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Domestic New Zealand Trip Report

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  • Domestic New Zealand Trip Report


    I did these flights just over a month ago so my apologies for the delay (I hope you are listening Brent!)

    Flight 1

    Wellington - Auckland
    Air New Zealand

    Well, this flight had the vile departure time of 0630 hrs. Picked up my boss enroute to the airport and arrived about 40 mins before departure. Went to join the queue for check-in and an agent came over and asked if we were frequent flyers - We said yes as we were and she said do you have any bags to check in and we didn't. She pulled us away from the queue and bought our attention to the automated check-in kiosks. We used these and put in our airpoints cards (Air NZ Frequent Traveller Programme) and it asks your destination (All via a touch screen process) and then it brings up your booking. We amended our seats to the exit row and organised to sit together instead of 4 rows apart (We booked seperatly you see)

    Then we proceeded to the Koru Lounge, which in Wellington affords magnificent views of the runway, however the only traffic at that time of the morning was the 4 departing 737's to Australia (Air NZ x 2, 1 to Melbourne, 1 to Sydney, Qantas x 2, 1 to Sydney 1 to Brisbane) (Wellington has 2 waves of "International Flights" 6am - 7am to Australia and then 3pm - 4pm Australia, the arrivals in 2 waves also 2pm - 3pm and then 1130pm - 0300am)
    anyhoo in the lounge there was the standard breakfast buffet of Air NZ's which consisted of hot and cold items.

    We were called to board (The Koru Lounge boards last), took the elevator down and went through security and boarded the flight. It was 100% full which surprised me for a 630am departure but then noticed there was a rugby team on board.

    We took off to the north and the Air NZ Express class serviced commenced which was a tea/coffee service with a cookie and a "keepable" mug. I really missed not having a meal on this 1 hour flight as that's what I was used to but drifting in and out of sleep it wasn't a problem. Also I noted that the normal 4 f/a's has been reduced to 3 now (Maybe the 8 Business Class seats they used to have meant they needed an extra f/a to service them?)

    Basically a non-eventful flight, landed in Auckland and then to a course for 2 days.

    Flight 2

    Auckland - Wellington
    Qantas Airways

    Checked in for this flight at the Qantas Terminal about 5pm (The old Ansett New Zealand Terminal) and proceeded upstairs through security to the gate only to find one million people (okay a slight over statement) waiting for the flight but then I noticed that there were 3 QF planes waiting to depart (Which is strange QF only have 4 planes in NZ (based there) and on a weekday Wellington and Christchurch are the only cities served. It turns out that a Christchurch flight had been delayed so there was a duel boarding call for the Christchurch flights and absolute chaos ensued - No one knew which gate for which Christchurch flight (Qantas only has 2 gates in Auckland next to each other - about 25 meters apart!!)

    They then annoucned the Wellington flight and we all had to descend the stairs to the ground level, through a locked door (I beleive this is where the Origin Pacific flights ex Auckland board from) and on the tarmac and up the stairs to the plane (Interesting note - the stairs were branded Air NZ - I thought Qantas did there own handling in Auckland - I guess I was wrong)

    Boarded the plane, given a newspaper and a headset and proceeded to our seats. We took off with no delay and once airbourne an episode of "Kath and Kim" ( A vile comedy from Australia which I just love to death ) played and enroute we were served a cooked meal which consisited of a baby salad with raspberry dressing, salmon with peas and corns and free wine or beer (I might have had a few wines enroute but that's a whole different story.....)

    Flight 3

    Wellington - Auckland

    Well, what a fekkin day this turned out to be - Turned up at the airport at 8am for a 910am departure, then this fekkin cloud descended upon the airport and it was closed.......

    Ding Dong "Passengers on Qantas flight XX please collect your luggage from the carousel and check in for the next flight to Auckland...... I did this 3 times!!!

    4 Domestic Airlines serve Wellington (Scheduled Service), and 4 different situations...

    1) Air NZ - Check in was supsended for all flights, they repeatedly came over the intercom and told people to stay away from the check-in counters. When a plane actually made it in, they would call the following flight for them to check-in. Passengers connecting in Auckland for International flights (NZ's main gateway airport) they sent on buses to Palmerston North and flew them to Auckland from there - However because on an accident on the motorway, they were running late and all Cathay/Singapore Airlines/Thai Airlines and Air NZ Perth passengers missed their connecting flights.

    2) Origin Pacific - Everytime they cancelled a flight they just came over the intercom "Your flight has been cancelled, collect your luggage and ring an 0800 number for rebooking!!"

    3) Air Chathams - Their Convair made it in so no delays.....

    4) Qantas - They made us pick up our bags and then check-in for the next flight - they did this 3 times. And then they closed the check-in full stop until a plane finally made it in.

    I spent 11 hours at the airport that day watching nil traffic, well 3 props land and depart). I went to the Qantas Lounge and asked if they sell day passes and the lady at the counter said no. I was sad, but then she said that I was the first that offered to pay to enter as everyone else was just demanding to be let in, so she gave me a one day pass - THANK YOU QANTAS!!!

    Finally the plane arrived and we boarded and surprising the load was only about 80% (I thought it would have been full seeing 6 flights has been cancelled)

    We took off, launched sky bound and the service began. Again a comedy (I didn't watch it...) and a full meal service again. We had again a salad, grilled veges and steak which was actually damned good. Again free acohol was served.

    Flight 4

    Auckland - Wellington
    Air New Zealand

    Well, from the outset I knew that this was going to be a long day - I was booked to fly Auckland - Wellington - Christchurch - Invercargill - Stewart Island in one day

    Well, I arrived at Auckland with heaps of time to spare (so I thought) Check in via the kiosks and got checked all the way to Invercargill, headed up to the Koru Lounge, made myself a sammy and THEN they called boarding (damn it, I was hungry!)

    Anyhoo seated my self in the exit row and opened my book and the crew came over and told me that i was in an exit row and in the event of a "crash" I would be required to assist and was I ready for that! LOL - Cracked me up, I knew what they meant but have never had it told to me like that before.

    Anyways, we took off and the express service of tea/coffee/cookie ensued and before long we descended into Wellington. We landed and I ran off the plane and into the Koru Lounge where a friend of mine was waiting who was on the next three flights with me.

    Flight 5

    Wellington - Christchurch
    Air New Zealand

    Left the Koru Lounge to board the flight where I took the seat I had (Same plane, same crew by the way......) on the previous flight.

    This flight is scheduled for 45 mins in a jet, but in reality you are only in the air for about 30 mins, the express service on this flight is all you really need.

    The flights was rough as, so all inflight service was cancelled, the crew had to stay seated the whole way as well as the guests.

    Landed and again headed to the Koru Lounge.

    Flight 6

    Christchurch - Invercargill
    Air New Zealand Link (Mount Cook Airlines)

    Boarded this flight via the tarmac (gotta love that - we were parked right next to a QF 747-300 (I think it was a 300 anyways) and took our seats - A little cramped but we are both over 6 foot so not a surprise to be honest.

    Again it was express service and on a 1 hour 10 minute flight I found it hard. Look, I know that you don't need service on a flight this short but I grew up with Air NZ and Ansett NZ and you used to get full meals - I miss it on Air NZ.

    The flight was smooth the whole way and when we landed in Invercargill we taxi'ed to the terminal and the the funniest thing happened, they extended the airbridge (The only on in Invercargill) and then lowered it, and with the help of a little metal ramp we were connected... I tell ya, it was an uphill climb into the terminal.

    Flight 7

    Invercargill - Stewart Island
    Stewart Island Flights
    Britten Norman Islander

    Well, after we landed we went and checked in for our flight to Stewart Island, no boarding passes - just an acknowledgement that you were indeed in the terminal, we boarded the plane and saw 5 cats loaded as well.

    We took off and only managed an altitude of 3000' on the way and had a fekkin magnificent view on Oban (The "township") on arrival and then landed at "Ryans Creek International Airfield" where we were met by a van from the airline, from where they transfer you all into "town", to the post office.

    Flight 8

    Stewart Island - Invercargill
    Stewart Island Flights
    Piper Something - or - rather

    Well, we checked in for this flight at the Post Office in Stewart Island (As everyone does) and then we were all shuttled to the "airfield" and awaited the arrival for the aircraft from Invercargill. The plane landed and we realised that it wasn't the scheduled flight we were on, but still boarded as requested.

    Once onboard the captain apoligises and says we have had to change the plane as enroute we have to make an unscheduled stop over and pick up some passengers....

    Anyhoo, not even in the air for 10 mins, we land on a beach "read airstrip", 3 people hop on, and then we are off to Invercargill.

    Flight 9

    Dunedin - Christchurch
    Origin Pacific

    We enroute to the airport the shuttle we were in had a accident, the stupid driver backed into a stationary car. Well of kinds of poop ensued and we called other shuttle companys and taxi but no one had a car near we were to get us to we called the airline. They basically said "to bad , how sad, buy another ticket"

    Well, then this goddess descended (The owner of the shuttle company) and took us to the airport in her car. We called Origin again and they said they would see what they could do now that we were enroute.

    We arrived at the airport and all the Origin Staff were standing curb side calling our names. They gave us our boarding passes, told us to run to the plane as it's waiting for us. No checked luggage, no security check and then we boarded the plane, tryed stowing our bags which we couldn't do as there was no room, so the attendent took them and stowed them outside somewhere....

    We took off for Christchurch about 2 mins later where onboard there was a bakery service and drinks, tea/coffee/water.

    We landed in Christchurch and that's when I found out that Origin has it's own waiting lounge their, I was rather suprised. I guess Christchurch is there major hub (Yes I know that they are based in Nelson) but from Christchurch they have flights to Invercargill, Queenstown, Dunedin, Nelson, Wellington and Rotorua)

    Flight 10

    Origin Pacific
    Dash 8-100

    We board this plane, and I was so happy as I hadn't been on one for a whiles.

    Again we had a problem with the luggage not fitting anywheres (Because of the "no check-in" in Dunedin but the f/a took it in her stride and threw them out of the door (I guess someone, stowed them somewhere as when we landed in Nelson they were at the base of the stairs awaiting me to retirieve them)

    We did the standard dash-8 (Time off on a dime) departure and we got to talking to the f/a who did the bakery run with tea/coffee/water again and she took us that Origin are getting rid of the dash 8's and she didn't know if she would be retrained for another aircraft or not.

    What is sad is that I was sad that the dash's were being phased out, not her possibly losing her job (Shame boy)

    Anyhoo, we landed in Nelson and .....

    Flight 11

    Nelson - Wellington
    Origin Pacific

    .... no longer were we in the terminal (Again Origin Pacific has it's own terminal in Nelson) and our final flight back home (Wellington) was called to board.

    We boarded and noted that there were only 4 passenger on board including (Obviously not a cash cow flight huh).

    Enroute we had a water service and that's all, but you are only in the air for about 20 mins anyways.

    YAY home again.

    Over all,

    I miss Air NZ's inflight service and I just don't like not getting serviced on a flight but there is nothing one can do about that.

    Air NZ staff were fantasic, they may not service anymore, but the staff were just grat.

    Qantas Airways were okay, neither here or there, but liked being fed a meal.

    Origin Pacific were just great, personable, chatting to all the pensioners on board and making them feel comforatble, I'll fly them again in the seats are cheaper in future as was the case in the homeward leg.

    Stewart Island Flights has no inflight service but the pilots are hardcases, who josh you around before take off, and make the short flight just that little bit more interested.

    I hope I haven't bored anyone but needed to get this trip report off my chest and to shut up Brent in Sydney who keeps bugging me to write it....

  • #2
    Great report! Very informative.
    Last time I flew ANZ was in January 1998 on AKL-HKG in Business class on one of their old 742s. Great trip. Excellent service, food, comfort, and pretty good IFE......