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Old 01-28-2017, 08:12 PM
 
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I am flying from NC to LA and then to New Zealand in a few days.
This is my first international flight and I want to know what to expect.

Am I correct that the first 2 boardings in NC and LA will be
the same as a domestic flight regarding bag checks and boarding ??

I know to expect customs coming into New Zealand and when re entering the US
coming home..

Any further tips for this newbie are welcome. Thanks
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Old 01-28-2017, 08:29 PM
 
Location: Lone Mountain Las Vegas NV
12,804 posts, read 4,837,023 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kelly237 View Post
I am flying from NC to LA and then to New Zealand in a few days.
This is my first international flight and I want to know what to expect.

Am I correct that the first 2 boardings in NC and LA will be
the same as a domestic flight regarding bag checks and boarding ??

I know to expect customs coming into New Zealand and when re entering the US
coming home..

Any further tips for this newbie are welcome. Thanks
The only thing you will find any different from a domestic flight may be your arrival in NZ. And that may be anticlimactic. General rule is all hassles are incoming. Never outgoing.

Many years ago arrived in Stuttgart, Germany from LA and the passengers had to break out of the arrival hall. It was a Saturday and the plane was early. So it was sit there until they got up or escape. The local cabbies helped.

So as long as all your documents are roughly in order enjoy. Nothing better than a new place. After a couple of million miles I ended up going to Brazil. Even got thrown off a PanAm flight in Panama...but it was really neat. If I was not too old I would have been tempted to try it. But go for it. The new palces are almost always fun.
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Old 01-28-2017, 08:30 PM
 
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It should be the same, except for customs as you have already mentioned. Of course, customs' practices vary among countries, so hopefully someone who has gone through NZ will offer you some advice. Or you could search online for NZ airport customs and get a head start on what to expect. Go here:

New Zealand Customs Service : On your arrival


I'll never forget flying the summer after 9/11 to Europe. Upon arrival in France, the airport was so crowded they literally had us hold up our Passports (in a large crowd and I was more than 10 feet away from the customs agent, as were most of us). That was it?! It was surreal.

Also, on my return, I had knives in my carry on, seriously, I had three kitchen knives that I purchased in Spain, from 6 to 12 inches in length, wrapped in terry hand towels. I was not stopped! I didn't even think of them until I unpacked when I arrived at my home! Yikes!

Have a great trip!
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Old 01-28-2017, 11:50 PM
 
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Custom in NZ is quite tough. Make sure you have no fruit or vegetable on you, even the one from airplane food. For some reason, there are several check points (include one with sniffing dog) and each keep asking you a same question.
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Old 01-29-2017, 01:20 AM
 
Location: Airstrip 1, Oceania
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The guys who stamp your passport are not Customs - they are Immigration Control. They may demand to see your return ticket or onward ticket to another country. If you have neither, they tend to assume you are a would-be illegal immigrant and send you straight back home. So have your tickets handy!
Kelly237, you don't say what the purpose of your trip is. I assumed it was for a vacation but if it isn't you may need to apply for a visa. See: https://www.immigration.govt.nz/new-.../options/visit

Last edited by Brontosaurus; 01-29-2017 at 01:50 AM.. Reason: additional info.
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Old 01-29-2017, 05:26 AM
 
Location: On the road
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Going out you have nothing to worry about, assuming you are round trip. Coming back you'll have some weirdness you aren't used to at your first port of entry, your bags have to go through customs with you. You have to get your bags from the belt, go through US Customs, then recheck them on to your final domestic destination. Not a big deal but somewhat different than the set-it-and-forget-it you have on the way out. Of course maybe you travel light enough that who gives a **** since no checked bags.

If you aren't round trip your first demand for proof of onward travel will come from the ticket agents in the USA, they are the ones on the hook to fly you back if denied entry and they know Aus/NZ are strict on immigration. 99.9% of people no worries since proof of onward travel is the return leg. There is a theoretical proof of sufficient funds but that also is rarely called out for western tourists unless maybe you look like a hippie beach bum.

Also the plane for the long hop won't necessarily have more space for you the human but it will have more space for carry ons and you can get served things like meals and beer for free instead of paying like on domestic flights. You'll also probably (but not always) have a better entertainment option with a seatback device where you can watch movies, TV, play video games, etc.

Good luck, have fun!
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Old 01-29-2017, 06:03 AM
 
Location: MMU->ABE->ATL->ASH
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When you Checkin at North Carolina and (I assume LA is Los Angeles, and not Louisiana), in LA they will check so see your passport is valid, and you have valid visa (if needed) for NZ.
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Old 01-29-2017, 06:23 AM
 
Location: East Mt Airy, Philadelphia
1,017 posts, read 1,036,731 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nn2036 View Post
Custom in NZ is quite tough. Make sure you have no fruit or vegetable on you, even the one from airplane food. For some reason, there are several check points (include one with sniffing dog) and each keep asking you a same question.
The first time I flew to NZ was 1982. Shortly after we landed and before we deplaned, a couple of guys from customs (or maybe agriculture?) walked down the aisles, spraying what I assume was some bug-killing chemical. Not enough to make you gag, but certainly enough to make you realize how sensitive their environment is to outside critters. We were nicely situated on the tarmac while this was happening: you could see sheep grazing in a field adjacent to the airport.
This "welcome to NZ, now let's hose you down" ritual didn't take place last time I was there (2015), but if you have recently been on a foreign farm or are carrying pretty much any kind of food your time at Customs is going to be longer than you'd like.
That aside, NZ is my favorite travel destination, & I hope OP has a great trip!
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Old 01-29-2017, 07:58 AM
 
Location: Niceville, FL
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It's common to be asked to show your passport at the gate along with your boarding pass. Even though there was a 'docs check' when you checked in for the flight (and it's marked on your boarding pass) the airline wants to make sure you didn't unknowingly drop it in the toilet when you took a restroom stop on your way to the gate- international treaties say airlines can face large fines for passengers denied entry upon arrival.

While it's not like New Zealand, the US also has limits on food and other items you're allowed to bring back in the country (no fresh foods, certain novelty items like Kinder eggs an canned haggis are also banned) California agriculture is vulnerable enough you might see the Department of Agriculture inspection beagles in the LAX arrivals area.
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Old 01-29-2017, 07:58 AM
 
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NC-->LA is a domestic flight. LA-NZ is international. You will need to change terminals at LAX, as international departures leave from a different area. Be sure you allow sufficient time for that. You shouldn't need to collect your luggage for this change. Departing, the only real check you will go through is to see if you have a return ticket and that your passport is valid for at least 6 months after departure.

When you arrive in NZ immigration will review your passport and make sure your ID is valid. Customs will ask you questions about food and importing goods.

Coming back, you will need to collect your luggage first, and then go through customs and immigration. Dogs will sniff your luggage and they may open the suitcases to inspect it and ask you questions. Immigration will review your passport stamps, ask about the nature of your trip, ask if you've been involved in terrorism, etc. You will then need to carry your luggage and belongings to the domestic terminal and check it again for the domestic flight back to NC.
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