Stephanie Holmes flies from Los Angeles to Auckland aboard Air New Zealand's NZ1.

The plane:

Boeing 777-300.

Class: Economy.


Price: One-way fares start from $939.

The seat: 34A, an exit row seat that you pay extra for to get extra legroom. Seatguru reviews say this seat actually has reduced legroom due to the protrusion of the exit door, but this turned out to not be true. The door doesn't protrude internally at all so there's legroom to spare, no matter how long your legs are. (Mine are average, thanks for asking). It does however have reduced seat width as the tray table and TV screen are in the fixed armrest. This made it a bit of a squeeze for my (perhaps larger-than-average-sized) bottom. There was also a very cold breeze around the door at times, and I needed an extra blanket to keep warm.

On time: The plane had travelled from London prior to this leg of the journey, and was 45 minutes delayed due to late departure from Heathrow.

Flight time: Scheduled for 12h 45m, but we made up time in the air and landed five minutes ahead of schedule.

Fellow passengers: NZ1 flies from London, stopping to refuel in LA. So along with the Kiwis returning home, and Americans headed for Middle-earth holidays, there was also a good representation of Brits.

Luggage: 23kg of checked baggage. After a hefty dose of shopping in West Hollywood, I scraped in at 21kg. I'd only checked in 13kg on the way out.

Airport experience: LAX's Tom Bradley International Terminal has its ups and downs.

Getting through security takes forever, with grumpy TSA staff herding passengers like cattle. Once through, the departures areas is light, bright and modern with some good shopping and cool features, like the three-storey LED columns showing graphics like waterfalls, and forests. Food options are of course limited and over-priced, as is standard with most airports around the world.


Food and drink: In the airport? See above. In-flight — actually pretty good. Dinner after take-off was Mexican beef with rice and green beans or Tuscan chicken with potato wedges and fresh vegetables, followed by a lime-and-coconut mousse cake. I opted for the chicken, which was tender and tasty. The mousse cake was best avoided. My breakfast omelette was hot, hearty and filling.

Entertainment: One of the things I appreciate most about Air NZ's entertainment system is the absence of ads. Other airlines make you suffer through three to four ads before programmes start; on Air NZ you're straight into your chosen show or movie. I was exhausted after a busy trip to the States, so went to sleep straight after dinner and didn't wake up again until breakfast.

Service: Jonathan and Therese, the cabin services manager and assistant, were running a friendly, helpful crew.

Toilets: Four at the back of the cabin, which were mostly clean and tidy.

Would I fly again? Yes. It was great having the extra legroom for a reasonably comfortable sleep on this overnight flight.