Day 15 Travel Notes
We got up earlier than necessary because I think both Jan and I were anxious to start home. Now that we had finished the last big event (the Milford Sound trip) of our vacation we were ready to be on our way.
We had breakfast at the resort and, considering the reputation of the place, the service was terrible though the food itself was fine. I think the country club members are the only ones who mattered to the wait-staff and the temporary visitors like us weren't on their radar.
Then we did our last minute packing and headed off to the airport. The Queenstown airport was only a few minutes away and dropping off the rental car plus checking in for our flight went smoothly. We had a couple hour wait then - security was nothing like what we have back in the states. Almost like things used to be pre-911. I suppose we will have to go through it all again in Los Angeles but it was a relief to not have long security lines here.
The flight to Auckland was easy and we went through customs with little trouble. Again we have a wait before our flight to LA. I overheard someone saying that the connecting flights in NZ are always at least 3 hours before the international departure. Since we are flying business class, the wait is easy - in the Quantas VIP lounge. There isn't much more to say about the flight back across the Pacific. I managed to sleep a little more than I had coming over and felt pretty good when we landed in LA.
Once on the ground and through US customs we learned our flight to Chicago was canceled! This was somehow related to the bad weather on the east coast but it didn't seem that Chicago itself was affected. After waiting around for quite a long time we were able to get another flight, but not in first class. That flight went okay though not nearly as comfortable as expected.
Chicago O'Hare was a mess because of flights being delayed and gates were at a premium. We had a gate change and about a 25 minute delay but finally got on the way to Cedar Rapids, landing at a little after 10pm. Our baggage made it through all the stages and came off the belt promptly. A short drive and we were home at about 10:45 local time. I calculated that the entire return trip had taken 26 hours from our leaving Queenstown to landing in Cedar Rapids. When we got in the house ItBitKit was glad to see us and spent quite a while making it clear that she did not approve of our absence.