Tuesday, 27 November 2012: Tallassee to Auckland

We had planned to take a cab to the airport—always a tricky business in Tallahassee but a little less chancy in the middle of the day than for an early morning pickup—but when I stopped by Biological Science to take care of last-minute items, Kasia Chodyla kindly offered to take us.

The flights from Tallahassee to Atlanta and on to Los Angeles (on Delta) were on time and uneventful, but the excitement started when we checked in for our Air New Zealand flight to Auckland. I was carrying two bags intended for checking, because we had planned to play golf in Wellington under possibly cold and windy conditions, so I had to pack a whole set of bulky clothes that I don't usually travel with. Delta cheerfully checked both bags through to New Zealand without comment, because David is a Silver Medallion frequent flyer, but in Los Angeles, Air New Zealand wouldn't let the second bag, a small carry-on-sized duffle, onto the plane until we paid a $70 dollar (!) surcharge. I couldn't choose to carry it on as my second piece instead, because it had already been checked. Rats. David made clear that I had better plan to buy a new, larger suitcase in Wellington, before our next international ANZ flight.

The flight itself was fine (all 11 hours of it), and I must say that ANZ had gone all out to promote the Hobbit theme (the premier took place in Wellington while we were over the Pacific). The airline magazine was a magnificent souvenir edition (which I bagged as a souvenir) with marvelous photography of all the characters and articles about the making of the film(s), and the safety video had been remade to feature actors from the movie, Peter Jackson, and Royd Tolkein. The narrating steward and stewardess were elves; many of the passengers were in costume, and the narration worked in quotes from the script.

The food was above average (especially the prearrival breakfast: cheese omelet with roasted tomato and tater tots, raspberry yogurt, and a fruit cup). Because of an electrical malfunction, the cabin lights never dimmed, but I did a few electonic sudoku on the gaming system and I even managed to sleep a little with the help of a neck pillow and eyeshades. David snored like a baby the whole time.

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