Tips on surviving NZ2

Old Dec 12, 17, 3:47 am
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Tips on surviving NZ2

Other half and I will be transiting on LAX en route to LHR on Thursday. I know sbiddle has posted some good first hand experiences, any other (recent) expert FT tips would be appreciated to survive this ordeal?

I somehow doubt will have time to get into the lounge but it could be a quiet period considering people are yet to finish off activities for the year.
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Old Dec 12, 17, 6:44 am
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Ordeal depends on class of travel. In BP it is fine, you'll have slept AKL-LAX, be fairly fresh at LAX, off the plane early, just go to the immigration queue for processing then be directed to the transit desk before re-entering the terminal for priority security and into the lounge for a shower (which always is a good idea. If you can take a change of some clothes, such as underwear, shirt, it can help a lot too). PE will be tolerable, but the queue will be longer. Still given, usually, a majority of NZ2 passengers aren't flying on to LHR on the same flight, you should have enough time to get through to the lounge. Elite status will get you access to the priority security queue too. In economy it IS an ordeal, and depending on queues you may not have much time in the lounge when through.

Once you get to the lounge, just ask when NZ2 boarding is expected to be announced, as you'll then know what time you may have to shower etc before having to go to the gate. It's up to you if you like boarding early or not, but if in economy you may want to board early if you want to ensure overhead bin space above your seat for hand luggage.

Basic procedure is:
- Exit aircraft, get handed transit card and directed to immigration.
- Undertake electronic processing of entry with your passport to verify your ESTA.
- Queue for checking with immigration official
- Directed to separate check for transit passengers for NZ2 to re-enter departure concourse landside
- Go upstairs to security (use priority if class of travel or status allows)
- Enter departures airside, with option to go in lift to Star Alliance lounge.
- Remain in lounge until flight called to go to gate (or go earlier at your leisure).
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Old Dec 12, 17, 12:51 pm
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The single biggest issue is that you can't control the queues at CBP or security screening. If it's a bad day there won't be time for a shower.

Queues for security screening depend on whether it's a day where they're using full body scanners for all passengers and doing shoe/belt removal as well as LAGs out of bags. Strike a day when they're using regular metal detectors with no shoe/belt removal and the queues move incredibly quickly.

On my last trip back from LHR in July there was no priority queue for transit passengers, but that was on a day where they weren't using full body scanners or enforcing show/belt removal so maybe with the fast moving queues they decided there was no need.
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Old Dec 12, 17, 2:39 pm
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The last two times Ive been through the key was to ensure every official knows you're to the line with a connection, especially at the security line when you reach the top of the stairs pre security. Just show the transit card and insist they take you to the front of the queue. A load to BP guys just followed the flow and got stuck behind a couple of hundred peeps. Also make a bee line for the showers and get in that queue before anything else!
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Old Dec 12, 17, 3:29 pm
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Originally Posted by hodi View Post
The last two times Ive been through the key was to ensure every official knows you're to the line with a connection, especially at the security line when you reach the top of the stairs pre security. Just show the transit card and insist they take you to the front of the queue. A load to BP guys just followed the flow and got stuck behind a couple of hundred peeps. Also make a bee line for the showers and get in that queue before anything else!
Except everybody in the transit line is a connection. Why should you get priority over any other transit customer? I've been in that line on a number of occasions where DYKWIA type people exclaiming "but I've got a connection with X airline and need to get through" have been given a huge smack down by TSA staff and basically told they have no priority over any other customer in the transit queue. Airlines know that this is the choke point, and I have seen ground staff approach the transit line screening in the past and get TSA staff to prioritise customers.

NZ1 and NZ2 have had numerous delays particularly this year due to the time it takes to clear CBP and TSA screening. All my transits through LAX on NZ1 or NZ2 have been 60-70 mins from plane to clearing security to be airside - and when it's takes 70 mins as a BP customer who's already visited the US multiple times (so I don't get the dreaded X on the kiosk) that's safely another 20 mins minimum for those at the back of the plane.
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Old Dec 12, 17, 3:42 pm
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Yeah yeah thats not what I mean, more making sure you get put into the transit short line vs the normal one as when Ive been through the chap has had to open the barrier vs going to non transiting.
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Old Dec 15, 17, 6:14 am
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Sitting in BA lounge now onwards to domestic.

In summary just avoid LAX on NZ1 and NZ2 if you are not travelling J. Just stop and think about what you are getting yourself into.

But for those who are still going ahead with this silly idea - Look above as others mentioned, the steps are pretty much as listed, plenty of signs and NZ transit signs to follow. you can't go wrong. Turns out the problems are not really TSA staff or CBP but purely the incompetence of passengers, either through exception (unavoidable delays) or in front of the line from you (i.e. no idea how to clear immigration or security screening).

There was also an incoming Korean Air flight which looked like they were also transiting. We decided to skip the transit queue altogether and proceeded to the opposite end of as you exit CBP with fast track to get back into airside. This is probably the biggest issue with such a large airport where transit passengers end up landslide momentarily to get back to airside.


Flight was delayed disembarkation due to medical incident meant we had to sit around until the flight was clear to leave. All in all the transit process took over 90 minutes (accounting for delays that are not queue related) which left 5 minutes remaining re-clearing screening before the re-boarding announcement came. We spent about 25+ minutes in queues as being first off the plane, I can only imagine what it would have been like being last out. If you have delays/incidents beyond the arrival/departure times, this is an impossible ask for the average passenger.

My best advice for those planning this is to just stop in LA for a few more hours/days so you can go enjoy the financial, commercial and cultural sights and make the time worthwhile.

Thanks to all that contributed to this discussion above.

Last edited by dadig; Dec 15, 17 at 12:05 pm
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Old Dec 15, 17, 9:47 am
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There is a reason I only recommend NZ6 -> NZ2 and NZ1 -> NZ5 as it reduces stress levels by about 90%
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Old Sep 11, 19, 9:51 am
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Not so bad

Just done the LAX transfer on a Sunday afternoon (US time). Got off the plane and got my transit card. I to the queue for the CBP machines. This was a steady queue. Entered details on the machine and got a big x on my receipt. Into the big slow queue. My advice is keep your ears open. I heard someone calling out for LX2 transit passengers. Hand up and pulled from the queue and straight to the head of the line. Processed very swiftly and handed in transit card. Through the terminal into security screening. Took about 20 mins. About 70 mins in total ~ but only as I was pulled from the line. Got into the lounge, got a buzzer for the showers and a quick bite of food. Flight called and took the buzzer back. Guy tidying the showers said I could use a recently vacated shower if I wanted. Very quick but wonderful shower, change of clothes and 5 minute walk to the gate. Still plenty of time. Not as bad as I thought and would be OK to do again
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Old Sep 12, 19, 2:25 am
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Originally Posted by Lenghy View Post
Just done the LAX transfer on a Sunday afternoon (US time). Got off the plane and got my transit card. I to the queue for the CBP machines. This was a steady queue. Entered details on the machine and got a big x on my receipt. Into the big slow queue. My advice is keep your ears open. I heard someone calling out for LX2 transit passengers. Hand up and pulled from the queue and straight to the head of the line. Processed very swiftly and handed in transit card. Through the terminal into security screening. Took about 20 mins. About 70 mins in total ~ but only as I was pulled from the line. Got into the lounge, got a buzzer for the showers and a quick bite of food. Flight called and took the buzzer back. Guy tidying the showers said I could use a recently vacated shower if I wanted. Very quick but wonderful shower, change of clothes and 5 minute walk to the gate. Still plenty of time. Not as bad as I thought and would be OK to do again
Just wondering - would you be Ok to do it again if you weren't pulled from the queue?

I like sbiddle's advice re NZ6 -> NZ2 and NZ1 -> NZ5 and have given it to a few people, who were grateful.
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Old Sep 12, 19, 3:08 am
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I took sbiddleís advice and am currently on board NZ6 (delayed 30 minutes at AKL with no explanation offered), before transiting at LAX onto NZ2. Iíll post an update on my LAX experience once I get to the Star Alliance lounge there.

As an aside, there was a sign at the bottom of the escalator to the Koru Lounge in AKL saying high demand meant members only and no vouchers. I was in the lounge from about 5.30pm to 7.30pm and thought it was relatively quiet - in the TV lounge there were never more than 10 people and sometimes only about 4-6. Maybe crowds were expected later?

As another aside, the secondary screening at the gate was a big non-issue. The queue was no more than 1-2 minutes as there looked to be perhaps 5-6 agents talking to passengers. I was asked if I was travelling alone, how many bags I had, whether I knew their contents, and whether I had left my bag unattended. There was no check of my carry on bag or request to see my itinerary or devices. Iíd say the whole thing took about 1 minute.

Last edited by gratn; Sep 12, 19 at 4:17 am
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Old Sep 12, 19, 11:38 am
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Originally Posted by jeffrocowboy View Post
Just wondering - would you be Ok to do it again if you weren't pulled from the queue?

I like sbiddle's advice re NZ6 -> NZ2 and NZ1 -> NZ5 and have given it to a few people, who were grateful.
Yes. I was travelling alone. I was expecting much worse. If I was with kids I would think twice
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Old Sep 12, 19, 1:10 pm
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Question if you are doing 1 -> 5 will they hold 5 for pax trying to transit? As last time I came back from LAX, 5 left only 15 min behind 1 & 5 had a remote so were both boarding at same time. So most of the 50 min got eaten up. From what I understand from some on 1 that night it was for people getting through the process. 1 did arrive on time.

With 6->2 6 arrives 2.15 ahead of 2 so a bigger difference. So 6 would be much later to have the same issue. If 6 is running late will they give people on 6 transit cards?
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Old Sep 12, 19, 4:53 pm
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Hi all

My lesson from today is YMMV.

NZ6 touched down at LAX at 1pm, which was on time for its amended arrival. We taxied to a remote stand and disembarked at 1.20pm.

By 1.30pm we entered border control. The lines for the machines and ESTA passengers were well sign posted and moved quickly.

By 1.40pm I joined the second queue for an agent. I had the X on my machine ticket, presumably as I havenít been in the States since my current passport was issued. This queue was very, very long. I listened for any mention of transit passengers, and asked each staff member I saw, but all said I was in the right queue. 😢 All up this queue took nearly 70 minutes so it was around 2.45pm when I got to baggage claim. Staff were unloading bags and piling them besides the belts, presumably because we were taking so long and they wanted the belts for another flight.

After getting my bag there was a quick final queue to get to the exit. I followed the sign for baggage transfer which was easy. Re-checking my bag took 2 minutes.

From there, I exited landslide and took an elevator up to the departures level for the usual security screening queue. This wasnít too bad, so I was done in about 10-15 minutes.

All told, I wasnít in the terminal until after 3pm, which means I would have been running late for the gate on an NZ2/NZ2 transit.

Instead, Iím in the Star Alliance lounge and feeling better after a quick shower. Iíd say the boarding call is perhaps 45 minutes away.

Overall, I would definitely do things this way if transiting through LAX again. My return next week has a 2 hour 40 connection so it will be an interesting contrast. Being honest, the main lesson Iím taking from today is that Singapore and the ME are a far better way to get to Europe.

Hope this helps.
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Old Sep 12, 19, 6:18 pm
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Originally Posted by nzkarit View Post
Question if you are doing 1 -> 5 will they hold 5 for pax trying to transit? As last time I came back from LAX, 5 left only 15 min behind 1 & 5 had a remote so were both boarding at same time. So most of the 50 min got eaten up. From what I understand from some on 1 that night it was for people getting through the process. 1 did arrive on time.

With 6->2 6 arrives 2.15 ahead of 2 so a bigger difference. So 6 would be much later to have the same issue. If 6 is running late will they give people on 6 transit cards?
If you're transiting 1->5 they know you've checked in and if you have luggage that'll be scanned so they'll presumably make some attempts to try and find you before they began the offload process.

The actual transit card delivers zero actual benefits and is primarily a way of Air NZ staff being able to spot pax in the queue who are transiting. Once you've cleared CBP you hand it in at the transit desk before you go landside so they know you've at least cleared CBP Once you're landside you have to join the TSA queue which depending on the day of the week offers zero priority for transit pax.

There are so many people on here who insist that a new passport won't generate a X (example here https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/29588659-post11.html) but it's beyond coincidence that it seems guaranteed to happen if you are traveling on a new NZ passport regardless of whether you had had previous trips to the US.

Last edited by sbiddle; Sep 12, 19 at 6:28 pm
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