Another trip report here, again these are detailed so you’ve been warned.
Saturday, August 20th 2005
Air New Zealand flight 141
Wellington, New Zealand (WLG) to Sydney, NSW, Australia (SYD)
Aircraft: Airbus A320-200
Aircraft registration: ZK-OJH
Photo © Quinn Savit
Photo © Jonathan Rankin
I woke up at 4:00 A.M. to take a shower and get dressed because I had a shuttle picking me up at 4:30 AM to take me to the airport for my 6:45 AM departure to Sydney. Me being the master of procrastination didn’t finish doing laundry until 1:00 A.M. and then spent an hour packing and getting documents and stuff ready. So…..do the math and you’ll find that I only got 2 hours of sleep. Anyway, I was running late and as I ran out to the parking lot of my hostel the shuttle was leaving. I waved frantically and he came back…perfect timing. There was another guy in there. I chatted with him and found that he was on the Qantas flight to Sydney, though his flight left a bit earlier than mine. We then went to the Hotel Intercontinental and picked up a few ladies who were obviously hung over as they got in the shuttle. So we make our way over to WLG, we get their, I pay the guy and head on in to check in for my flight to Sydney. I was greeted by a very friendly woman who said “Where are you heading to today” , “Sydney” I replied. I handed her my passport and she went to work. I then told her I’d like to be on the right hand side of the plane to have a good view of the city when we landed. She looked on the computer and gave me a seat – 12F, which I would found out later is the exit row. I was given my ticket and was on my way. I decided to look around WLG for a bit and was a bit hungry so I got a croissant. Then I just sort of sat around thinking about my recent trip to Christchurch and what had happened there (read my trip report WLG-CHC-WLG). I then went and paid the departure fee and then got a departure card for customs before going through security. I passed the duty free shop and then got a look at our A320 which much to my delight was the Star Alliance A320!!! Waited in the lounge before boarding began. I walked onto the A320 and was greeted by a friendly flight crew and then took my seat in 12F. I looked outside and could see daylight coming through and was thinking “Wow, this is going to be a spectacular scene on takeoff. Everyone was seated and I heard the doors closed. I expected the plane to begin pushing back when all the sudden the door opens again and the Captain comes on to inform us that there is something wrong with one of the toilets on board and that some repairmen were on their way to fix the problem and that we would be underway as soon as possible. Didn’t bother me but I’m sure those that were connecting to other flights started worrying. I think it took about 25 minute to fix the toilet and then the doors shut and we began pushback. The screens come down and the safety video begins. We taxi down the runway and get into position before beginning our takeoff roll and then lifting off to the north. We make a few left turns before crossing the coast onto the Tasman Sea and seeing Mount Taranaki off in the distance. The journey over the Tasman Sea was now underway. Pretty soon the coast of New Zealand was gone and nothing but clouds and ocean were below us. I was lucky enough to have the whole row to myself. Oh yeah, the seats on this plane were VERY comfortable. Oh man, these have to be the most comfortable economy class seats ever. Very nice and relaxing The flight attendants came through and handed out breakfast which consisted of an egg and mushroom roll up with sausage, a small bowel of fruit, and an orange cranberry muffin. I forgot what I had to drink…LOL. A movie had started that stars Ashton Kutcher but I didn’t watch it. I did tap into the radio channels and listened to a variety of stuff, I particularly liked this song called “Almost Here” performed by Brian McFadden and Delta Goodrem. I popped out my guide book about Sydney and read up on some things, thought more about Christchurch while listening to the first Savage Garden c.d. (hey, you can’t go to Australia without listening to an Aussie music group), and before I knew it we had begun our descent into Sydney. As we began the descent it got more cloudy. I was hoping that this cute flight attendant whom I had been making eyes at the whole flight would have come back through during descent but I guess he was getting thins ready in the galley. LOL….I was planning on giving him my number. I wonder if Flight Attendants get that often in their job? Anyway, didn’t get a chance to do so but part of that is because I’m just a shy person. Now I’m not sure how the routing works on approach into Sydney or maybe we were just too far up but the next part through me off. We made a left turn and then I saw the coast of Australia for the first time (which was big for me because I’ve wanted to come to Australia since I was a little kid). Then we traveled down the coast and I saw the airport, we went passed it and then made a right turn for final approach and landing. It was rainy so I could barely make out the Sydney skyline. My question is why couldn’t we have just come onto the approach straight in from the sea as opposed to going up the coast and then turning around and coming back down it? Oh well, we landed and immediately saw Qantas jets here and there. I did notice taxiing another Air New Zealand A320 which I assumed had arrived from Christchurch. We taxied to our gate and parked next to a Japan Airlines Boeing 747-400. Exited the aircraft and went through customs, which wasn’t bad. I got my bags and then met my friend in the arrivals lounge. My flight was over and I was ready to begin exploring Sydney!
Great flight on NZ 141! I really love the service this airline provides, seats were VERY comfortable for economy.
Friday, August 26th, 2005
Air New Zealand flight 144
Sydney, NSW, Australia (SYD) to Wellington, New Zealand (WLG)
Aircraft: Airbus A320-200
Registration: sorry, didn’t get it.
I was originally scheduled to fly back to Wellington on Sunday but after having some issues with staying with my friend I decided to just go ahead and go back to New Zealand. I had seen what I wanted to in Sydney and I already plan on going back one day. I do have to say the Sydney harbour front with the Opera House and Harbour bridge is stunning and surprisingly very romantic (hence a reason I plan on going back…LOL). So anyway, I took the train to the airport which in my opinion is a big rip off, 12 dollars to go from Central Station to the airport???? Oh well, nice station they have at the airport. I went through a number of corridors and steps before finally coming out into the International Terminal at SYD. I found the Air New Zealand counter which was a bit of a walk and checked in for my flight. I guess the girl could hear my American accent and asked “You’re not a New Zealand or Australia resident, are you?” I said “Nope” and opened up my passport to my New Zealand Student Visa. She said “Ahh…perfect” and then started doing her stuff on the computer. I looked at her name tag and noticed the dreaded words to any Air New Zealand fan- QANTAS. I said “So, you work for Qantas?” And the girl replied “Yes” and I said “Huh, that’s interesting you working here at the Air New Zealand counter. Afterall, you two are rivals” She laughed and said “Yes, it is a bit weird but we have a special contract where Qantas staff check in Air New Zealand customers in Australia and then Air New Zealand staff check in Qantas customers in New Zealand”. Interesting I thought. I asked for the exit row and she gave it to me……good ole 12F again! So I had some time to kill and decided to explore the terminal. I got some postcards and last minute souvenirs. Then I got some stamps for the postcard in this post office which actually has a good selection of airline postcards! I got a Qantas 747 postcard for my friend Adam Q, a fellow aviation geek. I then went out and wrote some things in the postcards and sent them off. I spotted a Krispy Kreme donuts and got a couple of donuts. Gosh, that’s one thing I’ve really missed about the USA is Krispy Kreme donuts. I contemplated getting a dozen to take back to Wellington for my Kiwi friends to try but decided it would be too much of a hassle taking through customs.
I went through security and proceeded to my gate. The flight was late coming in so I just walked around the terminal for a bit and sitting down reading the paper. I heard the boarding call for an Emirates flight to Dubai and then a Air New Zealand flight to Christchurch and finally our flight to Wellington began boarding. I took my seat in 12F and noticed that this flight was a bit more full than the flight I took to Sydney. Didn’t have the whole row to myself as someone sat in 12D. Shortly after we began push back and the safety briefings began before taxiing for takeoff. Takeoff was to the southeast and I looked out my window and saw the lights of Australia disappear. Tonight the movie was Monster-in-Law and I decided to watch it. I like Jennifer Lopez though I can’t stand Jane Fonda. Dinner came through shortly after the movie started. I got Chicken Kiev, forgot what the vegetable was, some bread, some ice cream, and some wine to drink. Pretty good dinner actually. I watched the movie and not too long after it was over I saw the lights of New Zealand appear out the window. I tried to figure out the routing but since it was night it was hard to figure out. We did some turns hear and there and as we flew over nothing but pitch black with a few lights from boats here and there I knew we were flying over Cook Strait and approaching WLG from the south. We landed around midnight and taxied over to the terminal. I got my bags and went through customs, which was a little more time consuming as I had to get out extra papers. I bypassed the duty free shop but plan on shopping at one up at LAX when I fly back to the USA in November.
Good flight, pretty uneventful, and good service as usual. Sadly, it was my last flight on Air New Zealand for a long time as I don’t plan on flying again until I go back to the USA which will be on Qantas. The only thing I gave a gripe about concerning Air New Zealand is how with the cheap fares you don't earn frequent flyer miles or points. Other than that I really enjoyed my experiences with them!
My pictures on my aviation.net - http://myaviation.net/search/search.php?uid=4623
pictures from my trip - http://adamtimmons.myphotoalbum.com
Please feel free to comment and ask questions.