NZ102 SYD-AKL 25/3/03
Cabin Class: Economy (Pacific Class)
My first flight with Air New Zealand and I was quite looking forward to it. I had heard generally positive things about them, and wanted to see for myself. Checked in nice and early at Sydney's International Terminal and requested a window seat toward the back of the aircraft. 32K was assigned and my boarding pass issued.
After having a look around the extensive range of shops within the terminal, parked myself near to gate 55 to wait for the arrival of the little bird that was going to take me over The Tasman to New Zealand. Boarding was expected to commence at approx 0930.
Had a great view of the apron from the gate lounge area. Saw an SQ 747 depart, a A340-600 of Emirates, and plenty of other types that I would generally not see that often at home (LHR), like Korean Air Cargo 747, Pacific Blue 737 and a Cathay Pacific A330. Good stuff.
0930 came and went and the aircraft had not even arrived onto stand, let alone been called for boarding. 0945 and the plane arrives, ZK-NBB (I think)
Photo © Craig Murray
A very quick turnaround was achieved and we commenced boarding at approx 1020, whilst the aircraft was re-fuelling still. Passenger load was light, only 102 on board - about 1/2 full. I had deliberately picked a rear window to get a nice view of the wing, and un-obstructed views of departure from Sydney.
Photo © Craig Murray
All of the doors were shut, but we still weren't moving. 1040 comes and goes, and the crew come on and announce that a connecting passengers bags have been put onto the flight, but the passenger has not made it, so from my window I can see them unloading the bins again, searching for the luggage. 20 minutes later, doors all shut and we push back for take-off.
The Captain announces over the PA that we will have a long taxi out to the runway, 16L, of about 15 minutes.
Sydney Airport Map
Finally, arrive at the runway threshold and begin a rolling takeoff. Acceleration is quick with the light load, and soon we are rotating smoothly into the Sydney sky. A gentle right turn after takeoff, then a couple of left handers, and we are soon overflying Coogee Bay, and leaving the Australian Coast behind us.
We climb to 36,000 feet fairly quickly and the cabin service begins. A choice of Ham and Cheese Foccacia, or Chicken + Noodles. I opt for the Chicken, which is pleasant enough. Nice and light. Served with a water, and a shortbread type cake. Complimentary alcohol was also offered, and I opted for the Champagne which was excellent.
In-flight entertainment was offered, 9 channels of audio and a movie - "Cheaper by the Dozen". Crap film, but passed the time.
Inflight comfort was acceptable. 32in seat pitch is quite comfortable, and better than many other carriers that come to mind. Seat width was acceptable too. The interior of the aircraft was still in an excellent condition - I guess the aircraft are quite old - but they certainly are well looked after.
Flight conditions were generally good, but light - to - moderate turbulence affected us for about 35 minutes, meaning that the seat belt sign was on for some of the flight. Otherwise, clear, smooth skies.
One more drink service of juice or water, and then we commenced our descent into Auckland's International Airport. Again, some light chop on the way down, but nothing to get too worried about. The descent was quite steep, resulting in extended periods where the spoilers were out.
We floated over the coast and could see the airport out of my window, to the right of the aircraft. A couple of sweeping left turns and various degrees of flap extension later and we were on short finals. Very windy conditions during the last minute or so of flight, the captain having to use large amounts of aileron to keep the big bird on course. However, we glided over the threshold of 23L for a smooth touchdown. Reverse thrust was engaged, and with light braking, we coasted down the runway, as the international terminal was at the far end. No need to murder the brakes!
Saw some other aircraft besides the Air NZ fleet. The main one was the EK A340-600 that I had seen at Sydney, which had departed to AKL approx 45 mins before us. Other than that, a fairly quiet apron.
All in all, a very pleasant flight. The cabin crew were very friendly and made the service personal. Not a bad economy class flight.
Arrival after the 2 1/2 hour flight was only slightly behind sched. (Can't remember exact time sorry)
So, as I said, my first Trip Report. Let me know what you think. If the feedback is good, I can write up the rest of the reports.