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Five Continents in 3 Days and Some Other Mad Trips in 2012

Five Continents in 3 Days and Some Other Mad Trips in 2012

Old Jan 17, 14, 3:06 am
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Five Continents in 3 Days and Some Other Mad Trips in 2012

Index to my trip reports

If you like this report, you may be interested in some of my other trip reports.
  1. AKL-YYZ with NZ/AC in F & C - my first trip report
  2. Europe to Iceland & return on Icelandair (FI) - somewhere different
  3. Some FTers DO the Inaugural Worlds Longest Flight SIN-EWR vv 28 June 2004 - 2 long flights back to back
  4. 7 Crazy Days - includes an almost inaugural flight
  5. Champagne and figure eights on ice - Antarctica flightseeing
  6. a Lit.tle sPRinG.Ly JoUrney (BUDding KiwiS Can zig-ZAG around Europe) - mostly central and eastern Europe
  7. Big DO DOs - or a Kiwi Flyer's Month of Madness - lots of flights
  8. Another Manic Month for Kiwi - again lots of flights
  9. Mini Tour of NZ - over 100 domestic flights in New Zealand covering all domestic routes (ongoing)
  10. Across the Globe in 5 Continents - criss-crossing the globe
  11. Auckland to National Park by Train - train in New Zealand's North Island
  12. Across the Globe in 5 Continents Again - criss-crossing the globe, but this time mainly on One World
  13. A Warm Embrace of the Tropics - short trips to the tropical South Pacific
  14. Singapore (SQ) new first and business class, plus a medley of 12 F & C SQ flights - name says it all really
  15. Across the Globe in 4 Continents - around the world on star alliance, including some unusual flights
  16. Queensland And Northern Territory Aerial Sampler - a sampling of Qantas flights, domestic and international, in economy and business (ongoing)
  17. Around the World in Under 60 Hours - around the world in a weekend
  18. The Heat is On - another longhaul economy trip in under 60 hours - what a contrast, Asia and Qantas' new first class lounges
  19. Fast on the ground and in the air - it must be Shanghai – a flying visit to Shanghai + Maglev
  20. It's a Fine Line Between Pleasure & Pain: 4 wacky weeks 2 RTW C, inaugural longhaul Y – mostly One World
  21. Back and forth across the Pacific on a variety of airlines in a selection of classes - 16 crossings of the Pacific plus some other related flights
  22. It isn't every day that you witness a hijacking attempt + NZ's forgotten 4th island - a visit to Chatham Islands coincides with New Zealand's first hijacking attempt
  23. There and back - first day Air NZ flies to Coolangatta (Gold Coast)
  24. A Run Around (part of) The Axis of Evil: A Perfect *A RTW in C? - Axis of Evil 0 US Immigration 1
  25. Wellington to Auckland by train - self-explanatory title
  26. A mad couple of days flying, including domestic international flights - a double longhaul inaugural, domestic international shuttle and domestic leg of an international flight
  27. Regional C *A RTW & (hopefully) finishing flying every route (100+) for an airline - featuring new QF First on A380 special flight, "you have to get off now", and 105th different current route with NZ
  28. One World Revolutions - Around Mostly the Southern Hemisphere - mostly Southern Hemisphere and mostly on One World on a mix of products
  29. Cris-cros the Med & the Globe on Emirates, Qantas & Star Alliance in mix of F/C/Y+/Y – starting with EK First on A380 and ending with Qantas economy, with a lot of travel mostly on *A in between
  30. An FTer flies to a Do (or Why take the nonstop when you can fly 10 flights instead?) - combining an FT Do with an aerial tour of northern Queensland
  31. The Ultimate Qantas Flight - short report on the ultimate flight
  32. Premium Flying Across the Ditch (Between New Zealand and Australia) - experiencing the forward cabins on Trans-Tasman flights (ongoing)
  33. 5 Boeings Straight to the Airbus Do - FTer feasts in first, business & economy - my journey to & from the *A / Airbus Mega Do
  34. NZ route oddities & One World turns by night (redeye special) - an odd collection of flight routes & schedules around the world
  35. From my first low cost redeye to a first class trifecta - an insane fortnight - some firsts of all types
  36. G'day, kia orana - it's another inaugural flight in Air New Zealand business class - a day & night tripping around the South Pacific on Air NZ
  37. A Feast of First Class Flying on British Airways, Qantas and Emirates - long distance in style
  38. A Weekend of Old and New - Lufthansa first & business, Air New Zealand business - a quick longhaul trip featuring some old and new products
  39. Star Alliance tres primo, and tres biz - a trio of first and business on Star Alliance
  40. A few flights to end 2011 - a quick trip around the world + more
  41. Five Continents in 3 Days and Some Other Mad Trips in 2012 - a selection of my 2012 travels
  42. Sky Team madness - 14 weeks, 200k miles, 5 continents, CI brand new business – mostly Sky Team
  43. Off to Star megado on Oneworld - mostly business incl brand new AA 787
  44. A Glutton for Punishment: red eye, new world's longest flight & more, in comfort?

Last edited by Kiwi Flyer; Apr 1, 16 at 3:37 pm
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Old Jan 17, 14, 3:16 am
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Index to this trip report

Part 1 - "I can't work out your destination"
Introduction
WLG-AKL NZ A320 Y
AKL-PVG NZ B777 C and menu
PVG transit
PVG-NGO CA A321 C
NGO transit
NGO-GUM UA 738 C
GUM-HNL UA 777 F
HNL-SFO UA 757 F
SFO-LAX UA A319 F
LAX-LHR NZ 77W C and menu
LHR-FRA LH 321 C and menu
FRA-BLQ LH 733 C and menu
Bologna
BLQ-FRA LH 735 C and menu
FRA-ZRH LH 733 C and menu
ZRH-FRA LH 733 C and menu
Frankfurt transit
FRA-NRT NH 77W C and menu
Tokyo transit
NRT-KIX NZ 772 C
KIX-AKL NZ 772 C and menu
AKL-WLG NZ 733 C and menu

Part 2 - "Qantas domestic first and business (again and again)"
Introduction
WLG-SYD QF 738 C and menu
Sydney transit
SYD QF FCL menu
SYD-ADL QF A332 C
ADL-SYD QF A332 C
SYD QF FCL menu
SYD-WLG QF 738 C and menu

Part 3 - "Five Continents in 3 Days"
Introduction
WLG-AKL NZ 733 Y
AKL-SIN SQ 77W C and Christmas menu
SIN-ICN SQ A333 C and menu
ICN-FRA OZ 74E C and menu
FRA-JNB SA A346 C
JNB-GRU SA A332 C and menu
GRU-IAH UA 762 C and menu
IAH-ATL UA CR7 F
ATL-CLT US A321 F
CLT-MSY US A319 F
MSY-SFO UA A319 F
SFO-LAX AA 738 F
LAX-SAN AA CR7 F
SAN-SFO UA 752 F
SFO-AKL NZ 744 C and menu
AKL-SIN SQ 772 C and menu
SIN-HKG SQ 772 C and menu
HKG-ICN OZ 74E C and menu
ICN-SIN SQ A333 C and menu
SIN-CHC SQ 772 C and menu

====================================
Yes - I know it has been a while since my last trip report.

Despite some rumours to the contrary I haven't been rotting away in jail on account of suspicious travel patterns.

No - I haven't stopped flying. I don't have writer's block (not yet anyway). I haven't stopped trying new airlines, products, routes.

Which means, I'm long overdue to post another report on some odd trips I've taken. Hopefully someone will find it useful, or at least interesting. Even better if that someone isn't my psychiatrist.

Last edited by Kiwi Flyer; Apr 1, 16 at 3:38 pm
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Old Jan 17, 14, 4:15 am
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Is it me but does everyone else see nothing when they click on the link for this report?
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Old Jan 17, 14, 4:23 am
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Originally Posted by ppgstf View Post
Is it me but does everyone else see nothing when they click on the link for this report?
I think Kiwi Flyer has just started with his intro. More to follow....
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Old Jan 17, 14, 4:32 am
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Part 1 - "I can't work out your destination"

The check in agent was stunned at the itinerary that came up on her screen. However she couldn't see all of the legs for I had some multi-sector single flight number flights included in this itinerary. It was another around the world ticket, this time on star alliance.

On some previous trips I had managed to maximise the permitted mileage either exactly or with less than 100 miles to spare. This trip wasn't as well maximised due to my constraints. I only had limited time to take the trip. I had a destination in mind to visit someplace new. I wanted to have as many unique routes as possible. I also wanted to maximise longhaul flights on Air NZ so as to requalify with their top status (there is a minimum earning requirement on Air NZ).

Of course checking in at the kiosk was impossible - these were only available for wholly domestic or Australia itineraries on only NZ flights. This meant waiting for 30 minutes to check in - there are never enough staff for passengers flying domestic to international from Wellington via Auckland (or Christchurch), and late afternoon there are lots such passengers due to all the evening and night time longhaul flights from Auckland to Asia, North America and London.

I've gotten spoilt. For domestic travel I can head straight for the lounge (or gate if I'm running late) without checking in at all as I travel with carry on only. For most other flights, including Qantas out of Wellington, the premium check in I can access by status and/or flying in first or business class, means a 5 minute wait is a worst case scenario. But, consistently for domestic to international flights out of Wellington there is a long wait. Status doesn't help. Nor does flying first or business class. There simply isn't enough check in staff. Irritatingly, there are plenty of roaming agents to assist passengers in using the kiosks and make sure people drop their bags off in the right place.

Anyway, I eventually got the first 2 boarding passes and headed for the lounge for a restorative beverage.

Last edited by Kiwi Flyer; Jan 18, 14 at 9:27 pm
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Old Jan 18, 14, 2:07 pm
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Apologies for the delay in continuing the report. Since my last post I've crossed the Pacific twice. Despite flying in comfort both ways, there were 2 issues with the 2nd flight - a medical emergency which almost led to a diversion and another emergency when they ran out of champagne.

I should get some more posted later today during my longish transit.
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Old Jan 18, 14, 8:54 pm
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Back to the report.

Wellington to Auckland (WLG-AKL) on Air New Zealand A320 in economy, space plus seat

As usual, this evening flight to Auckland is packed. Especially due to the pending long weekend and school holidays. So as well as all the usual business people heading home at the end of a week, there are lots of families aboard too.

It wasn't until after I was seated in my usual aisle seat that I remembered I'd been meaning to select a window seat. Actually, it was the third bag to my head by an infrequent flyer with a backpack over one shoulder while carrying another bag/small child/box of donuts in their other hand that reminded me.

Whether it was the result of the bumps to the head, several long hard weeks at work, or overindulgence in the lounge, I fell asleep before the safety video and only awoke on touchdown.
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Old Jan 18, 14, 9:12 pm
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Auckland to Shanghai (AKL-PVG) on Air New Zealand B777-200 in business class

I enjoyed the walk across to international. One of the advantages of flying Air New Zealand with status or in business class out of Auckland is you can use the special immigration desk accessed off the Air New Zealand premium check in lobby. There is no need to actually check in at that lobby. Some other airlines out of Auckland also have special immigration service for select passengers - the Qantas premium check in lobby has a manned immigration desk inside for most of the day, and there is also an immigration desk at the edge of check in zone A which is used by Singapore Airlines daytime flight (ie for SQ286 but not for SQ282) and Emirates.

I had a couple of hours before boarding so had plenty of time for a shower, catch up on some emails, and a couple of drinks.

Incidentally for those seeking Star Alliance business class awards (or upgrades) to New Zealand, the Shanghai flight is the easiest one to get by far. The downside is currently the flight is operated with 767, which has a recliner business class seat (and rather narrow one at that) compared with the full lie-flat seat on Air New Zealand's other longhaul aircraft.

The boarding call in the lounge was a little early, as often seems to be the case. Nowadays I wait for the second or third call to leave the lounge, but at the time of this trip I was still heading out at the first call. After a few minutes waiting in the lounge boarding began. I was quickly settled into my favourite seat and started watching a movie thanks to the IFE already being on. I quite like to do this when flying Air New Zealand longhaul late in the evening, or on shorthaul flights that may not quite have enough time in the air for a full movie. A movie started from boarding should finish during the meal service and so I won't be tempted to stay awake to see the ending. Sometimes this backfires if we have a delay on the ground or if I picked a shorter movie, and end up watching a second movie through well after meal service.

Anyway the cabin was less than half full so plenty of pre-departure drink top-ups and great service through the flight. The late evening departures have fast dine meals (available only in business class) served first before everyone else.

I managed some sleep, but not as much as I'd hoped due to turbulence most of the way. The next day will be a long one with a lengthy transit, and sleep depriving combination of a red eye flight and middle of the night transit to look forward to in the following night.

Last edited by Kiwi Flyer; Jan 18, 14 at 9:25 pm
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Old Jan 18, 14, 9:27 pm
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Air New Zealand
Business Class menu
Auckland to Shanghai
April 2012



Supper

Fast dine

Oriental seafood soup with shrimp, crabmeat, snapper and black mushroom

Black and white sesame panna cotta with mango compote

To begin

Poached king prawns with cocktail sauce, tomato jelly and micro greens

From the bakery

Sourdough bread, dark rye with caraway seed bread and garlic bread

Mains

Miso braised beef short rib with mustard potato mash, roasted gingered carrots, green beans and green olive tarragon salsa

Soft herb and sour dough baked New Zealand salmon with fennel risotto, courgettes, tomato caper broth and lemon herb butter

Golden fried chicken with ginger and Shaoxing wine sauce, pak choy, carrot, black mushroom and steamed rice

To finish

Gourmet ice cream dessert of black Doris plum and creme fraiche and fig and honey ice cream

Cheese

A selection of fine New Zealand hard, soft and blue cheeses

Hot drinks

Freshly brewed or decaffeinated coffee, jasmine green tea, herbal tea or hot chocolate


Self-service snacks

Help yourself from our range of snacks available for you to enjoy during your flight. For something more substantial, ask your flight attendant for a hot noodle soup or a selection of dim sum.


Breakfast

Wake-up drinks

Start your day with a fruit smoothie, your choice of juice, freshly brewed or decaffeinated coffee, tea, jasmine green tea, herbal tea or hot chocolate

Light breakfast

A bowl of muesli with yoghurt and fresh fruit is available as a lighter option

Full breakfast

Fruit and cereals will be offered followed by a hot bakery selection and your choice of a hot breakfast

Fresh fruit salad

Fruit or plain Greek style yoghurt

Toasted Muesli and Light and Right Berry cereal, Weet-Bix, Cornflakes

From the bakery

Croissants, muffins, Vogel's, brioche or fruit toast offered with fruit conserve

From the stove

Cheddar and chive scrambled egg with chicken sausage, cherry tomato and potato

Vanilla hot cakes with gingered apples, creme fraich, raspberry and blueberry compote

Asian breakfast of barbecued pork with stir fried noodles, pak choy, kai lan and egg pancake


Drinks

Wine

The premium wine selection onboard this flight has been chosen by our wine consultants : John Belsham of Foxes Island Wines, Kate Radbund of CJ Pask Winery and Jim Harre, nationally recognised wine judge. For details of our onboard wines, refer to your Air New Zealand Wine Guide.

New Zealand Sparkling Wine

Fresh, bright, lifted nose with toasty notes. The palate shows strawberry and lemon with rich yeast flavours. Elegant and well balanced with a long lingering aftertaste.

Champagne

G.H. Mumm Cordon Rouge, France
The bubbles are rich on the palate, but never over-powering. The perfect balance is combined with a rounded, full vinosity. The mix of fresh fruit and caramel aromas give even more intensity to the finish. This is a subtly balanced wine with a remarkable capacity to linger in the mouth.

Spirits

Glenfiddich Malt Whisky, Chivas Regal Blended Whisky, Jack Daniel’s Black Label, Gordons Gin, 42 Below Vodka, Courvoisier VSOP, Coruba Rum, Ron Bacardi Superior

Port and Liqueurs

Portuguese Port, Grand Marnier, Baileys Irish Cream

Beer

A selection of beer featuring Steinlager Pure, Export Gold, Heineken and low alcohol lager.

Cold drinks

Mineral water, orange juice, apple juice, tomato juice, cranberry juice, pineapple juice, cola, lemonade, L&P (sparkling lemon drink), tonic water, ginger ale, diet cola, diet lemonade.

Hot drinks

Freshly brewed coffee, decaffeinated coffee, English Breakfast tea, hot chocolate, chamomile tea, lemon and ginger tea, decaffeinated tea, raspberry, strawberry and loganberry and cranberry and pomegranate, Earl Grey tea, peppermint tea, green tea, jasmine green tea

NZ289_AKL_PVG_SUP_BFST_112
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Old Jan 19, 14, 4:34 am
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Kiwi Flyer is back in the saddle! And reporting on trips as old as April 2012. The reference to the psychiatrist made me wonder: is this trip reporting as self-administered therapy? :P
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Old Jan 19, 14, 2:47 pm
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Shanghai transit

Our arrival gate was near the end of the terminal so quite a walk to transfers. I like this, as long as I'm not in danger of misconnecting. It feels good to have a brisk walk after sitting so much for longhaul flights. Today I had nearly 4 hours before the next flight. That is an awkward time - long enough to not have to rush but not long enough to leave the airport and do/see anything.

Anyway, unlike a previous international transit in Beijing where I could bypass immigration, for this trip I'd have to go through immigration twice in the transit. (Incidentally, I've since learnt that at Guangzhou international transfers also bypass immigration.) I didn't need a visa because over the past few years China has been steadily relaxing its transit requirements (at least for certain nationalities).

I reached immigration ahead of a throng from several early morning flights that had recently arrived. As I already had my onward boarding pass I expected a brief queue, stamp and quickly through customs and on to the departure level. It wasn't to be. All transiting passengers were initially processed at the regular desk and the passport is held while you are directed to a second desk for transfer processing. Passports are handed from the regular desk to the second desk in batches.

Unfortunately the second desk had a heap of passports piled up and operated on a last in first out sequence. So I waited around while more and more transit passengers joined me in waiting at this second desk and my passport became more and more buried under a growing pile. So much for being one of the first to immigration.

Some others waiting probably missed their connecting flights. The time to be processed at the second desk varied from seconds - if you were lucky and your passport was at the top of a batch handed from regular desk just as an officer at the second desk went to grab another passport to process, or an hour or more. My wait was about 75 minutes.

After enduring such a poor system I walked straight through customs, to departures and back through security and immigration rather quickly. A few minutes later I was relaxing in the lounge.
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Old Jan 19, 14, 2:52 pm
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Not sure when you'll get to reporting *that* trip but it was good to see you at The Wing late December. Now I've met you in two different countries, in the respective airline's flagship lounge, and neither is a country either of us lives in.

I quite like it!
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Old Jan 19, 14, 3:09 pm
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Shanghai to Nagoya (PVG-NGO) on Air China A321 in business class

At the appropriate time I left the lounge and headed for the gate. There was a mass of passengers but no sign of any gate agent despite being the reported boarding time displayed on the monitors. So I took the opportunity to wander around the terminal while I waited, checking monitors as I went to see if boarding had started.

About 15 minutes late the boarding commenced and I timed my walk back to the gate perfectly, reaching the boarding pass check just as the second to last passenger went through.

I wasn't too sure what to expect as I had not flown Air China and couldn't find many reports. I didn't have high expectations and these were exceeded, although not universally.

The business class cabin was lightly loaded. No menu handed out but there was a lunch meal with a choice between western or chinese. I opted to gamble with a red wine, hoping for a good French or Australian. If not, then hopefully a local red would live up to some reports I'd read of the vast improvements in Chinese wine in recent years. My gamble failed, it was an undrinkable local red that even now still causes me to shudder involuntarily at the memory of its vile taste. Oh well, at least the food was tasty.

The seat was comparable to domestic first class in USA - reasonably comfortable except with not much legroom.

Somewhere along the line I'd picked up a cold and sneezed a few times. I blame the stress of ferocious work schedule with a deadline for a major project the same day as I started the trip. Unprompted, the flight attendant brought me a large packet of tissues.

Being a daytime flight on a routing that was unusual for me, I'd hoped to get good views over Japan. However it was quite cloudy, but somehow this made the scenery more brooding with hills and mountains seemingly dressed in a woolly blanket with glimpses in between puffy pillows of cloud.

We made up some time enroute but still landed slightly late.
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Old Jan 19, 14, 3:25 pm
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Nagoya transit

Even with the slight delay I had over 5 hours until my next flight. At the time of booking I'd selected flights so as to have time to go explore during the transit. Unfortunately the weather was poor - wet, windy and somewhat chilly. I decided to nurse my cold in the lounge rather than run around getting wet and cold - particularly as I knew from a previous visit that the star alliance lounge in Nagoya has no showers.

Check in for my onward flight was almost certainly not yet open so I decided to head past immigration to the transfer desk and try to get onward boarding passes there. If that didn't work then I had plenty of time to go through immigration and could walk around in the shelter waiting for check in to open.

The agent manning the transfer desk was able to check me in for the next couple of flights, once I'd given an address where I will be staying. Through security and up to the lounge. But first I walked a few laps of the terminal airside to fill in some time. The lounge is okay but fairly basic. No shower. Since my previous visit they'd added a computer terminal but the connection was abominable and virtually unusable. I went back into the terminal and ended up spending most of the transit walking slowly while descending into zombie mode and people watching.
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Old Jan 20, 14, 3:56 pm
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Originally Posted by Kiwi Flyer View Post
[b]
Of course checking in at the kiosk was impossible - these were only available for wholly domestic or Australia itineraries on only NZ flights. This meant waiting for 30 minutes to check in - there are never enough staff for passengers flying domestic to international from Wellington via Auckland (or Christchurch), and late afternoon there are lots such passengers due to all the evening and night time longhaul flights from Auckland to Asia, North America and London.
It at times also seems impossible for simple domestic trips....

Saturday CHC-WLG, tired 2x machines failed to check-in, said see staff

Sunday WLG-AKL,
Machine 1 - Couldn't print bag tags
Machine 2 - Crashed and went to the windows desktop
Machine 3 - failed - see staff
Machine 4 - failed - see staff
Premium check-in line - 15minute wait, didn't get served
Machine 5 - can't print bag tags
Machine 6 - staff trying to to check me in, wont work for them
Taken to the service desk, at least after a bit of hard work she was able to print bag tags!

25minutes later, finally made it to the Lounge!

Come to think of it, I had heaps of trouble on the Sunday before check-in for a AKL-ZQN Flight!
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