Abrelosojos From Venezuela, joined May 2005, 5156 posts, RR: 54 Posted (7 years 11 months 1 week 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 20874 times:
Feedback always appreciated.
Trip Report: 041
Flight Category: Y-DSR (See Report End)
SDT/SAT/Delay: 0800/0850/00:50 hrs
Flight: Air Rarotonga GZ 612, 163 miles
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)
Airport - Internal:
(Where I slept)
(Entire domestic terminal)
(Waiting area – at one with nature – very PACIFIC)
Scenes of the tarmac:
(NZ which brought me to RAR from AKL earlier)
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.
(Taken upon disembarkation @ AIT)
Views from Aircraft:
(Tight to say the least)
Seat Recline + Angle View:
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)
d) Inflight Entertainment:
No IFE. No magazine.
(In-flight magazines, Boarding Passes, etc.)
Lone FA was gracious and had an award-winning smile.
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)
(Singers welcome you @ AIT)
(Outside of AIT International)
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.
Buck3y3nut From United States of America, joined Jul 2006, 887 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (7 years 11 months 1 week 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 20772 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...
Abrelosojos From Venezuela, joined May 2005, 5156 posts, RR: 54
Reply 12, posted (7 years 10 months 2 weeks 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 19085 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 . 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.
Mortyman From Norway, joined Aug 2006, 4751 posts, RR: 1
Reply 15, posted (3 years 11 months 1 week 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 7689 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 ?