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NZ Trip Report: MEL-AKL-CHC-ZQN | AKL-MEL  
User currently offlineSkystar From Australia, joined Jan 2000, 1363 posts, RR: 3
Posted (12 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 4112 times:

MEL-AKL-CHC-ZQN | AKL-MEL



I took a trip over to New Zealand for a fortnight to see as much of New Zealand in two weeks. The tickets were booked on Ansett almost a year ago; a mixture of reward and discount tickets, business & economy class. Because of the way payment occurs with codeshares, Air New Zealand hasn’t received payment from Ansett (funds do not move until passenger has actually travelled). Luckily we weren’t travelling in the few days after the Ansett demise, when Air NZ refused to honour tickets on Ansett “090” ticket stock, so we made without a hitch. We saw four schedule changes since our initial booking, but they were worth it. I managed to snare an extra business class sector, and Air New Zealand ended up paying for lodging and meals because of the final schedule change (requiring us to stay in AKL for a night) – the final schedule was actually quite similar to our original plan.
This was my first trip on NZ and I have to say I’ve been quite impressed.

As per usual for my trip reports, I’ve used the following format:

Flight number. Departure-Arrival. Scheduled departure-arrival time. Aircraft type (registration).
Actual departure-arrival time. Takeoff time. Landing time. Flight time. Schedule integrity L=late/OT=on time/E=early. Load
Seat. Video. Audio. Meals. Menu.
Grade.


19 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineSkystar From Australia, joined Jan 2000, 1363 posts, RR: 3
Reply 1, posted (12 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 4036 times:

NZ124. MEL-AKL SCH1115-1645. 767-204 (ZK-NBJ)
ACT1122-1649. TO1132. LDG1640. FT3:27 0:07L/0:04L 195/196 pax
SEAT10A. VID:Y AUD: Y MLS: L MENU: Y
GRADE: A+



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Click here for full size photo!

Photo © Glen Reid



I don’t want to start on a bad note, but check in at Melbourne was not a particularly impressive affair. Because we had a business class ticket in our travelling party (thanks to the four schedule changes and a confused reservations agent – Economy became Business, who could complain?), we went to the business desk (for priority tagging) for checkin. Air New Zealand had two desks for business class for its three flights to AKL, CHC and WLG that morning. A NZ Gold Elite member was locking up one desk for ages, effectively halving the available checkin capacity, while the earnest agent tried to do her best in securing whatever he had wanted. The other agent, a youngish woman was fairly indifferent, responding to my request to put a frequent flyer number in with a “it’s not my problem”. I tried to put the numbers through at the service desk, but the agent was unable to do so – the lady said she’d get someone to put the numbers in later (nope, didn’t happen). With Qantas being the ground handling agent for Air New Zealand, why am I not surprised. Economy Class checkin was much faster. So the first benefit of faster checkin in Business Class was a waste, and the second of priority tagging would be made redundant (however, not because of Air New Zealand).

After dawdling around MEL trying to find a decent camera and giving up, we made our way through customs into the passengers only area. I visited the Air New Zealand International Lounge, which whilst small was nicely appointed, with some good shortbread and plenty of reading material. Unfortunately there was no internet access. I had a drink and then asked the lady manning the desk whether I could change my FF number (as AN Global Rewards wasn’t of much use), to which she said no. I found this somewhat amazing, but I didn’t push it. When flying Air New Zealand and you want to change or put in your frequent flyer number – ring reservations. I did so off the Picton-Wellington ferry and it worked fine.

I tried to quickly book an Ansett flight on the net kiosk outside the lounge, but it was having problems with the secure AN site (when will kiosks operate something more modern than Netscape V2.0?), so I gave up as I needed to rush to the gate to board. I was amongst the last to board, but that meant a shorter queue.

Whilst the ground experience had been disappointing, onboard with genuine Air New Zealand service was going to turn the tables around. On boarding the ‘767 Albino’ (del 03/85) I was greeted by a friendly flight attendant. Attendants were helping pax load baggage into the overhead lockers, while scenic videos and instrumental music played in the background.

I made myself comfortable in 10A, which on ZK-NBJ (ex Britannia) was the best seat available in Economy Class. Although it was a bulkhead window seat (a cupboard was in front of the seat), it had a good deal more legroom than other seats, because there was a recess or cutout at the bottom of the wall, providing plenty of legroom, or lots of stowage space. For seat 10B, there was a small area cut out on the bulkhead, which could be used as a table (useful when needing to go to the toilet when the trays have not yet been cleared). As bulkhead seats, they had the very adjustable footrest which comes out from the front of the seat (most airlines just don’t bother with footrests, especially in bulkhead rows). The bases of NZ Y seats move forward as you recline your seat (a feature I’ve only come across on the SQ772), and quite frankly are the best economy class seats in the world – even though they were introduced 6 years ago. When I have legroom, I couldn’t care less about PTVs. On my return, something changed to 10A& B – you’ll have to read the trip report on NZ125 below to find out.

Three minutes after pushback, we had started up and were ready to taxi right down to RWY34, a 7 minute trip. After turning onto the runway, the CF6s were spooled up a bit, before accelerating to maximum thrust. The takeoff roll wasn’t bad, and we rotated just prior to the tower, climbing quite well thanks to Flap 1. According to the inflight map, we had 3:15 to go. Here are some tech details:

TECH
BRW 136,000 LDW121,000 FOB 22,000 BURN 15,000
V1/R/2: 147/150/155. VREF 135. VAPP 142
FLAP 1, TO-N1 103.9
CRZ FL370


Once we were well into the climb, the cabin crew came around serving drinks, nothing particularly exciting (nothing wrong with it – standard fare). Shortly after, lunch was served, consisting of juice, water, bread roll & butter, roasted tomato relish, minted potato salad with greens, cheese & crackers and a choice of a lamb and tomato parcel (filo pastry) or a Italian calzone filled with vegetables. The lamb was excellent, very impressive for something that was cooked in New Zealand (yes, not Australia, read on for more) hours and hours ago. Pastry was fresh, lamb definitely tasted like lamb and was tender, and the flavour was excellent. Unfortunately the serving was a tad small. The service on Air New Zealand is interesting. As soon as the carts come out to the front of the cabin, the flight attendants rip the box and foil paper open, and you can see the hot bread – forget about cold, stale economy class rolls.

Dessert was vanilla Kapiti ice cream, excellent once again. The flight attendants come around with a large “Pacific Class” box, from which you can take the ice cream. Forget about those New Zealand Natural Ice Cream stores we have in Australia, this is the best stuff. It has a very slight yellow tinge, and you can see the black specks of vanilla bean in the ice cream – that’s quality. In fact I went on a wild goose chase round New Zealand trying to find it, but vanilla was eluding me. At 5NZD (not onboard of course) for a 425ml tub, it ought to be good. Aside from tea and coffee offered after meal service, juice was offered later in the flight.

Once everyone had finished the ice cream, cabin crew came around to collect the trays and waste. Later in the flight, the cabin purser came around handing out surveys to interested passengers and checking on things. He was quite a friendly type; when I asked for a pen, he gave it to me and said “you can have that if you want”. The flight attendant who served me lunch was quite cheery and smiley (the service felt genuinely happy) and was good at explaining things. When serving ice cream, there was a nonchalant “take two if you want”. Although newspapers are for Business Class, the flight attendants gave papers to Economy Class passengers. The crew know how to joke around, they seemed quite happy and easy going, and that’s the service I like. Some carriers for instance won’t give papers to Economy Class passengers, because officially they are for Business Class. If they aren’t being read, what’s the use of them sitting in the cupboard up front gathering dust?

Inflight entertainment consisted of 10 audio channels and the movie Very Annie Mary was being screened in Economy, a film I’ve never heard of, and I didn’t bother to watch. It couldn’t’ve been too bad, well an American woman seemed to laugh like a jackass all the way into Auckland.

ZK-NBJ has a slightly different arrangement to the other 767-200s in the Air New Zealand fleet. All the toilets in the Economy Class cabin are located in the centre of the cabin, unlike the others which have two in the middle, and two down the back.

After a short snooze, I decided to visit dad in Business Class and have a chat with the cabin crew up front. They had expressed sympathy for the Ansett staff affected by the collapse, especially for the pilots who often have no qualifications to do anything else. They didn’t ever want “to see Selwyn Cushing’s face round here.” The crew were joking around refusing me entry to Business Class, but they reneged. Business Class pax had been served venison for lunch. After I saw dad, I went back to have a chat. I was once told that Air New Zealand had started to bring its own meals from New Zealand, instead of serving meals by Qantas Inflight Catering (as QF is NZ’s ground agent), as QF’s meals were not meeting NZ’s standards. Having experienced QF catering on an SQ flight from MEL, I knew they weren’t anything scintillating, but had my lingering doubts about the story. So I asked the flight attendant about this, and it was true. Little wonder I seem to only hear praise for NZ’s catering.

Air New Zealand International Flight Attendants are trained on the 767 and 747, and generally speaking don’t like the 767-200 too much, as it’s the smallest, and has small galleys, which pax often have to pass through. Domestic crews operate the 737 international services, so for them an international trip is often a treat.

We began a long descent into Auckland, flying past the city, before heading towards the airport. As per usual, the cabin crew handed out baskets of boiled sweets to kids to hand out to passengers to alleviate any ear pain from the pressure change. We carried an extra 7 knots on the approach for gusts, turning onto final for RWY23L for an ever so 767 thud onto terra firma. Once out of the gate, it was off to customs.

Customs in New Zealand is a sad affair. Although we Aussies are able to share queues with Kiwis, progress is painfully slow. Whilst some of the officers are quite friendly, there aren’t enough of them. Because of this, priority tagging is useless, because by the time you get out, all of the bags are out.

Once we had made our way through customs, exiting into the arrivals area, I noticed a good feature of AKL. The waiting area, just in front of where international arrivals exit customs has a plethora of seats arranged in a cinema like fashion, where relatives, friends and whoever can wait in some comfort. From there on it was to the Air New Zealand service desk to receive our hotel vouchers for the Grand Chancellor (a hotel that does not befit such a name).


User currently offlineSkystar From Australia, joined Jan 2000, 1363 posts, RR: 3
Reply 2, posted (12 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 4022 times:

NZ513. AKL-CHC SCH0750-0910. 737-3U3 (ZK-NGF)
ACT0801-0923. TO0817. LDG0919. FT1:22 0:11L/0:09L 113/122 pax
SEAT21F. VID:N AUD: N MLS: B MENU: Y
GRADE: A



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Click here for full size photo!

Photo © Frank Schaefer



We woke up and early to have breakfast in the hotel (potatoes seem to taste better in NZ), before catching the shuttle to the airport for our flight to Queenstown. Air New Zealand’s domestic terminal is a prehistoric affair, looking like it belongs back in the 1960s, with its ceiling fans, dark interior and antiquated check in desks. This extends to the boarding passes, which are little more than pieces of paper printed by dot matrix printers – no magnetic strips.

Again we went to the Business Class checkin, which was manned by a neutral lady. Although one of the tickets was for “I” (Business redemption) class, the computer had it as “X” (Economy redemption) class. What had happened is that during all the schedule changes, the confused reservations agent accidentally swapped a Business Class AKL-CHC-ZQN (which was only a 1500pt premium over a economy one) to a Business Class MEL-AKL (now, that’s better! – was supposed to be a 15,000 premium!). However, as the ticket clearly said “I” class, we got a business boarding pass and entry into the Koru Club, which was busy at this time of the day. The man at the entrance desk was quite friendly and as per usual there were a selection of snacks, breakfast cereals, teas & coffee and other nibblies. There were plenty of magazines and seats, but it didn’t have the modern feel of Melbourne’s smaller, but nicer lounge. Alcohol was still locked up. It was time to go to Gate 30 for boarding, so off we went.

Gate 30 is probably the most modern part of the Air New Zealand domestic terminal; it actually looks like it belongs in the 1990s. There were a mix of holiday leisure types and business suits, making it for quite a full flight. Business Class was full, with about 9 empty seats in Economy Class. Passengers are able to take magazines from a stand outside the gate to bring onboard, and again a cheery flight attendant took our boarding passes.

I was greeted onboard ZK-NGF (del. 11/98), and made my way all the way down to row 21, the second last row. Somehow our original seat assignment of row 9 was lost. An Air New Zealand 767 captain arrived from Perth made his way down to row 22, surprising me somewhat, but impressing me nevertheless (customers should take precedence – anyway on a hour long hop, Economy Class doesn’t hurt). Seats are similar to the 767, with the folding wings, and thin backs, as well as a small coat hook on the back of the headrest. Seat pitch is about an inch smaller, and the bases don’t move with seat recline. The jet was immaculate, simply the cleanest, best looking 737-300 I have ever been on.

The captain announced we were slightly late, because of the delayed inbound arrival of the aircraft. We taxied down to RWY23L, lining up after a Polynesian 738 with its distinctive winglets, and made a speedy departure. Takeoff was good with a full thrust takeoff, but the 737-300, being the Toyota Corolla, aka dullard of the skies, has a dull takeoff note, which isn’t as special as the A320’s growl. Flaps 1 helped to improve the swift climb. Tech details as always are here:

TECH
BRW 52,010 LDW48,838 FOB 6,010 BURN 3,172
V1/R/2: 138/143/147. VREF 136 (F30). VAPP 13X
FLAP 1, TO-N1 91.0 (20K)
CRZ FL350


It was strange to note that there was no onboard entertainment, on what is one of the longest domestic jet routes in New Zealand. I recalled last year Gary Toomey announcing some improvements to domestic service, including video entertainment onboard. The aircraft was video capable with fold down LCD screens beneath the overhead lockers. The toilets also had Malay or Indonesian text.

Flight attendants came around with breakfast, which was designed by Michael’s Restaurant of Christchurch. This consisted of orange juice, strawberry yoghurt, tomato and mushroom salad and a small pastry filled with pear, bacon and Welsh Rarebit (what that is, I don’t know and I didn’t notice it). Tea and coffee was offered, and once again a bit later. In Economy Class a small menu was given (more of a marketing ploy for the restaurant), but none was given in Business Class.

Once we had begun our descent, trays were removed and we made our way smoothly through the clouds for a normal Flap 30 landing at Christchurch with a small thud, before rolling to Gate 7 for a quick turnaround. We had managed to make up two minutes of lost time.


User currently offlineSkystar From Australia, joined Jan 2000, 1363 posts, RR: 3
Reply 3, posted (12 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 4023 times:

NZ513. CHC-ZQN SCH0940-1030. 737-3U3 (ZK-NGF)
ACT0953-1040. TO0957. LDG1035. FT0:47 0:13L/0:10L 69/122 pax
SEAT4D->1F. VID:N AUD: N MLS: S MENU: N
GRADE: A+



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Click here for full size photo!

Photo © Frank Schaefer



Because we had half an hour at Christchurch with nothing much to do, I went to the NZ desk to get some seating reassigned. Seeing that some 53 seats would be empty, I figured there was no point staying in row 21, so I got the seats reassigned, and hey presto we were in Row 4, the first row of Economy. Despite the fact the flight had closed, the checkin agent got the flight reopened to reassign seats, and this only impressed me further with NZ's service. I thing it's called the cheery factor.

For whatever reason, we lost a few minutes during the turn around, and we boarded. I had lost my window seat with the reallocation, so I went up front to use a Business Class window seat to snap a few pics (saw former Ansett 737-300 VH-CZR in Qantas colours). I let the cabin purser know that I was just there to snap a few pics, and I'd move back as soon he wanted (there were only 3 in the cabin). He thanked me for letting him know, and checked with dispatch to see if it would affect weight & balance, and it didn't, so he just upgraded me. In his words, "what the heck, it's the festive season!" Drinks were offered during boarding in Business Class.

We taxied quickly to the end point of runway 20, taxiing past a despondent looking Ansett 737-300 still in its colours. Takeoff was again fine, despite a small derate (only 5° worth) and Flaps 5 (we were very light aswell). So far I've noticed that they don't like to derate takeoffs much at Air New Zealand, and well I'm not complaining!

TECH
BRW 49,307 LDW47315 FOB 9,007 BURN 1,992
V1/R/2: 120/132/138. VREF 132 (F40). VAPP 13X
FLAP 5, DTO-N1 89.1 (20K/D-TO 35¢XC)
CRZ FL260


We were climbing quite steeply, and the cabin crew began service quickly. Morning tea in Business Class consisted of a toasted croissant filled with cheese and ham, along with a small bowl of fruit, juice and a choc macadamia cookie. I know Economy Class passengers also got the macadamia cookie at least along with a drinks service. Interestingly, when serving tea, the FAs pour the milk in first.

Unfortunately the cloud was covering much of the scenery below. New Zealand's South Island is without doubt one of the most scenic places in this part of the world. Quite frankly, I'd rate it equal or ahead of Switzerland, because this part of the world is still largely untouched. It's also quite funny to see a sheep just standing on top of a steep hill in a national park just chewing grass. They seem to have wild sheep roaming the country.

Descent began, and shortly after the crew came back to remove our trays. It's a pity that Singapore Airlines can't learn from Air New Zealand on such a short flight. CHC-ZQN is comparable to SIN-KUL in terms of sector length, and offers something. On SQ's SIN-KUL you get a tub of juice, smaller than what you'd find in a public hospital, and nothing else. On NZ you get a full drinks service and at least cookie in Economy (probably more, I didn't really check), and a quite normal meal service in Business Class. Before any SQ poster child makes excuses, if there's enough time to serve a tub of juice, there¡¦s enough time to serve a pre packaged muffin, biscuit or whatever. I doubt a cookie will put an airline into financial jeopardy either  Smile

Flaps 40 was a definite for landing, as I had chatted to the friendly captain at Christchurch (his initial response was, "Are you flying the 737 as well?" Secondly with the short runway at Queenstown, and strange approach, you'd want to be as slow as possible. The -300 is harder to stop compared to its -200 predecessor, which had superior reverse thrust.

Back to the scenery. The approach into Queenstown is one of the most scenic and interesting out there. You are surrounded by idyllic mountains (snow capped in winter), hills and lakes. Because of the terrain, a straight in approach on RWY05 is not possible, so the approach involves overflying the airfield, before making a long right hand turn around a hill to the right of the runway (we're talking about a 300°+ turn) for a final approach about the same length as that of the former Kai Tak airport.

Landing was fine, with full reverse thrust, before turning around and backtracking on the runway to head towards the terminal. Befitting its rugged, natural beauty, you deplane at Queenstown via airstairs, instead of a jetway. We may have arrived ten minutes behind schedule, but at a destination like Queenstown, nobody's in a rush.

So my first leg on Air New Zealand and I have been thoroughly impressed. It just felt odd to not have a single bad crew member on any flight, and the cheeriness expressed by Air New Zealand staff at all areas of my travel experience was impressive. The staff factor is really important. Who cares about fancy gadgets and toys, when you have grumps serving you?


User currently offlineSkystar From Australia, joined Jan 2000, 1363 posts, RR: 3
Reply 4, posted (12 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 4029 times:

NZ125. AKL-MEL SCH1530-1730. 767-204 (ZK-NBJ)
ACT1543-1745. TO1555. LDG1738. FT4:02 0:13L/0:15L 192/200 pax
SEAT10A. VID:Y AUD: Y MLS: D MENU: N
GRADE: B+



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Click here for full size photo!

Photo © Jason Milligan



My two week journey in New Zealand came to end with this flight. Over a fortnight, I'd weaved my way from Dunedin in the South up to Paihia and the Bay of Islands in the north. Whatever we say about the Kiwis in Australia, they certainly know how to deliver customer service. Whether it be at Avis, Hertz, the Mercure, some tourist attraction, a small motel, Air New Zealand or whoever, they know how to deliver customer service. Even ordinary folk in the street are great at giving directions.

At Auckland Airport, Air New Zealand had about 4 or 5 checkin desks for all its flights, yet Thai Airways had the same amount for its TG992 service to SYD. Little wonder we had long queues, with slightly confused passengers, because of the system Air New Zealand uses at Auckland. On the monitors you can see which check in desks are for which flights, and the NZ125 service to Melbourne only had one specific desk. Perth had two gates, and a separate queue, which mean for those onboard that 763 a fast check in. In comparison, the Melbourne flight had about 4 other flights sharing the same desks. Passengers were slow to move at the check in end of the queue, as they thought they had to check in at a specific desk. In that case, Air New Zealand should just open all desks to all NZ flights, given that they practically did that anyway (except for the special pax to PER). So, checkin is never a fun experience on NZ, unless you¡¦re in First or Business Class at Auckland with the separate checkin (it's totally separate from the rest of international check in).

Further to the system of check in used, if there's another annoying part to travelling from Auckland, it's the stupid $22 NZD departure fee that they charge. The tax is not what I object to, rather the method by which they collect it. Unlike most airports, where you pay any taxes with your ticket, at Auckland you have to go to the Bank of New Zealand and pay the tax. After that you receive stickers to attach to your boarding pass; a waste of time (who wants to queue in a bank queue after waiting donkeys years in the checkin line?).

Once we had got our departure tax stickers and were at the head of the queue, we went to the Sydney desk to be checked in. The agent spent some time on the phone to see whether they would be accepting Ansett tickets (she must've been on a long holiday, because NZ had been accepting AN 090 tickets for months) and was carefully adding the weight of the bags. She scanned our passports, and then gave express customs passes for everyone except me - it appeared just having some from of a frequent flyer number entitled you to that (having said that, she was never rude, just 'proper' about everything). At customs, this can save some time with the express queue and the customs officer handling us was very friendly and knew how to tease me  Smile

Once we got to gate 3, we waited. I strolled around, snapped a few pics of the albino jet (ZK-NBJ) that was flying us again, and saw the gates at the end of the pier for US flights. At this end of the terminal, there were a second set of x-ray machines, for passengers, their paraphernalia and their shoes on US bound flights. Back at Gate 3, for whatever unknown reason, boarding had been delayed for 30 mins. Nobody said anything, and we weren't moving.

Once boarding commenced, we all got onboard quickly, and it was pretty much the same affair as NZ124, perhaps with less overtly cheery crew. We pushed back 13 minutes late, and I noted that something had changed to 10A and 10B. The cupboard bulkhead that existed previously had disappeared to make way for another two or three rows of economy seats. So I was basically like anyone else in Economy Class, except I had two tray tables, and two footrests. Because it was a bulkhead seat, it had its own footrest out front, and a foldout traytable from the armrest, in addition to the traytable and footrest of the preceding seat.

We taxied to RWY23L again for another quick departure. The derate on this takeoff was minimal, and the effect of Flaps 1 on takeoff was notable with the swift climb. We were 21° nose up, and we'd still be at 16° even if an engine went kaputt on us - a higher pitch angle than the takeoff angle of most jets!

TECH
BRW 129,250 LDW112,250 FOB 24,400 BURN 17,000
V1/R/2: 132/146/150. VREF 13X. VAPP 13X
FLAP 1, D TO-N1 103.3
CRZ FL390


Once we were well established in the climb, meals were offered. This time the choice for the early dinner was either a salmon pie or lamb. I took the lamb, and was offered two pieces in addition to the potato salad, cheese and Arnotts biscuits, and bread and butter. It was quite tender and flavoursome, but again the serving was less than I would have liked (and I'm not a huge eater). The Cabin Manager served me, and was less friendly than others onboard. If anything, it reinforced an impression that a cabin manager can make or break a team, because the crew overall just seemed goodish. Nothing was really wrong, in fact one or two were quite good, but overall they just lacked the sparkle of previous crews.

Dessert was Kapiti ice cream again, this time raspberry (not quite as great as vanilla). A few weeks ago, it would have been tiramisu. The cabin manager just told me in a somewhat abrupt voice that there's only raspberry, and for the rest of the flight, he always seemed to be a little edgy and always in a rush to do things (but, granted, efficient at what he did). When ordering duty free goods, he was quick and efficient in getting an attendant down the rear to bring the goods up front. The movie was Summer Catch.

We were offered the standard fare of drinks, and once in a while a flight attendant would come around offering drinks. When I went back to get another drink, I asked for a newspaper and just wondered what else they had back there. A flight attendant went up to Business Class to find a newspaper for me. Aside from all the medication and kids packs, they also had toothbrushes (some of the better airline toothbrushes - not rock hard like MH's), cards and NZ timetables to name a few, things which are probably never used (the fact that the cards were still in the old NZ scheme dumped in 1996 says something about that!). Even on long haul flights to LAX & LHR, toothbrushes are on request only - they are not available in the toilets unlike SQ or MH. It seemed the crew down the back (who happened to be all female) were better than those serving the front.

During the descent we were advised that it would be raining in Melbourne on arrival. As we descended through the clouds, a small amount of water flew across the windows, and we noticed a few ¡¥curtains¡¦ of rain in the distance, however by the time we landed in Melbourne, everything was quite dry. Coming in from the east meant we had pretty much a straight in approach onto Melbourne's RWY27; a 2286m long runway. Landing was smooth, excellent for 767 (especially by -200 standards) and we gobbled up the whole runway, using little reverse thrust (which surprised me). At the gate, I wanted to have a chat to the crew, and the cabin purser told me to stand aside - seemingly very reluctant to allow me to visit the cockpit crew. Generally speaking I was never impressed by his attitude, as it was totally devoid of warmth, however the flight crew were quite friendly. Despite not being able to give me the flight plan or data sheet, they were happy to fill me in with all the details (interestingly, you can obtain these without problem on domestic flights in NZ).


Click for large version
Click here for full size photo!

Photo © Craig Murray



Went to customs and couldn't find my passport. Eventually found it and went through quickly and got the baggage without a hitch, thanks to the priority tags from the earlier flights. Caught a taxi and went home after two weeks in New Zealand.

I don't like what Air New Zealand did with Ansett; they should've never taken over Ansett. There are people on both sides of the Tasman hurting because of the ineptitude of some, some a hellava lot more than others. My trips with Air New Zealand have reinforced my impression of them. A great airline to fly with, but not a great business.

Hope you enjoyed it.

Cheers,

Justin


User currently offlineKrisworldB777 From Australia, joined Nov 2000, 570 posts, RR: 3
Reply 5, posted (12 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 3988 times:

Great trip report mate....I haven't flown Air NZ since Feb '97 when I took a sojourn across the tasman from perth. That was a few months after the pacific wave scheme was introduced and I share the same thoughts about those pacific class seats.....they're fab, especially with the 34" pitch. The food was great too but the QF catering out of PER seems to be better than SATS out of SIN. Its a pity about the management because Air NZ was once very very well managed but once you get a dickhead of a CEO like Cushing with an ego bigger than John Wayne well you rapidly see things go down the drain. Lets hope that both NZ and AN can get back on their feet soon in friendlier skies.

User currently offlineSkystar From Australia, joined Jan 2000, 1363 posts, RR: 3
Reply 6, posted (12 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 3989 times:

I forgot to add this but I'd like to thank TG992 for helping me with seating!

Cheers,

Justin


User currently offlineBNE From Australia, joined Mar 2000, 3173 posts, RR: 12
Reply 7, posted (12 years 5 months 4 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 3933 times:

Nice report, and agree that NZ$22.00 is rather stupid, there should be an option to pay it as part of the ticket.



Why fly non stop when you can connect
User currently offlineJaseWGTN From New Zealand, joined Mar 2000, 823 posts, RR: 1
Reply 8, posted (12 years 5 months 4 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 3934 times:

The reason (So I have been told) is that because in New Zealand it's an Individual Airports Charge, not a Government Imposed Tax.

The State runs the customs and border patrol and what have you and then they charge the airport and then the airport passes it on to the customer (ie flyer) and it's different prices and rules for most airports in NZ that take international flights. Palmerston North even charges a $3 Domestic Departure Tax which is also only payable at the airport. I forget what that charge is for


User currently offlineSkystar From Australia, joined Jan 2000, 1363 posts, RR: 3
Reply 9, posted (12 years 5 months 3 weeks 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 3922 times:

Well they ought to think of a better way to collect it, because that's not the way we do it in Australia.

Various airports within the same country that have different fees, are able to charge their different fees to the customer when they purchase their ticket. It seems very inefficient and antiquated to get customers to put a sticker on.

The taxation bit is only a bit annoying. I'd hate to be a business traveller in a rush, though.

Cheers,

Justin


User currently offlineAirNewZealand From New Zealand, joined Oct 2000, 2542 posts, RR: 6
Reply 10, posted (12 years 5 months 3 weeks 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 3912 times:

Glad you enjoyed AirNZ!!
Yes, it is true AirNZ have some quite NASTY Flight Attendants, i had one on one of my flights!! Bloody Bit**!!

Well anyways, AirNZ shall get managed quite well now, and i can already tell he is taking the right step in getting the Public and employees back on the right track!!

AirNZ and AN will once again be good friends, but AirNZ will not own them again AMEN! They are already selling tickets for each one, and from what i hear, Codesharing will start once again!!

Have a great day!

Cheers
mike


User currently offlineSkystar From Australia, joined Jan 2000, 1363 posts, RR: 3
Reply 11, posted (12 years 5 months 3 weeks 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 3890 times:

Mike,

Every airline has its bad crew, or crew who are having a bad day. The thing that got me about NZ was, after 3 flights, I hadn't experienced any bad crew. It wasn't that they were neutral and did nothing wrong - those that I bumped into were really warm & friendly. For most carriers, you might have some average crew, or an occasional bright spark, but something will have to spoil it.

It's a pity that NZ didn't have the resources & management to make a AN/NZ work, because so many people are now hurting as a result. I hope they get it right, because New Zealand does have a carrier which does a good job at welcoming pax into the country.

I can't respect Air New Zealand for what it did to Ansett (granted it was not entirely its fault), but that doesn't get in the way of the fact that it's a fantastic carrier to fly on - if that's the truth, so be it!

Cheers,

Justin


User currently offlineAirNewZealand From New Zealand, joined Oct 2000, 2542 posts, RR: 6
Reply 12, posted (12 years 5 months 3 weeks 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 3882 times:

Thanks for your Comments Skystar!!
The simple fact is, AirNZ should of NEVER bought the other half of the airline!!
Yes, They did have a vision, but not the resources to fufill this vision, therefore they caused alot of pain to Australians, and effectively tarnished there reputation!!

Hope you take another flight on them in the near future!!

I am on them in March..better br a good flight!!

Cheers
mike


User currently offlineDocpepz From Singapore, joined May 2001, 1969 posts, RR: 3
Reply 13, posted (12 years 5 months 3 weeks 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 3878 times:

Very very entertaining and enjoyable trip report! Thanks for getting into the details!  Smile/happy/getting dizzy

Anyway, you may like to know that the SIN-KUL shuttle is a joint operation by SQ and MH. Both airlines have to agree before anything is implemented/taken away from this sector.

For example, MH took away their champagne service from this route. As a result, SQ had to do so. If MH doesn't agree to serving a cookie and giving passengers on this sector a little more than a cup of orange juice, SQ can't.

SQ services to Penang and Kuala Lumpur are really nothing to cry about. Beyond that, all other routes have the full economy class service that one would expect aboard any major airline. And perhaps even more!

Anyway I was in Queenstown last month on the way to the Milford track. I love Queenstown! While driving in, I saw an Air NZ 737 on approach into ZQN. I'm sure it must have been a spectacular view!


User currently offlineSkystar From Australia, joined Jan 2000, 1363 posts, RR: 3
Reply 14, posted (12 years 5 months 3 weeks 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 3874 times:

Docpepz,

Thanks for the info - friends had told me about how you used to get a bit more. I'll admit that I've only flown it once, but it left a sour taste in my mouth after a fantastic MEL-SIN. Even though the product isn't fantastic, I found the crew to be largely indifferent. The captain also thanked us, "Sun Alliance" passengers  Smile

As for the report, well I love details, but I couldnt' write as detailed a report as I would've liked, because I didn't record the details as meticulously as last time. I also write the report for a variety of forums, so I have to mix the service & technical aviation aspects in as well (which makes a better report, IMHO).

The ZQN approach onto 05 is one of aviation's great hidden secrets. Forget about old HKG Kai Tak, you've got real scenery for this one.

Very tragic about what happened to Air Fiordland yesterday.

Mike,

If it's a case of NZ vs QF, I'm sorry, it'll have to be NZ  Smile

Cheers,

Justin


User currently offlineDocpepz From Singapore, joined May 2001, 1969 posts, RR: 3
Reply 15, posted (12 years 5 months 3 weeks 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 3859 times:

HAHHHAAHAHAHAHAH SUN ALLIANCE!!!! hehe. You sure??  Smile/happy/getting dizzy

I rarely remember what happens in 32 minute flights and never remember the faces of the crew or what they do. I'm surprised you did!  Smile/happy/getting dizzy


User currently offlineSkystar From Australia, joined Jan 2000, 1363 posts, RR: 3
Reply 16, posted (12 years 5 months 3 weeks 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 3852 times:

I'm sure,

The only reason I remembered, was that he said "Sun Alliance". On a 35min flight, what else is there to remember  Smile

Last time I checked, Sun Alliance is an insurance company.

Cheers,

Justin


User currently offlineNZ767 From New Zealand, joined Nov 2001, 1620 posts, RR: 1
Reply 17, posted (12 years 5 months 2 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 3828 times:

Geez, do they still collect departure tax like that at AKL?
You had to go to the BNZ to pay it when I flew to HNL in 1982.
I can't believe they haven't changed to a more efficient system.
Skystar, what other forums do you post these reports on?
I'd like to become a part of them if I can; anything to do with airlines.  Smile

Mike (WLG)


User currently offlineSkystar From Australia, joined Jan 2000, 1363 posts, RR: 3
Reply 18, posted (12 years 5 months 1 week 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 3807 times:

Hey Mike,

Sorry to respond so late, but if you want some good trip reports & lots of experts on airline travel goto http://www.flyertalk.com/milesfr.shtml

There is a trip reports forum & forums on specific airlines as well.

Cheers,

Justin



User currently offlineMr AirNZ From New Zealand, joined Feb 2002, 847 posts, RR: 1
Reply 19, posted (12 years 5 months 1 week 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 3808 times:

I'm glad to see you enjoyed flying my national airline!

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