This is my very first report which I hope you all enjoy.
Last August I spent 1 week in the States and two weeks in the UK courtesy of a travel agent friend who got ma a $400 return fare from Sydney to London on the Pride of the Pacific: Air New Zealand. I flew NZ14 and slept pretty much most of the way.. We arrived two hours late into LAX and we parked in one of those remote bays and were bussed to the Immigration area which was pretty quiet at 9am. I then walked to the Delta terminal to catch the 11.40am flight to Atlanta. Check in was fairly straight forward and I boarded a 767-300 seat 42A. After take off the f/a asked me whether I would like to like to move to the front of Coach as someone wanted to watch the movie. I said sure as I hate those US headsets and the movie looked terrible. The biz lunch was delicious and the f/a was really nice and gave me free drinks. While the plane was clean, it did not have the spit and polish of ANZ and QF. After four and a half hours we arrived in Atlanta's massive airport .... though it's starting to look its age.
My return four days later was dramatic to say the least. The night before my departure i realised I had lost/misplaced my domestic ticket. However my host (a FF) assured me it would not be a problem - how wrong he was. I got to ATL at 9.15 in time for the 10.15am flight to LAX. I got to the ticket agent, told her my story and she went white. Yes, my booking was in the system but as I had purchased the ticket in Australia
I would need to ring the travel agent and get all the ticket numbers before they could reissue a replacement. I then went to use the pay phone to call Aust and guess what? They would not accept Visa. By this stage, i might add, the plane was due to leave in 30 mins and I was having a mini breakdown as I had a connection at LAX to LHR. Also there was no way I could afford the $1000 one way fare to LAX (that would be roughly $1800 Aust). I then noticed the ticket agent walking around the concourse obvioulsy looking for me. We raced back to her station and she said "Don't worry I know you are geninue. I could get fired for this but i m leaving in April'. I paid the $75 replacement fee. She punched in some fake numbers and gave me new ticket and boarding card and said 'Run straight to the gate'. I ran like it was the marathon and got to the gate as the flight was boarding. By the way I wrote to Delta to personally thank the ticket agent concerned. I got a really nice reply.
Well, a very stressed me boarded 767-300 and seat 42A. The plane was half empty and we took off on time. I had two stiff drinks to calm my rattled nerves. Lunch was atrocious. It was uneatable and reminded me of dog food. I didn't bother with the IFE though I was amused to read in the in-flight magazine that they have a Christian music station!!!!! Imagine that on BA, QF or ANZ!!!!!!!
The flight arrived at LAX on time but there was slight delay as our gate was occupied. That was okay as my flight to LHR wasn't leaving until 4.30pm.Collected my luggage and decided to stroll round to Terminal 2 via the International Terminal. It was a beautiful day and there was a plethora of airlines and aircraft everywhere. A QANTAS 767-400 was sitting at its gate glistening in the Californian sunshine. It must have been QF107 the daytime LAX SYD flight.I walked through the Int Terminal to so dome shopping but it was pretty woeful so i continued on to Terminal 2.
I checked in for NZ2. The staff were checking in pax manually and no one seemed to have a clue what they were doing!!!!. I was allocated 56G which was directly behind me travelling companions. I met my travelling pals and went and had a few drinks in the bar. I must say Terminal 2 is pretty shabby looking though the views of the runway are spectacular.
We boarded on time but it was mayhem at the back of the a/c. The manual loading had turned into a fiasco. Paxs were milling at the back without seats clutching boarding cards. The f/a looked very stressed and the flight hadn't even left. The ground crew didn't seem to know what they were doing. The ground supervisor ( a real harriden) got into an argument with a sweet F/A about a family of 4 she wanted to seat separately (they had 2 children under the ages of 5). In a loud voice she told the f/a 'Who's running this show? Me or you?' A very unprofessional approach in my opinion.
After an hour of this the Captain came on and said 'Apologies for this total debacle.If this is what will happen before the Olympics god help us all'. After 10 mins we began taxiing. I asked the F/A if I could sit with my friend as the aisle seat was free. She said no worries but wait until we are in the air.
We has a short taxi to the end of the runway and pretty much took off straight away, much to everyones relief. Once the seat belt sigh went off I moved to 55D. The bar service commenced and I had two really nice f/A in my section. They had a good moan about the mess up at LAX and aplogised and gave me 2 drinks. It was a really nice flight over, I mostly read and talked with my friends and the other passengers. A few hours after dinner I went to the galley and chatted with the F/As. They told me they fly to LAX every 6 days and they're all based in London. Breakfast was the usual omellette with sausages...it was okay. We soon after began our descent into the UK. We were placed in a holding pattern and circled Southern England
about 4 times (I think). It was a beautiful day and England looked sublime. We wre finally given the okay to land at Heathrow and landed from the Southern end.
Immigration took forever as 4 other 747's landed ast pretty much the same time as ours. It took nearly an hour and a half to get through. We landed at 10am and I got to the Tube Station at 11.30. I still had another 2 hour trip in front of me but that is another story.
Air NZ were great. IFE was great though I believe they are getting PTV this. I thought the crew were excellant. The only downside was LAX which reflected really badly on them.
I had a great holiday and my next report will be the return on NZ1 and NZ15.
Hope you enjyed reading this.
Aircraft flown:F27,Viscount. EMB120, SAAB340, ATR70, 737-200.737-300,DC8, DC10,747-100,747-200,747-300,747-400, A320, A3