6:52pm. Pushback, two minutes down. Rather good considering they had to transfer our baggage from one plane to the other in half an hour. That's of course assuming they haven't done a Dublin on us... BTW it's Mountain time 5:52pm here, but it's not worth resetting as we'll be in LA soon enough.
7:01pm. Takeoff - a very short taxi time, nice. Airbuses still take ages to get into the air though. We're in row 1, which means Frontier don't do business class. We can hear the FAs chatting - apparently Southwest has had some embarrassing trouble from the FAA on a matter of some safety procedures, and due to airline industry politics these people are crowing about it to some extent.
9:07pm. Landed LA, early. The FA said "We're 20 minutes early, just remember that next time we're 20 minutes late"! Currently waiting for our luggage to arrive. Timezones again - it's 7:07pm. Come on bags, how long does it take?
7:15pm. We have walked past a large number of signs with airline names on them, trying to find Air NZ. But two terminals and about a kilometer later we have been successful. Now we're waiting for check-in.
8pm. Waiting for ticket check before x-ray. Rosuav reckons 45min before we get through and can relax; Midga says under half an hour.
8:18pm. We're here - Midga was right. Power, USB, all we need now is wifi.
9pm. Our gate has been announced and Midga wanders over. The nose of a 747-400 fills most of the visible space offered by a full height window. It really inspires awe - and that's going to be US in there very very soon!
10:04pm. Boarding. This bird is huge! The cabin doesn't curve away at the top like the others (even the other widebodies) which means the overhead luggage bins can easily fit even Rosuav's big backpack. Seating is 3+4+3 and we're in Row 65. And yes, they really do have a flight of stairs! The IFE looks the same as what the 777 had on the way out. This promises to be a good trip! It's great to hear NZ and Aussie accents again. Rosuav has found in-flight wifi!!!
10:33pm. Pushback. V Australia are next to us with a 777 - but I'd rather be here than there! Farewell America. Takeoff is about the same with 400t as the A320s with 70. Airbus sucks.
10:45pm. We've been throttled back and told laptops are allowed - that was quick. Where's that wifi... ARGH! It must have been on that V Oz bird beside us. :(
1:30am. Goldfinger is just as patently unrealistic as the modern Bond films. Give me Sherlock Holmes and Maxwell Smartt.
10:43am. Arrived Auckland. A very gentle landing indeed. We quite understand that someone who holds the magnificent position of 747 captain should have the skill to justify it. And another timezone change - it's now 5:43am. Queenie has been completely charming - this leg has been less tiring than any of the international legs we've taken before. And the staff are great too - there will be emails of commendation sent. One more puddle, and that the puddle Tasman, one more puddle, and that's the puddle to cross.
6:08am. We're through the x-rays and awaiting departure at the business centre we discovered last time. The staff are just as courteous as before, even acknowledging that procedures are different at every airport. A good face of NZ for any newcomers.
7:12am. Last leg. Waiting at the gate for boarding. Home very soon!
7:32am. On board - it's a 777-200ER. Practically everything is the same as before. Incidentally, it must now be the 30th - not sure when to put the day break...
7:52am. Pushback. I think we might have been timetabled for 8am, not sure though.
8:09am. Takeoff. It takes a while, we must be heavily loaded.