|Ready to go|
|Not ready to go|
This time round there was more computerisation, but overall it didn't seem to improve the processing speed. Firstly when checking in at the airline's desk we had to scan each passport and answer question to complete a "pre-check-in". No surprise when the resulting printout we had to present said, "Error - present to counter" or words to that effect.
Then the very helpful airline lady processed each passport and did everything we had just done and it all worked fine.
The little green slips of paper for exiting Australia had to be filled out for each person individually. Seven forms.
Then each of us had to go through the gates which reminded me of high tech cattle stalls by scanning the passport (again) and standing on a yellow circle and looking at the camera until a photo was taken. At each stage the gates in and out were opened accordingly. I went first and then made sure each of the other children went through fine. We were a little concerned that Zach would go all "independent" but he did well.
The next step was to have our carry on bags scanned and passports presented again.
Finally we were through and had to navigate our way through the Duty Free stores. I suspect many people do not realise that Duty Free stores in Australia provide very little pricing benefit. Our Import duties are very low, so saving something like 5% to 10% duty and the GST is 10% is offset by the pricing surcharge for paying premium rent at the airport is far more than that. For example, the best special on Tim Tams was 4 for $20. At the supermarket, Tim Tams sell for around $3.50 and on special for $2.
|All lined up in a row.|
I must congratulate American Airlines. 12 years ago they seemed a very tired and uncaring airline. This time round the experience was very good. Friendly staff, good facilities on the plane, tasty food and drink and - relatively - comfortable seats. The in flight entertainment was a huge selection of movies, TV shows and games so the children didn't actually sleep much. It was amusing hearing Zach laugh out loud at some of the children's shows he was watching.
Just before we landed Rose was sick, making a mess on the floor. Clare followed shortly afterwards and we caught Zach in time. Thank goodness it all happened at the end of the flight.
But we finally landed in Los Angeles on time. Based on local time we landed before we left. But more on that drama in the next post.