Tuesday morning arrived with an excellent sleep in (the joys of being young) and being woken up by the bright sun shinning into my room. While still being half asleep I decided that it was time to get up. Outside was a beautiful Wellington day, not a cloud in sight, and to top it off….not a breath of wind, I couldn’t even hear the wind chimes, so I was happy. I threw the last final things into my suitcases, zipped them up, attached the padlocks and attached the brightly coloured straps to them. Now the fun could begin….enjoying a nice lazy few hours, and what a better way to do it then pulling a lazy boy chair outside onto the deck, throwing on some sun glasses and watching the world go bye under a nice late autumn sun. After sending many text messages and clearing and sending e-mails on the laptop, It was time to put the bags into the car boot and begin the journey to WLG, this time I managed to fit both big bags into the boot, obviously because I downgraded the biggest bag to a size less. Yip the car was fully laden at the back considering how much the back was weighed down as both bags were about 4-6kgs under the allowed weight. I don’t pack lightly on long haul trips, especially if I’m going to be spending the next 3+ months overseas, oh the joys of being able to take 2x 23kg bags to the USA. Hearing the engine of the trusty mitsi galant roar to life and the big bore growling ready for the trip was nice. Reversed quickly down the long drive way, I’m excellent at getting down the driveway in a hurry….certainly scare the family thou. Tooted and waved good bye to my nextdoor neighbour who will be moving to CHC in a few days and rumbled up the road. The drive into the airport was nice and quick, hardly a car on the motorway, which was surprising. Arrived at the airport and went directly to check-in with an instant check-in due to no one waiting in line at the International connection desks. Showed the usual documents required for USA trips, answered the usual security questions, about 10 minutes later I was handed my four boarding passes. After quickly getting bored of the check-in area I went throu to the food court, found a nice spot beside the 90 metre long window facing the tarmac and relaxed. Roughly 30 minutes later my stomach started to talk to me “hey you….yes you…..hey are you deaf…. I’m talking to you…..you know I’m really getting hungry down here” and came the annoying stomach roar. Looked over at the Wishbone counters and instantly walked over like a zombie. Grabbed a large tropical smoothie and a egg and spinach sandwich. Went back to my nice little spot and enjoyed the little snack. Watched a little training aircraft do several touch and goes and realized that it was my little brother flying it. Not long till he gets his PPL and he is only 15! Got a text message from the little sister saying mum, her and the rest of the family will be with me shortly. The flying brother shortly texted me afterwards saying he is on his way over to the terminal. Slowly made my way down to the southern gates and found a seat outside the departure gate security area. After saying goodbye to the family and managing to hold back the tears while my mum was balling her eyes out, it was time to go throu the x-ray screening and wait for my seat row to be announced.
Airline: Air New Zealand
Photo © Gabriel Savit - AirTeamImages
After on board, I noticed that –NGF had a mini make over with new seats. We departed 10 minutes late. While taxiing towards the runway and seeing my family in the windows and seeing my mum pretending to be wiping away the tears, it really hit me. About 30 minutes into the flight and till we landed at AKL it got rough. Nothing interesting happened on this flight thou. After arriving at AKL domestic we all walked directly into the middle of construction. Walked to the International terminal and did a bit of exploring but didn’t find anything interesting. Walked directly throu customs and MAF screening, and got pulled aside for a random search.. After the quick search I was off towards the gate. Waited about 30 minutes and the boarding started. Once Y+ boarding was started I was off on board. After passing thou the gate agents, I was asked by the Customs officer for a random search. It must be my good looks to warrant all these searches! After passing the test with flying colours I was on board and being directed up the stairs
Airline: Air New Zealand
Aircraft : SA)">ZK-NBV
Photo © Anders Olsen
Walking up the stairs was nice. After getting settled in, some MX guys were walking backwards and forwards from the flight deck. The pilot came on about 30 minutes latter and announced that there would be a delay due to needed to finish more unexpected paper work. The pilot keeped us well updated about the delay which is always nice. Push back was at 8.10pm. After a few minutes we were powering down the runway, take off finally came which seemed to take forever with a slow glide into the sky. About 15 minutes into the flight the US arrival cards were handed out followed by a small snack before the main meal, which was poached king prawns + fennel, curly endive mango and dill dressing. Main meal was: Confit chicken, chicken mousse, herb butter, ripened tomato and mushroom rocket risotto. Dessert was: Apple and black current doris plum tart with titoki liqueur cream.
After finishing the meal, it was time to watch the movies. I watched mostly the comody movies and two action movies. After having a little sleep I listened to a few CDs before falling asleep again.
After again waking up the FAs came around with hot towels and drinks. I had a fruit smoothie. Breakfast was fruit, cerial, yoghurt and croissants. I must have fallen asleep again cause the next thing I know, we were on final descent. Landing was smooth, and then came the long taxi. After arriving beside Terminal 2, the aircraft came to a halt and the engines were shut down. The tug was connected and we were towed into the gate. While parking I could see some police vehicles and TV crews outside terminal 1. After arriving at the Customs line and waiting only a few minutes, it was my turn to meet Mr Customs. After having a good talk and a few laughs, I was off the baggage claim. NZ6 was using two baggage belts this time, so I needed to watch both belts for my bags, after a short time I had my bags and was off the check points, after collecting my bags and handing over my I form, I was gone in 15 seconds…..NICE. I was in and out of the terminal in 20 minutes which was excellent.
After walking outside into the nice warm sun and walking up the top floor, I found out why there were police vehicles and TV crews outside Terminal 1. US pilots were striking. I then walked to the park beside the ‘In n Out’ burger bar and found a nice spot on the lawn and relaxed while snapping away at the aircraft passing over my head. Seeing the heavy’s land was wicked. The hours just went fast and 6pm arrived before I knew it, I walked back to the airport and went directly to Terminal 7 and cleared the TSA screening and started exploring. A while later a lady driving a SA)">UA golf cart came towards me and was busy yawning away. I said “wakey wakey, time to rise and shine” and she just cracked up in laughter. 30 minutes before boarding started, the gate agent arrived and came over the PA to welcome the pax, well not the welcome I was wanting, instead she announced that tonights flight to IAD was over booked and some pax needed to give up their seat. If I didn’t need to catch the flight then I would have given up my seat, cause the compensation offer was nice. Hotel room for the night, free upgrade to business class on the next day flight and free flight voucher for upto 1 year. About 10 minutes past boarding was meant to start the gate agent came over the PA with more offers $500, plus 500 millage points, and just watch the line at the gate desk grow instantly. Boarding finally started about 10 minutes later. After on board, the pilot came over the PA and announced that dispatch have ordered us to stay at the gate because the aircrafts brakes had over heated on the inbound flight from HNL and we would be delayed for a further hour. The FA then came on the PA and announced the inflight movie would start.
Airline: United Airlines
Route: LAX-IAD red eye.
Aircraft: B763. Didn’t get the rego
Finally we were allowed to depart nearly 1 hour and 30 minutes. Nothing much really happened on this flight also. Half way throu the flight there was a nice flight display from the rising sun on my side of the aircraft. I tried to get a picture, but the camera was only wanting to sleep. Flying over Washington DC was nice, especially seeing all the houses, roads and buildings. One building had four massive air con fans on its roof. We landed 15 minutes late which was nice as it meant, I would catch my connecting flight. The FAs keeped the drink service going throu the night which was nice and right up till the descent was started. Considering the big delay, the FAs handled everything very professionally, and managed to keep the pax from bitching as less as possible, as much as I could see
After exploring IAD and seeing some ugly inter-terminal busses going between the terminals, I arrived at the advertised gate, only to hear about 15 minutes that my flight was in its final stages of boarding at a gate further down, so a mad sprint started to get to the gate.
Airline: United Airlines (MESA)
Once on board I easily found my seat. A few minutes after I boarded the FA came online and said the final pax is about to board and how about giving a big clap when she boards. He pax arrived and we all clapped when she boarded. Directly afterwards the door was closed and we were on our way behind an ERJ to the runway. Those CRJs know how to move as we were going to the runway at a fast rate of speed and turning the corners quickly. We past massive areas of empty tarmac and finally we entered the runway for a rolling start. The engines roared to life and we blasted down the runway and shot into the clear blue sky. Those engines were tiny, but powerful and very quiet. The sole FA quickly came around with the meal service, and had only finished the packing up when the pilot said we were now on descent into DTW which took me by surprise as we had only been in the air for about 40 minutes. The flight was meant to take bout 1 hour and 30 minutes. We landed 30 minutes early and got to the gate in 10 minutes after another fast taxi. The pilots obviously love speed. De-boarding was quick and in no time I was meeting the people who I’m staying with before camp started. When the baggage belt roared to life, only one of my bags came out before the belt stopped. I collected the one bag and walked to the SA)">UA lost baggage area and completed the report. The agent was very nice and helpful and explained everything to me. I got my bags the next day after it ended up in HNL. If only I was accidentally sent to HNL instead.
In all both NZ and SA)">UA were wonderful and very professional. I really enjoyed my first MESA flight and had no problems with them.