This is an pretty boring diary entry for anyone interested about how it is to fly around to the other site of the globe from Sweden.
The flight to London from Stockholm went well, nothing out of the ordinary on the plane.
This was my first visit in Heathrow and that airport is just massive. The bus that ferried me from terminal five to terminal one took a ten minutes through a construction site that was equally massive. Heathrow are apparently not big enough. At the terminal one I had to pass another security control before I could get the boarding passes from the nice girls at New Zealand Airlines.
Nervous as I can be at airports, I should have eaten something instead of sitting in the gate for one hour, but I’m not really that experienced on long haul flights. For me it was a ten minute walk to the gate.
The NZ0001, a Boing 777-300 is a nice plane, even if the ‘business premium’ and ‘skycouches’ seats was about twenty times more awesome than my seat. There was a good selection of movies and TV series for free. The food wasn’t to bad either, I took the chicken both times. The first was a cooked chicken with mashed potatoes, carrots and peas. For the second ‘light meal’ I choose the chicken Focaccia. They have free snacks and wine, drinks on the plane. I’m guessing it is within reasonable limits though.
After about 11 hours in the air we landed on the ‘technical stop’ at Los Angeles airport. There we had to leave the plane and get put in a not-so-awesome lounge. While we waited I had a constructive chat with an US immigrations officer. He wanted to see my passport, take a picture of me and have all my fingerprints. I’m glad I took the ESAT nevertheless, I’m still not 100% sure if it’s required, but it wasn’t worth the risk. Then I served myself a cup of very nasty coffee and a bag of Leys.
We could get onboard after a couple of hours. Almost everyone stretched like marathons runners before for the horrible 12 hours jump over the pacific. And don’t really remember much from that trip, even though the time stood still. I think I even slept a few hours and watched a lot of movies and shows.
When we landed in Auckland it was dark and rainy so I didn’t see much. There I had a chat with an immigrations officer and gave him my ‘NZ passenger arrival card’, passport and smiled for the camera. During this whole trip I was nervous about where my bag was. Last time I saw it was on Heathrow, so I was glad to see that it made it as well at the baggage belt. The short stroll through the building to the custom was lined with warnings that NZ don’t want foreign fruit in their country. The custom x-rayed all my luggage and then finally I was in New Zealand for real. I wanted to kiss someone, but that would probably render me talk to a man in uniform, so I skipped it for the time being.
What followed was instead the usual disorientation on an airport. I had to get to the domestic terminal for my trip between Auckland and Wellington. Since it was less than an hour to my flight I couldn’t check in my bag at the current terminal, so I was ushered very nicely outside to a bus (15 minutes traffic) that drove me and the bags to the domestic terminal, where I could toss the bags and go wait for the plane to Wellington.
Strangely enough the carry-on bag could weight more than seven kg, instead of ten as I thought, but no-one looked.
It was a short trip one hour trip to wellington with one of the most fluffiest cloud formation I’ve seen in my life. They looked like hard whisked cream. I wanted to eat them!
I got an excellent view over Wellington since we landed from the south. At the airport I remembered to buy an electric outlet adapter, since they usually is a bit tricky to found in a foreign city. And for the first time I actually took a cab from the airport to the hostel I stayed at. A nice lady drove the car and she gave me a really nice first impression of ”Windy Welly”.
All in all it was about 25 hours (2+10+12+1) in the air and probably somewhere around 32 hours in all.