Auckland to Victoria 2004

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May 21, 2004 - Auckland to Victoria

My return flight home from Auckland to Victoria, British Columbia, Canada departed at 5:55pm this evening, so I had quite a bit of time to kill in Auckland.  I had a very nice continental breakfast at the B&B.  Michael, one of the B&B's owners chatted with me while I ate, and had no problem with me staying past the usual checkout time, so that worked out well. 

I went for a couple of walks in the Westmere district. It reminded me very much of some of the older sections of my home town of Victoria in Canada.  It appears colonization and urbanization of Auckland and Victoria happened around the same time - the mid to late 1800's.   I slept and read, and had a snack before taking a taxi to Auckland Airport at 2pm (the taxi costs NZ$50).  My Qantas flight bound for Los Angeles is scheduled for departure at 5:55pm.

I went through a full security hand search at Auckland airport before I checked in at the Qantas counter.  Then I cleared New Zealand Immigration and two more security checks before I finally arrived in the gate lounge. Departure was about 25 minutes late, but the captain announced we would still arrive on time in LA. We takeoff at 6:25pm, and are served dinner about an hour into the flight (Morroccan chicken - quite good).

The Qantas cabin crew handed out a snack pack with bottled water (as they did on the trip down), but they also handed out a cloth bag with a little toothbrush & toothpaste, a blackout sleeping mask, some socks, and a sports lanyard. I watched a movie and only slept for about an hour, however I also rested for several hours, so that worked out fine. The hot breakfast served before we arrived in Los Angeles was a fritatta with ham, sausage, fresh fruit and tea - very nice.

Qantas AirlineQantas is one of those airlines who have obviously decided to not cut corners - very much appreciated from this well-satisfied customer.  I would recommend Qantas to other travelers.

We arrived in LA on time, just as the captain had promised.  What can I say about Los Angeles airport - it's controlled chaos.  I clear U.S. Immigration and Customs, re-check my bags, and then find the Alaska Airlines gate for my next leg to Seattle-Tacoma airport.  Once aboard the Alaska Airlines flight, the contrast with Qantas is obvious - no meal is offered, and the snacks are chintzy.  I'm glad I had some lunch in LA airport before departure.  My Horizon Airlines flight from Seatac to Victoria was delayed by 20 minutes while they refueled the aircraft.  Why isn't this done beforehand?  Due to some seat shuffling before takeoff, our flight ends up being 45 minutes late.

I arrived in Victoria only to find out that my main checked bag hadn't arrived.  I contacted the Horizon baggage woman and filled in a missing bag form.  I cleared Canadian Customs without a problem, once I explained that my missing bag doesn't contain any of the items I'm declaring (those items are with me).

My missing bag was delivered the following day, however my Nikon Coolpix 4500 digital camera and accessories (that were packed in it) are missing.  This is the first time I've ever lost anything or had an item stolen from my bags in all the years I've traveled.  For a description of the stolen camera, see the bottom of this page.

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