A week ago I completed the NZ2 flight from Auckland (AKL), which transits in Los Angeles (LAX), on it’s way to London Heathrow (LHR). Here's my quick guide on what to do when you get to LAX, as Air New Zealand don’t give you any instructions, and really have to just figure it out for yourself.

  1. After disembarking, there will be an AirNZ staff member waiting just after the air bridge. They will have a transit card which you need to grab. It’s reusable, so you only hold this for a brief time before returning it.
  2. That staff member won’t lead you to where you need to go next, and the rest of the passengers going to London aren’t kept in a group. Just grab the card and head down to immigration on your own.
  3. Here’s where the fun begins. There is no separate transit line. You just proceed through immigration like you would if you weren’t in transit (don’t worry if it takes ages, and you think you’ll miss your flight - an AirNZ staff member will come find you). If you have an APEC card, I’d recommend joining the mobile passport queue (look out for desk #43) as the APEC queue is joined with the disabled passengers’ queue, which takes much longer.
  4. As soon as you’ve cleared immigration, turn right and walk all the way to the end. Do not head down the stairs or the escalators to the baggage claim area. There will be another Air NZ staff member there with a big placard that says transit.
  5. Here a staff member will take your transit card, cross your name off a list on a piece of paper, and show you through a side door which puts you into the main part of the LAX terminal.
  6. From here, do what you would if you were catching any flight at LAX. Head left out of the side door, then up the stairs to the first floor to clear TSA and then you’re in the post-security part of the airport.
  7. If you have time and have access, I’d highly suggest grabbing a shower in the Star Alliance lounge before heading back downstairs to board your flight to London.

I hope this guide gives you a basic run down of what to expect – when I did these flights I found it very frustrating as I had no idea of what we had to do.