Sunday, March 02, 2008

Sydney, Australia: Arriving in Los Angeles, CA (LAX)

02MAR08 Los Angeles International, Los Angeles California (LAX)

We touched down at 6:35a breaking heavily and then exiting the active runway. It was not a long taxi to the gate as Qantas (QF) now uses American Airlines’ (AA) Terminal 4, thanks to the oneworld Alliance partnership. Gone are the days of the Bradley Terminal; thank heavens!

An aside: it is very weird to experience the same time/day twice; it is a good thing I had a good morning in Sydney, so I don’t mind living it all over again…It is now 1:35a in Sydney on March 3, 2008 since we crossed the International Date Line. The lead flight attendant reminded us of that after giving us the welcome to Los Angeles, the local time and advising us to take all our belongings even those passengers who were continuing on to New York-JFK. Departure time was set for 8:50a, so he advised that after Immigration and Customs, collect your bags, re-check them and then head upstairs, clear security and re-board the same airplane to JFK.

The Captain came on the PA and announced that we had to wait to get to our gate as there was an AA jet getting out of the way. In addition, he continued, if you are familiar with their spot in LA, it is a tight one and the aircraft must be towed into the gate after shutting down the engines. This means that it is necessary to wait for the seatbelt signs to come off before getting up and disembarking.

We finally got up to the gate at 6:53a and had to wait again as ground power was not attached as yet. The Second Office came on the PA and announced that the #4 engine was still running so we are required to remain seated until it is turned off and the seat belt signs are switched off. At this time, there were several people standing even before the brakes were applied. I just hope none of them fall on me…None of them sat down after the pilot spoke. The flight attendant tried to get everyone seated, but to no avail...

At 6:56a, the lights came off and it was now safe to get out. I sat for a while as I was only four rows or so from the back of the plane so it would naturally take a while for me to get out of the plane.

Eventually, it was my turn and I made my way forward, saying good bye and good morning to the crew and agents as I did so.

I made my way to the Immigration area to a chock full line of U.S. Citizens with passports; I did not see a line for those with just alien registration cards, so I am not sure what was the purpose of that sign. The visitors’ line was much longer and was progressing quite slowly.

Once it was my time, I greeted my Officer, chatted for a bit and cleared answering “No,” to his question of whether or not I had any food with me. Customs was a breeze as I was out of there in less than a minute.

I asked the agent the way to Terminal 6 and she said go outside and make a right. I followed those directions and was at Terminal 6 in no time after making it up an escalator the check-in area.

The Terminal was quite crowded, but I managed to use a kiosk in the online bag drop line as there was no line there. I was booked on the 11:45a flight, but I wanted to change it to the 8:00a; the notification said to see an agent when I tried to do so; I assume as it was 7:27a and check-in was possibly restricted to the gate.

I changed to the 9:15a since that was the earliest that I could change to at the kiosk, just in case there were no seats on the 8:00a. I got my boarding pass and then cleared security with relative ease. I made it to gate 60 and asked the agent if I could get on that flight. She said, “yes,” but all she had were middle seats. She offered a bulk head, but I declined that as I would have no where to put my bag and also, there is not enough legroom for me. The Exit rows were all occupied as well. I took my middle seat and boarded. I figured three hours in a middle seat won't kill me if nearly 13 hours did not.

No comments: