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Flying home


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We had a day to kill before our flight to Auckland at 2310 tonight. We checked out at 1030 and had plenty of time till our appointment with my old school friends Joanne and Jeff at a Korean restaurant in Torrance [Torrance-travel-guide-14928].

So we stopped by a Walmart along the way. Just as well we bought a big bag yesterday as there weren’t any cheap refugee/homeless bags available here for us to take our shopping back to New Zealand. Kim bought some car polish and I found some cheap Avia running shoes.

The Korean lunch (with friends) was as good as what I’m used to in Auckland. Usually my first night home is Kimchi stew (if winter), but it won’t be necessary any more. It was nice to see my old friends again.
We made our way to a nearby Ikea to look for some bathroom accessories for our upcoming bathroom renovation but that proved rather fruitless.

We thought we’d make our way back to the airport area for our last stop so we wouldn’t run into last minute traffic hassles. In that neighbourhood, we recharged ourselves at Starbucks before some last minute shopping at nearby Ross and TJ Maxx. Still more discounted goodies to be snapped up.

At around 1730 we had dinner at In-N-Out Burgers at the end of the airport runway. What an awesome spot; it was even better than the Super 8 for seeing planes overhead at nearly an arm’s reach. The burgers were good too.

We dropped Dai at the airport around 1800 for his 2130 flight. It was time to change into warmer clothes for the evening and for the flight, so we parked at our old motel to do that and also pack away our last minute purchases. Budget car rentals was handily across the road for our car return.

We shuttled to the airport getting to check-in about 4h prior to the flight. I ran into some problems checking-in at the kiosk, then at the helpdesk too. Whenever they scanned my passport, it said “Visa Required”. It appears that their staff have a dumbed-down interface on their computer and they didn’t know what the problem was.

I had to queue at another desk (more like a ticketing rather than check-in desk) and they were pretty clueless. They tried calling the NZ Immigration Helpdesk but while the call was in progress, an Asian staff member took over. All she did was corrected the order of my name and a boarding pass spat out immediately. Malaysian passports don’t split the name and surname and it is a problem for some airline systems. As American Airlines staff largely deal with domestic passengers, they didn’t have much knowledge and experience; I was lucky enough to have one person who knew what she was doing.

Once airside, we walked over to Tom Bradley international terminal and attempted to use the Korean Air lounge. While we were eligible, it was a little full and we couldn’t be admitted until nearly our flight time.

We returned to our adjacent terminal and waited till boarding time.

Posted by alexchan 17:00 Archived in USA

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