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    L.A. to Auckland
    On the way to LAX last Friday evening, the sun started to peek through the rain-filled clouds and a double rainbow greeted Angelinos! It was the first time I'd ever seen one of these in L.A. and because of its auspicious timing, I found myself hoping it was a sign of what's to come. The 12-hour, 25-minute flight to Auckland was completely packed and I was in economy. The good news is that I was on one of Air New Zealand's brand new 777-300 planes (I actually picked up their first one at the Boeing factory in Seattle last December), which has a 10.6-inch individual screen in each seatback and offers an amazing entertainment selection. The bad news is that the airline has added an extra seat in each row, making the configuration 3-4-3 instead of 3-3-3 like their 777-200. That means narrower seats and when the person in front reclines, you can't work on your laptop or eat, though the flight attendants do ask passengers to sit up during the two meal services.

    Random Flight Notes:
    -About an hour after takeoff at 10:30pm, dinner was served. Choices were beef lasagna, chicken or a cold dish of ham and sweet potato salad. All came with a mini chocolate Haagen Dazs for dessert.

    -Breakfast was served three hours before landing - too early if you ask me. Choice was a cheese omelet or fruit plate with yogurt. The omelet was delicious.

    -As always, the Air New Zealand flight attendants were amazing. Friendly, caring and personable.

    -During the flight they announced they had the scores of the Rugby World Cup matches, which are going on in New Zealand right now and explain why the flight was chock full. So they didn't spoil the results for those who had recorded it, you had to ask the flight concierge for the scores.

    -Yes, each North American and London flight has a concierge on board. They aren't flight attendants; they are just there to answer any questions from passengers in all classes about connections or the destination. The concierges even go into the Business Class lounge before the flight to greet premium guests.

    -A week before my flight, I called Air New Zealand's 800 number to ensure my United frequent flier number was in my record so I got credited; they are Star Alliance partners. I came away realizing they must have the friendliest and most knowledgeable reservation agents out of all the airlines. I love the fact that when I called, I wasn't redirected to a foreign outsource center, but instead to a local Kiwi.

    -To follow Air New Zealand on Twitter, their handle is @FlyAirNZ.

    -My seatmate, who is a successful producer and has flown Business Class possibly more times than me, said after the flight that "it was relatively painless" and we were in a non-bulkhead row and he was trapped in a middle seat. That's saying something.


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