Auckland – Terminal kerb to aircraft in a mere 7 hours…
Perhaps it was my fault, maybe posting the Savage Chicken baggage claim hell toon wasn’t such a good idea. The trouble started long before LAX baggage claim, in fact before check in at Auckland!
I arrived nice and early, about 12:30, to avoid the possible Sunday afternoon rush only to find the QANTAS check in line went beyond the ziggy zaggy queue area and halfway along the departure hall. That seemed a bit strange three hours before departure. I joined the end only to be told that the check in system was down and, due to a mechanical delay, the L.A. flight check in would not start for an hour.
Time to bail out and go get a coffee & muffin, with my Mum who’d dropped me off, to fill the gap to until dinner on the plane. About an hour later the screen showed “QF25 Check in” so I headed back to the departure hall. The line was now the ziggy zaggy queue area and the entire length of the departure hall, and then some. Strange thing was it didn’t appear to be moving very much. Turns out they hadn’t started checking anyone and there would be another 20 minutes before they did.
As I was waiting the curious sight of “Est Dept Time’ changing from 15:40, !6:40, 17:40 and then 20:05 kept me entertained. When I finally got to the desk the lovely, really she was in spite of getting hassled by irate people, told me the aircraft had an fault, would not be flying anywhere today and replacement was on its way from Sydney. Although a pain, I was far happier to wait than set out on a 12-13 hour flight, nearly all over open ocean, in a broken aircraft!
As I write it’s 18:20 and there is no sign of another QANTAS plane anywhere near here apart from a 737-800 that just arrived from somewhere. I hope we aren’t going on that! Best case would be the sight of a nice new A380 touching down to collect us but I suspect we will get a recently dusted 747, with a slight mothball aroma. It will be interesting to see how they get on sorting out a connecting flight, given Thanksgiving Sunday is hardly a quiet time. More to follow…
Hello and Goodbye L.A., Viva Las Vegas!
Well, that was interesting! By the time we took off it was 21:30, so I arrived into L.A. over an hour after my connecting flight departed. QANTAS had rebooked the flight so I had to scoot, with bags, around the L.A. concourse to US Air for a flight but had a couple of hours to do that so wasn’t a panic.
The aircraft arrived, a little regional jet, and they seemed rather keen to get us on board, slowed by having to tag a lot of “cabin” baggage for storage in the hold as the overhead bins in the aircraft were rather tiny.
Once on board not a lot seemed to happen only to get an announcement that “due to traffic over Vegas and need to arrange a slot” we wouldn’t be leaving the gate for another 40 minutes. Seems the rushed departure wasn’t rushed enough!
Arrived in Vegas to a fairly empty airport, one advantage of being late, and the luggage arrived really fast. After a short shuttle trip to the Mandalay Bay, first drop off, it was a relief to check in!
I didn’t get far before meeting some AU people as Robert Bell got into the same elevator! After a long hot shower I headed down to register which was easy and very quick due to few people being there.
A first look at City Center
In an effort to stay awake, to get in sync with local time, I went for a wander down the strip past City Center. That’s not a quick exercise as it stretches from Monte Carlo to the Bellagio. This 68 acre mix of hotels, condo, casino and shopping is a huge development. The shopping and some hotels open this week so I hope to get down there on Friday before heading to the airport, for a look inside.
The leaning Aria Towers are spectacular and have a finish which changes with the lighting around the. A nearby lit fountain created rippling bands of gold light across the facade.
I headed back to the hotel to get some sleep as tomorrow is a day out to see some sights and photography.
While sitting around airports isn’t much fun it is a small price to pay for the chance to attend Autodesk University!