I arrived in LA this morning- exhausted, jet lagged, and ready to be off the plane. The odd thing is that I left Tuesday afternoon and arrived Tuesday morning, so my plane arrived here half a day before it departed Auckland since we crossed over the International Date Line sometime last night.
I’ve had it drilled into me from a young age to always allow plenty of time for any delay that might crop up at the airport, so when I heard about the new security measures I figured I should be sure to arrive extra early. I turns out four hours might have been slightly overboard; suffice to say after about an hour one grows very bored of duty free shops, and after two hours it becomes interminable. I’m not sure how other airports are managing, but Auckland seems to have gotten the new screenings implemented without any delays to departing flights, and with a minimal of annoyance to passengers (though seriously, if you are going take the water I bought after clearing the first security check away from me during the second security check it would be nice to warn me before I buy the water). However, I think my biggest annoyance still might be other passengers. It might be a personal pet peeve, but I find it very frustrating to be standing there, liquids and laptop out, boarding pass ready, while the person in front of me slowly removes the loose change from their pockets or searches for their boarding pass. Definitely in favor of the fast and slow security lines that some airports have.
As a general rule flying has become more of a hassle over the past decade, but not all the changes have been bad. Most long haul flights now provide passengers with personal entertainment units to watch movies and TV shows on. It sounds silly, but they really do make flights bearable, and at times almost enjoyable. Actually, after having primarily flown domestic flights the past few years, I continue to be impressed by the service on long haul flights; although it’s a sad commentary on the state of domestic flights that I am impressed when an airline provides free food and headsets for movies. However Qantas did win me over by being the first airline to provide me with the complimentary soy milk with my vegan meal.
Arriving in LA was strange; even though I still have a few days left before I reach home it still felt like an end of sorts. Combined with the nightmarishly long line for customs, construction in the airport, a never ending wait for my bag (it turns out they unload the bags in the reverse order that you checked in), and a general fear of navigating LA by public transportation, I was seriously tempted to get back on the plane and back to Auckland or Bangkok. It turns out that Santa Monica is quite easy to get to from LAX, (and the airport had Twizzlers!), so things are looking up and I’m determined to make the most of the last few days of my trip. Even though I am utterly exhausted, I’m about to go for a run on the beach. Hopefully I won’t fall asleep in the process.