Air New Zealand's streamlined passenger transit procedure at LAX has been given the green light by US Customs, with travellers arriving from Auckland or from London now able to access the general terminal area and the airline's LAX lounge without the need to clear security.
The system, which has been trialled for several months, still requires transit passengers to complete the standard US visa. But they're then issued with a special 'token' and can forego the usual security queue.
Air New Zealand's Deputy Chief Executive Officer Norm Thompson promises the new transit process will make a significant difference to the overall passenger experience for Air NZ travellers heading to London via Los Angeles.
"They now have the freedom to move around during their transit instead of being confined to the transit lounge while waiting for their onward flight."
Lounging around at LAX...
Up next for Air New Zealand and LAX will be the airline's relocation from LAX Terminal 2 to the Tom Bradley International Terminal in the middle of 2014.
The terminal is in the midst of a US$1.7 billion makeover which will deliver more shops and restaurants as well as faster boarding and disembarking systems.
There'll also be a new Star Alliance Lounge at TBIT, designed and managed by Air New Zealand.
The new lounge is three times larger than the current Los Angeles Koru Lounge and will feature an open air terrace overlooking the runway.
Los Angeles isn't the only city enjoying a bit of Kiwi attention. AirNZ will upgrade its daily Auckland – San Francisco services next year, with two new Boeing 777-300 aircraft replacing the current Boeing 747-400s in July and October 2014.
Also from mid-2014 through to mid-2015 the airline will begin refurbishing its Boeing 777-200 fleet with the latest business class, premium economy and economy seats to bring them up to the same standard as the 777-300 series.
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