New Zealand – Getting There

When we booked our trip to New Zealand (and I’m mostly using the royal We here), there were two options with Air New Zealand: a new plane out of LAX or an old plane out of SFO. Thinking that newer is better, I booked us through LAX.

I’m not so sure that was a good idea.

It turns out, the LAX airport is terrible. Like, really, really terrible. We flew out of international terminal two, which is old, crowded, noisy, and literally stinks.

Luckily, because we had a LONG layover, we’d already decided to buy our way into the Air New Zealand lounge. Best. Decision. Ever. The lounge was clean, quiet, and included free food and drinks. It’s highly recommended.

After the classy lounge, I had high hopes for Air New Zealand, but it turns out, newer isn’t always better. I can’t say for sure that the old plane would’ve been better, but the new plane was pretty awful.

Sure, it had a power outlet at every seat, a USB charger, and a giant entertainment screen.

It was also small, uncomfortable, and the seats were ridiculously crammed together because they put ten seats across in a plane that seemed designed for nine. The entertainment boxes and the supports that attached the seats to the floor were positioned right where you’d want to put your feet. The aisle armrest raised, because if it didn’t, you couldn’t get out of your seat if the person in front of you was reclined. For reals.

The touchscreen entertainment system was so bad, I stopped using the screen. A bad touchscreen is worse than no touchscreen.

I suppose if we had paid double to sit in “Premium Economy” perhaps we wouldn’t have reason to complain, but the tickets were already ridiculously expensive just for cattle class.

So, no love for the new Air New Zealand 777-300.


As we were preparing for takeoff, our flight attendants warned us that the ride “might be a little bumpy.”


In general, even with my fear of unescapable places and falling from great heights, I’ve never had a fear of planes.

I thought we were going to crash. In the middle of the ocean. At night.

It was hours and hours of the worst turbulence I’ve ever experienced in a plane. This did nothing good for my well-being or my ability to sleep.

But we survived, and we arrived battle-worn and weary into Auckland at 7:15 in the morning. We filled out the Customs form with meticulous detail. New Zealand is quite strict about what you bring in, so we declared everything, even our hiking boots that didn’t have any visible dirt on them.

We made it through without any snags, found Tracy, and started our adventure. But that’s a story for tomorrow

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