to the numerous LAX transit horror stories you hear about. There are some free refreshments in for form of a soda machine, some biscuits - sorry cookies - some crisps - sorry chips and some apples.... I think the latter translates OK. Fox TV seems the order of the day. There's quite a lot of room due to the empty flight. Imagine a 747 full of people in here for an hour or so and I wold imagine it quickly becomes insufferable. Anyway time flies and we're off again for another 12 hours and 10,444 km.
The drinks and the meals come and go. Interestingly - considering I turned right when getting on the place, the lamb curry was actually very good and the selection of New Zealand wine was fabulous. What wasn't fabulous was that the plane had filled up considerably and a 6 foot tall and 3 foot wide chap had occupied the free seat next to me - really nice guy but neither of us were really comfy so I found a seat elsewhere so he could stretch out a little. I carry a couple of stone too much but being only 5'6" makes economy quite bearable. You have to feel for the taller / wider than average person on such a long haul flight.
My new found home on the plane was with a chap called Graham, who left the UK forNew Zealand with his wife on a boat in 1974 and raised two young men there. Really nice guy full of wisdom and insight into all things New Zealand. We chatted for a while and put the world right before both settling down for some shut eye before arriving in Auckland.
It really is a long flight. 26 hours of travelling in one go is not my idea of fun. We came via Hong Kong for a few days back in September which was much more pleasant. People seem to have different strategies for surviving the flight. Graham tells me he frequently tries to fly with Emerites with 3 stops on the way to Auckland - one in Dubai, Singapore and Brisbane . This sounds very wise to me - comfort over speed in a world where people are in a rush to get everywhere. In reality - I think most people fly via LA because of the baggage allowance. With Air New Zealand I could take 2 check in bags up to 32 kgs each! That's a lot of stuff. From memory, going via Asia this nearly halves.
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