Air New Zealand crew member and frequent Los Angeles visitor Rachel Reid gives us the inside track on the City of Angels
What’s Air New Zealand’s LA schedule?
Air New Zealand has a daily flight to LA, departing Heathrow at 16:15 with a scheduled arrival time of 19:25 the same day into LAX. We depart LA at 17:00, arriving into Terminal 2 at Heathrow at 11:30 the following day.
For how long does the flight stop in LA before going on to New Zealand?
Our flight NZ1 continues on to Auckland after a short transit stop of about two hours. It’s the same aircraft but we have a crew change at LA and the aircraft is cleaned, catered and refuelled. Our Auckland colleagues welcome onward flyers back onboard.
What’s the first thing you do when you land in LA?
Sleep. But I’m up bright and early the next day to enjoy my layover in this fantastic place.
What is your favourite hotel in the city?
We’ve had the opportunity to stay in many places in LA. My favourite hotel is the Marina del Rey Marriott, a short walk or bike ride from Venice Beach and Santa Monica. It’s also close to Abbot Kinney, where you will find lots of gorgeous vintage shops and cafes. The hotel itself is lovely with an outside bar area, where I like to relax and wind down after a long day sightseeing or shopping.
And for dinner?
I love Shutters on the Beach, which is perfect for dinner or to start your day with a brunch. LA is full of fabulous eateries and hospitality comes first in California, so you really can’t go wrong.
If it was sunny and hot, how would you spend the day in LA?
Coming from the UK, I truly believe you have to make the most of the California climate. There are so many things to do outdoors. Firstly, the beaches are a must. Santa Monica is fabulous and has an iconic pier. Laguna Beach is one of my favourites – it’s out of the city, but well worth a visit. Catalina Island is a fantastic day out – there is a ferry that departs from Long Beach throughout the day, but arrive early to make a day of it. You can hire a golf buggy to explore the island.
What are your shopping tips?
Santa Monica has a great mix of high street and high end, but what I really love is that the shops are outdoors, so when it’s sunny you don’t feel guilty about shopping. There are so many great places to have lunch, and if you’re still shopping into the early evening there is lots of street entertainment on Third Street Promenade.
Is a car essential?
I would recommend hiring a car. Los Angeles has lots to offer, but it is a vast city and this is the easiest way to get around. If your visit is short and you have a central location, then Uber is a great way to get from A to B.
How would you get your live sport fix?
If the fixtures allow, I would definitely recommend the famous Staples Center, home to the LA Lakers basketball team. It’s still on my list, as tickets can be quite tricky to acquire. If you prefer to enjoy the sunshine throughout the summer, there are various surf competitions on at Huntington Beach or a game of baseball at the Dodger Stadium.
What else do you recommend as a hook?
Depending on the length of your visit, I think everyone should try to visit a theme park – Disney, Universal Studios and Six Flags are my favourites.
What’s the best thing you’ve ever seen in LA?
A few years ago, I was in LA just before the Oscars ceremony was due to take place in Hollywood. It was amazing to see all the work that goes into a massive event that is shown around the world. I’m a big film fan and it was fabulous to see the giant Oscar statues and the red carpet. I also bumped into Elvis on Hollywood Boulevard the same day.