Date: 29th July
We arrived at MCO, realizing that we were extremely late to the airport due to the previous businesses that occupied most of our day. Arrived at the long term parking at MCO at 4.00pm and thought that we might have to take later flight if there is any and was afraid that we would miss our connecting UA flight at LAX to Auckland, New Zealand. The shuttle bus picked us up promptly to terminal B, and to our surprise, the line for Delta's curbside was extremely long, and the lines at the check-in counter in the building was much longer!
It was 4.35pm when we stood in the curbside line in the humid Florida climate, and very much frustrated about not boarding the 5.05pm flight on time. Then I explained the situation to the skycap man, and if he could help, all he could do is direct me back into the line. I ask my brothers to save the spot in the line and went into the building and trying to find anyone that wears Delta's uniform to see if they could help, but they said that there is nothing that they could do but just told me to go back into the winding line! There is no time left, I thought! Very much annoyed I went back into the curbside line. Luckily there was another skycap guy, checking for IDs, and we told him the situation, he said that he would help us if we treated him, and we agreed. We are very desperate at this point!
He took our bags and our tickets and IDs including the connecting UA ticket and he told us to follow him to the check-in counter in the building. He took us in front of the line to the man sitting at the Delta's desk and asks if he can help us, but the man said that we have to wait in line and that he can't help because he was new! At this point we were very anxious and hope that this will resolve fast because the clock is ticking! The skycap man then went to the other Delta's person; he was wearing the red jacket, looks like he is very much in charge! He helped us and receive our boarding passes, and he will took care of our bags but he can only get them to LAX he cannot check them through to AKL, but that was fine with us. As we promised, we treated the skycap that saved us with 25 USD; it's what we could dig out of our pockets at the rush hour! We thanked him and rush through, into the security check, onto the monorail, and to the gate, the plane was boarding at the time, and we made it!
The flight was operated by Boeing 757, and the second door was used to board. We sat right behind first class so it was a very short walk. Also, this flight was a code-shared flight with Korean Air and China Southern.
Shortly after the plane took off I started reading my book then lean back my seat. The in flight movie was John-Q, since headsets cost 5 USD, I did not want to get it and also I have seen the movie before. We were served snack mix and drinks. I ask for Ginger Ale but did not get it. I was quite thirsty, I mean, I tried to get the flight attendant the attention but I guess he was busy. I continued to read my book and looked out of the window once in a while until we were served dinner. Drinks were served again; I told the flight attendant that I was not served a drink earlier. We both gave a courteous laugh, and he gave me a whole can of it!
The dinner was penne pasta with tomato sauce, salad with vinegarette dressing, dinner rolls, and I forgot the desert, some kind of cake. Everything was quite nice actually. A short while after the meal, coffee was offered. I occupied myself with magazines and talking with my mum most of this time, and an elderly lady who sat behind me kept on coughing continuously. Soon her cough became more severe, and the flight attendant generously offered her a bottle of water, which she refuses. Before I knew it, they had to give her oxygen to breathe on, and the flight attendant jot down a report of the account.
We landed in LAX on time at 7.00pm, got our bags and walk from T-5 to United at T-6.
We checked in at the United counter, very fast! And head to the gate. We still have about three hours. The out side is quite dark by now at around where we are at, it's quite hard to spot. We ate at this Mexican place, then walk around, into duty free shops until around after 9.00pm; they called for the passport check. They checked for our visas and stamped on our boarding passes something like, "OK TO BOARD." Made a visit to the men???s room, splashed some water on my face, felt a little refreshed before the long segment. The aircraft was a 777; we sat right behind the starboard wing. I noticed that apart from the blue seats, UA's cabins are almost all white. There are no patterns on the walls, no blue fabrics with orange stripes like before. We were given each a blanket, a pillow, and a headset but to my surprise, no wash bag. The safety instructions were demonstrated with crew standing in the aisles like the old days, there were no videos. There were no big screens on the wall up front or drop from the ceiling but only the screen in front of you, behind each seat. All the time that we taxied, I listened on my headset to channel 9, listening to the cockpit and the tower until we were airborne. I continued my book for a while, then watch the air show, seeing the little aircraft moving down the coast of California, into the Pacific. There was a few first run movies on the flight: The Time Machine, Ice Age, John-Q, and a few others that I could not remember.
We were also given menus on this flight, however, since I did not keep the menus, I cannot word it for you the exactly like they had it but can only explain from my memory what they were like. Hot towels were offered before the meal. We had a choice of pasta or beef. I chose beef, which was quite nice. It looked like beef loin tips with gravy and mashed potatoes and green beans. There was salad with Caesar dressing, dinner rolls, and a mango cheesecake. And along with all this, I had a Coke. I watched part of Ice Age and Time Machine, flipped through many channels, watch the air show, and we were a little passed the Hawaiian Islands now. Made a few stops to the restrooms. I always took note of the lavatory occupied sign, I prefer to wait in my seat instead of standing in front of it, but sometimes that is the best way to do it too! I decided to sleep, took me a while to find the comfort spot actually! Kept the air show on, so every time I woke up, I could see where we were. We went through many rough turbulence with long drops which woke many people up around the South Pacific as we approach Papeete, and every time the seat belt signs was illuminated, the announcement came on simply as, ???check seat belts!???
We were served again with a snack box, which consist of a beef and cheese sandwich, M&M???s, grapes, and something that looks like corn and green beans, which I did not have, and I asked for apple juice. I listen to music for a while, and decided to sleep again. Later we were offered water. We were awakened with the light being turned on so rapidly and off again as we approach New Zealand, the out side was still pitch dark. We were offered hot towels, which I gladly accept, and used it to wipe the sleep off my eyes. On the menu, there was a choice for breakfast of waffles or sausages, omelets and hash browns. However, the flight attendant gave me the second choice without asking, but I had intended to have the second choice anyway. There were also fresh fruits, croissants, and orange juice. Landing cards were given out, which we filled. As we descend into AKL, I listened to Channel 9 again, seems like there were no other aircraft in the area, we were clear to land. We touched down in AKL on time at 5.50am on the 31st July.
Date: 5th August
We arrived at AKL at 4.30pm. My mum???s friend, she has a position in the INS, she???s in charge of immigration at the airport, was there to greet us at the UA???s counter. Lead us to the front of the line of the Business Class check-in. The lady at the counter was Thai, and she rapidly helped us and assists us in our native language, which is Thai. The First or Business Class was quite full, she could not upgrade for all of us, but since we told her that was fine, we would rather sat together, she blocked two middle rows of economy for us, so we can just put up the arm rest and stretch our legs. She then gave us the Lounge passes. After that is done, my mum???s friend assists up the escalator where we found many shops. Instead of waiting in the lounge, we decided to walk around. When the time comes to go to the gate, mum went to pay the tax, and her friend lead us pass through the express lane to the passport check and through the security check point. The Thai lady was there waiting for us at the gate, we followed her to a separate counter and she checked our boarding passes there. We board the plane, said good-bye to my mum???s friend, and said good-bye to New Zealand. The Thai lady followed us on board seeing that we are comfortably seated and we said good-bye to her.
The 777 pushed back from the gate, safety demonstrations we demonstrated, and I read until we reached the altitude...
...Well, pretty much everything is much the same! Sorry, I???m tired of writing out all the details, you got the idea! Nothing special on those flights back home.