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Air Rarotonga GZ 612: 09/OCT/07: RAR-AIT: Y Cabin  
User currently offlineAbrelosojos From Venezuela, joined May 2005, 5014 posts, RR: 55
Posted (6 years 1 month 1 week 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 18171 times:

Feedback always appreciated.

Trip Report: 041
Flight Category: Y-DSR (See Report End)
Date: 09-Oct-07
SDT/SAT/Delay: 0800/0850/00:50 hrs
Flight: Air Rarotonga GZ 612, 163 miles
Routing: RAR-AIT
Aircraft: SF3
Seat: Economy, 3A

I > Background:

Ok, I am back! After taking a sabbatical from trip reports for 5 months, here is the first installation from a series of trip reports. Mid-August to mid-November 2007 saw the craziest of my travel plans. 69 flights totalling 175,028 kms on 35 airlines, visiting 49 airports in 34 countries in all 6 continents. And, here is the best part … all of them were part of a 4 month break from life … pure vacation, and pure food for the mind, body, and soul. Together, they mounted to 21/2 round-the-worlds that was truly insane. As usual, all long haul flights were on Business or First Class; short haul was on Economy Class.

While there have been a couple of TR’s on GZ’s “cash cow” route, I have not seen one in over 3 years and thought it was time to come with an updated review of GZ and its operations.

II > Pre-Flight:

a) Before Airport:
Air Rarotonga is the lifeline of the far flung atolls that make up Cook Islands. It provides essential services linking a variety of islands and has upto 6 flights daily on the popular Rarotonga (capital) to Aitutaki (most famous atoll) run. This flight is filled with day trippers, honeymooners, and essentially anyone else looking for a slice of (unfortunately) much discovered paradise.

Air Rarotonga should serve as a model for those bigger airlines who think a web-based reservation system is difficult to build and operate. I was pleasantly surprised at the very functional RADIXX platformed website (www.airraro.com), where I could chose my flight, pay with my foreign credit card, and have an e-ticket generated and sent via email within seconds. Additionally, one could go to the website to edit/view/modify/print the reservation as well. The only thing I could not do was seat selection … which for such a small airline, it didn’t really matter.

b) At Airport:
Now I had arrived past midnight on NZ and had an overnight wait at RAR. It was the ONLY time in my life where I had the ENTIRE international gateway to a country all to myself. No security whatsoever. After taking several pictures to mark the moment, I surprisingly slept like a baby and was woken up by the morning janitor. RAR is a pleasant airport and the domestic side of the terminal has all the hallmarks of Pacific charm … open chairs, birds and dogs wandering about, etc. I was the first to check-in … which involved being weighed in (aaw) … and then the super 21st century boarding pass being issued instantly. The agent was great and we talked a lot about holding a Liechtenstein passport and being in Cook Islands.

Boarding was “announced” by the departure gate being opened and passengers just rushing to the aircraft via a short walk on the tarmac. Upon boarding, the single FA greeted me with a warm smile as I made it to my seat 3A.

Airport - External:

(Rarotonga International – Domestic side of the terminal)
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/GZ%20612/001.jpg

Check-in:

(At 4am)
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/GZ%20612/002.jpg

http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/GZ%20612/003.jpg

Airport - Internal:

(Where I slept)
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/GZ%20612/004.jpg

(Entire domestic terminal)
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/GZ%20612/005.jpg

(Waiting area – at one with nature – very PACIFIC)
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/GZ%20612/006.jpg

Scenes of the tarmac:

(NZ which brought me to RAR from AKL earlier)
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/GZ%20612/007.jpg

http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/GZ%20612/008.jpg

Lounge

NONE

Boarding:

http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/GZ%20612/009.jpg

III> In-Flight:

a) Service Schedule + Impressions:
Coffee or juice after takeoff.

b) Aircraft + Seats:
Of the many turbo-props in the market, I am a sucker for the SF3 because I find them relatively quieter and faster. This well-maintained GZ SF3 was no exception. However, I found the legroom extremely tight and the seat had no recline.

Aircraft:

(Taken upon disembarkation @ AIT)
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/GZ%20612/010.jpg

Views from Aircraft:

(Scenic takeoff)
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/GZ%20612/011.jpg

http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/GZ%20612/012.jpg

Seat Leg-Room:

(Tight to say the least)
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/GZ%20612/013.jpg

Seat Recline + Angle View:

http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/GZ%20612/014.jpg

Cabin:

http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/GZ%20612/015.jpg

http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/GZ%20612/016.jpg

c) Meal + Beverage:
Coffee was excellent. I was hoping there would be a small snack served … but no such luck. I should take a moment to talk about the intoxicated Australian on the seat in front of me who demanded he be served alcohol. When the FA apologized for not having any for the 8am flight, his exact words were, “that’s just bollocks. I f***ing paid a lot of money for this flight.” Some people.

(Café with my inflight magazine from Air Caledonie flight)
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/GZ%20612/017.jpg

d) Inflight Entertainment:

No IFE. No magazine.

(In-flight magazines, Boarding Passes, etc.)

http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/GZ%20612/018.jpg

e) Crew:
Lone FA was gracious and had an award-winning smile.

IV> Post-Flight:

Aitutaki International airport is even smaller than Raro and you are pleasantly welcomed like in RAR with a man playing music. A tractor brings in the bags and leaves them on the ground for you to pick up. All very efficient.

(Commencing descent to Aitutaki lagoon)
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/GZ%20612/019.jpg

http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/GZ%20612/020.jpg

http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/GZ%20612/021.jpg

http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/GZ%20612/022.jpg

(Aitutaki Airport)
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/GZ%20612/023.jpg

(Singers welcome you @ AIT)
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/GZ%20612/024.jpg

(Baggage claim)
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/GZ%20612/025.jpg

(Outside of AIT International)
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/GZ%20612/026.jpg

V> Impressions + Scores:

Short flight with low expectations. I wanted to share with A.Netters an Air Raro flight rather than make a commentary. For the routing in question, GZ provided all one can ask for … clean, efficient, on-time service. The bonus was a smiling member of the crew who took pride in her job. Definitely would fly with them again.

1.0 > RESERVATION: 9.0
2.0 > CHECK-IN: 9.0
0.5 > LOUNGE: N/A
0.5 > BOARDING: 7.5
2.0 > SEAT: 5.0
0.5 > AIRCRAFT OVERALL AMBIENCE: 6.0
1.0 > IFE: 2.0
2.0 > CREW: 8.0
2.0 > FOOD: 1.0
0.5 > BEVERAGES: 5.0
0.5 > A.KITS + OTHER FREEBIES: 5.0
0.5 > DISEMBARKATION: 8.0
1.0 > ON-TIME RECORD: 10.0
WEIGHTED OVERALL IMPRESSION (WOI): 6.13
(Pre-flight WOI of all reviews: 6.43)
* Weighted Overall Impression (WOI) aligns scores with what matters most. Weights are indicated alongside each category.

(Scores are based on comparison with other airlines in THAT class of service – No comparison of Y vs. F for example)

VI> Other Trip Reports:

PREMIUM:
8.56: Paramount Airways (38): BLR-MAA: 09/2007
8.11: Aeroflot (33): MOW-DEL: 09/2007
8.04: Korean Air (40): NRT-ICN: 10/2007
8.02: Delta Airlines (24): JFK-CDG: 08/2007
7.82: Singapore Airlines (06): EWR-SIN: 09/2006
6.93: Delta Airlines (18): SEA-JFK: 11/2006
6.81: Air Canada (17): ICN-YYZ: 10/2006
6.70: KLM: EBB-AMS: 08/2007
5.75: Singapore Airlines (16): CCU-SIN: 10/2006
4.42: Air France: CDG-JNB (25): 08/2007

ECONOMY: Long + Medium:
7.38: Avianca (01): BOG-LIM: 07/2006
6.26: Jet Blue (21): CUN-JFK: 02/2007
6.06: Air Canada (04): YYZ-YVR: 09/2006
5.89: USA 3000 (19): PUJ-BDL: 01/2007
5.46: TAP Air Portugal (23): OSL-LIS: 05/2007

ECONOMY: Short
8.24: Kingfisher (14): IXA-GAU: 10/2006
7.87: Indian (34): BOM-MAA: 09/2007
7.72: Alliance Air (13): CCU-IXA: 10/2006
7.57: Indian Airlines (10): DEL-CCU: 09/2006
7.23: West Jet (03): YYC-YVR: 09/2006
7.15: JetLite (37): BOM-GOI: 09/2007
6.70: Spice Jet (09): CCU-DEL: 09/2006
6.58: Air Tran (02): EWR-MDW: 08/2006
6.44: CO Micronesia (39): ROR-YAP: 10/2007
6.33: Kenya Airways (29): NBO-BJM: 08/2007
6.31: Indigo (15): GAU-CCU: 10/2006
6.22: Air Link Swazi (28): MTS-JNB: 08/2007
6.22: Air India (36): HYD-BOM: 09/2007
6.13: Adam Air (07): SIN-CGK: 09/2006
6.13: Air Rarotonga (41): RAR-AIT: 10/2007
6.00: Transairways (27): INH-MPM: 08/2007
5.95: Air Canada (05): ALB-YYZ: 09/2006
5.85: SAS Norge (22): OSL-AES: 05/2007
5.81: LAM Mozambique (26): JNB-MPM: 08/2007
5.69: Air Deccan (12): IXZ-CCU: 10/2006
5.67: Rwanda Air Exp (30): KGL-NBO: 08/2007
5.07: Go Air (35): MAA-HYD: 09/2007
4.96: Valuair (08): CGK-SIN: 09/2006
4.74: Fly 540 (31): MYD-LAU: 08/2007
4.33: Viva Aerobus (20): ELP-MTY: 02/2007
4.11: Air Sahara (11): CCU-BOM: 09/2006

(Note on Codes: Y – Economy, J – Business, F – First :: I/D – International/Domestic :: SR/MR/LR – Short/Medium/Long Haul)

VII> Other Pictures:

It has now become customary to share some images of the place I went to. Hope everyone enjoys!

(Oh no! Starbucks in paradise.)
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/GZ%20612/027.jpg

(Aitutaki Lagoon)
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/GZ%20612/028.jpg

http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/GZ%20612/029.jpg

http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/GZ%20612/030.jpg

http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/GZ%20612/031.jpg

(If this is not picture postcard, what is?)
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/GZ%20612/032.jpg

http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/GZ%20612/033.jpg

http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/GZ%20612/034.jpg

http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/GZ%20612/035.jpg

(And these 2 ladies gossiping and smiling in Rarotonga signified the best asset of the Cook Islands … its warm and gracious people!)
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/GZ%20612/036.jpg


Live, and let live.
15 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineMilesDependent From Australia, joined Sep 2001, 854 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (6 years 1 month 1 week 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 18089 times:

Great report and photos. I always enjoy reading about your travels! You really go to a lot of interesting places

User currently offlineBuck3y3nut From United States of America, joined Jul 2006, 876 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (6 years 1 month 1 week 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 18069 times:

wow, just wow... amazing pictures from the cook islands... Another fantastic trip report my friend and again, I enjoyed it thoroughly. Thank you very much for writing this report and sharing it with us...
Saurabh


User currently offlineStevePER From Australia, joined May 2004, 74 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (6 years 1 month 1 week 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 17984 times:

Fantastic report on an exotic airline... thanks for posting! Sounds like a wonderful trip.


"You're like Icarus - always wanting to fly."
User currently offlineDALCE From Netherlands, joined Feb 2007, 1661 posts, RR: 7
Reply 4, posted (6 years 1 month 1 week 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 17777 times:

WOW, that is really paradise on earth! What an amazing nature!
Thanks for sharing!!

Cheers,
D-ALCE



flown on : F50,F70,CR1,CR2,CR9,E75,143,AR8,AR1,733,735,736,73G,738,753,744,319,320,321,333,AB6.
User currently offlineAirbuseric From Netherlands, joined Jan 2005, 4207 posts, RR: 51
Reply 5, posted (6 years 1 month 1 week 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 17697 times:

A truly great report, with very beautiful pictures of these islands! And flying the Saab 340 around such places is even better  Wink You won't get on one soon nowadays.


"The whole world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going"
User currently offlineBA319-131 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 8430 posts, RR: 55
Reply 6, posted (6 years 1 month 1 week 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 17652 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Loved those pictures, the Cook Islands sure look like the place to relax, paraside indeed!

Loved the waiting area at RAR, looks perfect for spotters - bit quiet movement wise though!

Regards

Mark



111,732,3,4,5,7,8,BBJ,741,742,743,744,752,762,763,764,772,773,77W,L15,D10,30,40,AB3,AB6,A312.313,319,320,321,332,333,342
User currently offlineChristao17 From Thailand, joined Apr 2005, 934 posts, RR: 8
Reply 7, posted (6 years 1 month 1 week 4 days ago) and read 17315 times:

Awesome airport terminals! I can't imagine anything more relaxing than sitting out in the breeze watching the planes.


Keeping the "civil" in civil aviation...
User currently offlineB747forever From Sweden, joined May 2007, 17004 posts, RR: 10
Reply 8, posted (6 years 1 month 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 17021 times:

Brilliant TR

The pics are really good.

What a "exotic" TR. First time I read a TR about Air Rarotonga, and the airports are no exception.

Just a question, why do you have a Liechtenstein passport?? Have to be pretty funny to have such passport when you visit so "remote" places.



Thank you for sharing

B747forever



Work Hard, Fly Right
User currently offlineKiramakora From Argentina, joined Aug 2006, 546 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (6 years 1 month 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 16817 times:

As always, an excellent report. Alex, you need to write the subsequent ones when you have time! I am dying for your reports from 2008; especially the TAM F class one!

User currently offlineA342 From Germany, joined Jul 2005, 4675 posts, RR: 3
Reply 10, posted (6 years 1 month 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 16743 times:

So where's the Air Caledonie TR? I'd really like to read it.


Exceptions confirm the rule.
User currently offlineXA744 From Mexico, joined Mar 2004, 734 posts, RR: 3
Reply 11, posted (6 years 1 month 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 16731 times:

Hey Alex, your TRs are always exhilarating... absolutely breathtaking !!!

I do envy you.... world traveller !!!...


... What is it that you on earth are doing for a living ???... Any vacancies at your company ???


Best regards



No matter how you fly...just never get your wings clipped !
User currently offlineAbrelosojos From Venezuela, joined May 2005, 5014 posts, RR: 55
Reply 12, posted (6 years 2 weeks 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 16382 times:



Quoting A342 (Reply 10):
So where's the Air Caledonie TR? I'd really like to read it.

= Well. Unfortunately, it will not be from me  Sad. I cannot seem to find the SD Card with the pictures on them. Lo siento.

Quoting XA744 (Reply 11):
... What is it that you on earth are doing for a living ???... Any vacancies at your company ???

= I work as an airline economist primarily focussed on new route development. Sure, come join us ... though, Caracas is not a huge office.

Quoting XA744 (Reply 11):
Hey Alex, your TRs are always exhilarating... absolutely breathtaking !!!

= Muchas gracias.

Quoting B747forever (Reply 8):
Just a question, why do you have a Liechtenstein passport?? Have to be pretty funny to have such passport when you visit so "remote" places.

= I wish I could count the number of times I have been asked this question on A.Net ... I was born to a Spanish-Venezuelan dad and British-Canadian mom in Liechtenstein ... where she was born as well ... so hence an eclectic collection of passports.

Cheers,
A.



Live, and let live.
User currently offlineAnalog From United States of America, joined Jul 2006, 1900 posts, RR: 1
Reply 13, posted (6 years 1 week 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 16162 times:



Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):

(Aitutaki Airport)

New sign. Certainly easier to read than the old one, but not as neat looking (the old one had the text carved into wood: "Welcome to Aitutaki International Airport")

Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
(If this is not picture postcard, what is?)

I swear I got a picture of the same exact tree.


User currently offlineAirPacific747 From Denmark, joined May 2008, 2314 posts, RR: 21
Reply 14, posted (2 years 1 month 2 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 5427 times:

Quoting Analog (Reply 13):
New sign. Certainly easier to read than the old one, but not as neat looking (the old one had the text carved into wood: "Welcome to Aitutaki International Airport")

As seen in my trip report from the same flight just a few years earlier:

Once In A Lifetime: RAR-AIT Flight In Paradise (by AirPacific747 Jul 30 2005 in Trip Reports)

http://i20.photobucket.com/albums/b250/freddy513/IMG_1666.jpg


User currently offlineMortyman From Norway, joined Aug 2006, 3701 posts, RR: 1
Reply 15, posted (2 years 1 month 2 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 4986 times:

Thanx for this TR. always nice to see a TR from Air Rarotonga and the Cook islands. Certainly not an everyday occurance here on A. net.

I have been lucky and been to the Cook islands twice ( wich is a long way from Norway ). Last time I flew with Air Rarotonga I also got to be a passenger on their Embraer EMB110P1 Bandeirante ... ( Saab 340 to Aituttaki and the Embraer EMB110P1 Bandeirante on the return to Rarotonga ) It was pretty cool to fly on the Embraer EMB110P1 Bandeirante between Aitutaki and Rarotonga during the evening in the dark. Were'nt allowed to use flash on the camera on that flight as it would be problematic for the pilot in front ...  


Have you gotten to fly the Embraer EMB110P1 Bandeirante with Air Rarotonga ?


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