We arrived in Wellington 6 days ago, and so far so so good!
The flight from London to LA was very very smooth – hardly any turbulence whatsoever and the little bit we did have was really minor. The meals on the flight were good and I've got to say I would recommend Air New Zealand to anyone. They were really good. On the London to LA flight drinks and snacks were offered about half an hour after take off - very please with the huge selection of drinks. When people asked what they had the air stewards told them it would be easier to say what they didn't have! Literally tons of stuff - wine, beer, vodka, gin, rum, whisky, bacardi, coffee, tea, herbal teas, water, orange juice, apple juice, tomato juice, sprite, ginger beer, coke, diet coke......you get the idea! And throughout the flight if you ever wanted more you just had to ask. To some reading this you may be like, well duh of course that's how it is, but we had never flown long haul before and are used to Easyjet where every single thing is charged for.
Like I said, the meals were brilliant, with good vegan meals too. The only complaint I've got is that even though I had a vegan meal with the crackers I got a lump of cheese - but at least it was something I could just leave (in fact Niall ate it). Niall loved his food as well and still goes on about the lamb curry he had! We also got wine with our meal, which was a nice touch.
In terms of in flight entertainment - again can't fault it. Each seat had a little TV screen which you had individual control for. There was a choice of over 70 movies, several different TV shows, tons of music, games and other stuff I can't remember. I think both me and Niall watched a total of 5 movies during this flight.
We also got an afternoon snack/meal on this flight, which wasn't quite as good, but still much better than I'd expected. We landed in LA about 30 minutes early - so more time to enjoy the holding pen!
Now we had been told by several sources that LA would be horrible and that security was very rigid and awful and basically hell. But I have to say we were pleasantly surprised. Going through LA was pretty painless (well, as painless as it can be considering it was the equivalent to 3.30am and we had had no sleep). Contrary to what everyone had told us, the US officials were all really nice and even had a sense of humour! The guy that did my immigration bit made jokes with me - told me that I should take up modelling and how come I wasn't married and other cheesy stuff! So we sat in the holding area for ~2 hours and all the officials there were great too...really approachable and friendly. So it really really was not as bad as we had feared - definitely glad we went through LA so we could get the extra luggage allowance.
The flight from LA to Auckland was ok too but really seemed to take forever! It was more bumpy that the first flight but still quite smooth compared to what we’ve experienced before. We managed to get some sleep on this flight, but probably only about 5 hours dozing, so we’re were both absolutely shattered.
Again the food was excellent - this time the mistake they made with the vegan meal (breakfast) was to give me an oat and honey bar - as some people who claim to be vegan eat honey, I can't really be too surprised. But the rest was fine. In fact the breakfast I had was really good - tofu, mixed beans, spinach/onion/garlic thing, tomatoey thing - really really tasty and I would definitely eat it again. Can't remember what I had for my other meal though, as I pretty much woke up to eat and then went back to sleep again - the only sleep on this journey for me!
We arrived in Auckland about half an hour early and went to collect our bags (didn't have to do baggage collection in LA as it was the same plane in and out). Baggage collection took no time at all, and neither did immigration. All in all from plane landing to clearing immigration was maybe 45 mins.
We then had a short walk to the domestic transfer baggage drop off and when we got there the woman who was checking in our baggage asked us if we wanted to get and earlier flight than the one we had booked....which of course we jumped at. So instead of hanging around Auckland airport for over three hours, we transferred from the international terminal to the domestic terminal and got the our next flight pretty much immediately. Again a nice smooth flight - by this time I had done so much flying I wasn't nervous and even looked out of the window for most of the 45 min journey. I have to say Niall was still pretty nervous and made me close one of the blinds!
We landed in Wellington at 8am, collected our bags and got a shuttle straight to our hotel, arriving there at about 8.30am, so you can see how easy the baggage collection was there too. Unfortunately reception didn’t open until 9am, but luckily there was a café next door where we got a coffee (and they had soy milk!). When the apartment hotel opened they allowed us to put our bags in a cupboard at reception as our room wasn’t ready until 12 noon.
We then wandered about for a few hours, got a drink and bite to eat before heading back to the apartment. The apartment we got is great. One double bedroom, one single bedroom, bathroom, living area with TV that has sky, kitchenette containing microwave, oven, 2 ring hob and all crockery/cutlery we will need. And we have a largish balcony – which we did not expect! The apartment also has internet which is great and there's a laundry room on the next floor up. The location is amazing - just at the end of Cuba Street, which is one of the main streets lined with lovely cafes and bars and little shops.
view from one side of our balcony
view from the other side of our balcony
Ok so that is really all I have time for for now....but I really will try to do a full update on everything we have been up to later on - there's obviously quite a bit going on for us at the moment so it will be another reasonably long post.