I made it! I’m in Auckland and getting here was long and exhausting.
We flew American Airlines to LAX and took the same plane to Auckland. It surprised me that there were 19 people on stand by for this flight and they were all able to get in. The thing that I didn’t like about it is that they were all put in the cabin plus section of the plane. The empty seats next to me were all taken. So why do people pay for extra room when the stand by people get the good seats.
I have to admit though that I was impressed with the plane. The seats were a bit narrow but had a big screen with lots of choice compared to United, which now has a tiny screen and no choice. The flight attendants were professional but not very friendly. (I gave them a box of chocolates, not one came to thank me. On United everyone came by to thank me personally on my trip to Paris earlier this month.)
They served dinner shortly after take off. My couscous salad with roasted chicken was delicious. Then halfway through the flight they served a calzone and gelato. Finally before landing we had breakfast with a choice of fruit or scrambled eggs and both had yogurt. Not the usual crappy croissant. We ate very well and were given plenty of food. There were also snacks and drinks available in the galley if you needed something else.
This was my first trip west and I was afraid of how long the flight was but I have to agree with my son, it really is not any worse than going to Europe. I guess anything over 8 hours is just the same. I will give American a try to Europe because this flight was actually pretty good.
New Zealand takes their island environment very seriously. So the immigration card asks several questions regarding what you are bringing into the country. I had brought some snacks and I had to declare them. They were all okay. They are mainly worried about fresh fruit and seeds. They also inspect all outdoor equipment, including hiking boots. Mine had the bottom washed. They had some soil stuck in the grooves.
Be sure to declare everything you bring into the country. They were super friendly and will help you.
You get an electronic visa when you enter the country. The machines are a bit slow so don’t hit the screen twice or it might respond to the next question like it happened to me and you will have to talk to one of the agents. But people here are so friendly that I didn’t mind it.
Can’t wait to see the rest of the country.