Flying out of Cincinnati instead of Louisville makes sense for a couple of reasons. It’s only an extra forty-minute drive to the airport, but that forty minutes means only one domestic flight and cheaper tickets. We learned last time that the connecting domestic flights are actually the most painful part of travelling with kids.
Air New Zealand now flies direct from Houston to Auckland, which is perhaps the best development in air travel in my lifetime. Routing through LAX took years off my life. The domestic and international terminals at LAX are in two separate buildings. Getting from one to the other means leaving secure space, fighting for a spot on a shuttle bus full of angry and foul smelling travelers, and going back through security (boarding pass, ID, laptops and liquids out of carry-ons, shoes and jackets off, body cavity search) to get into the terminal. This is what creates angry and foul smelling travelers. George Bush Intercontinental in Houston requires none of this. God bless George Bush.
The international flight departs in the evening, which is smart. We put the boys in their pajamas in the terminal so that they will start getting into the nighttime mindset. Once aboard and up to cruising altitude, everyone picked a movie on their own seatback screen (okay, so maybe this is the best development in air travel). Then dinner was served. After dinner we let the boys watch a bit more, then told them it was bedtime. Cohen is still small enough to curl up in his seat; Elias is getting too long for that now. But both slept for seven or eight hours. Liz and I each got four or five hours. Then it’s morning, breakfast is served, and before you know it, the final descent has begun. The total flight time was fifteen hours, but due to time zone differences, we departed at 8 o’clock Wednesday evening and arrived at 6 o’clock Friday morning. Hopefully nothing important happened on Thursday, because we skipped it altogether.
And there you have it: a family of four suddenly on the other side of the world. We spent the day in Auckland walking around and cruising in the harbour (that’s right, I threw in an unnecessary vowel there) and doing whatever else we could to keep ourselves awake until evening to fight off the jet lag. Next morning was a quick forty-five minute flight to Rotorua and our travels were finally done.