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Pacific Blue WLG-AKL-WLG, Awesome Experience!

Sun Mar 09, 2008 10:34 am

My cousin was getting married, so I was off to Kerikeri for a long weekend. Thursday arrived, so it was nice to sleep in. As today I was traveling with my Grandad, I knew this trip was going to be interesting. One of his legs was amputated after a serious accident in the 1950s, so his fake leg has plenty of metal in it, and he is deaf in both ears. After arriving at the airport, we headed to the DJ check-ins and got our seats changed. Cause he couldn’t get a seat with extra leg room, the check-in agent gave us a whole row and blocked off the middle seat. After checking-in his wheel chair and our bags, the check-in agent spent around 10 minutes with us, explaining things to us, like departure at WLG and arrival in AKL. After printing off our new boarding passes, the check-in agent grabbed a wheel chair for us, and helped Grandad get into it. After leaving Check-in we headed off to the food court and found a table beside the window. After starting to hear an annoying rumbling sound inside me, I knew I had to get some food fast, so off I went to Wishbone. Around 12.40pm we headed through security and Grandad activated basically every alarm possible! After the Avsec officer had spent around 5 minutes waving his magic wand and trying to work out why the alarm was always going off around his leg, but couldn’t find anything, Grandad finally decided to put him out of his misery and explain why in his usual joking manner when it comes to his artificial leg . I think the officer must have been new cause one of his co-workers must have figured out and him and I were trying to hold off laughing. Grandad loves doing this to people, especially the hospital and Ambulance staff while they are trying to get a pulse reading. After finally clearing security the aircraft arrived at the gate. Once the pax from AKL had de-boarded, the DJ agent took our boarding passes and scanned them and helped him to board the aircraft.

Airline: Pacific Blue
Aircraft: B738, ZK-PBF
Route: WLG-AKL
Seat: 7F
STD: 1.15pm, ATD: 1.10pm
ETA: 2.15pm, ATA: 2pm

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Photo © Jerry Pang

Once on-board, we found our seats and one of the FA’s came by and put his walking stick into the overhead bin. A few minutes later the rest of the pax started to board and by the endless amount of pax boarding, this looked like a fairly full flight. Boarding was completed early, cross checks were done and we pushed back 5 minutes. While the Safety briefing was being done, the head FA was announcing it in a funny yet professional way over the PA system. The B738s always seem to have a bigger angle of attack for take offs, as we seemed to launch into the clear blue skys more faster then the B733s. Once the seatbelt sign was removed, the FA’s started their inflight work, and the head FA announced over the PA system what would be happening, and said some of the things that could be purchased from the snack cart. I spent most of the flight reading the Virgin Blue in-flight mag, which provided for some interesting reading. The flight was a very smooth flight with no turbulance. While descending into AKL, the final rubbish collections happened and the head FA took the chance to announce the usual DJ stuff, which was about their rewards programme and rental car deals. Once we arrived at the terminal, the usual announcement came about not turning on your cellphones intill well inside the terminal due to re-fueling. While de-boarding I counted around 168 pax on board. Once all the other pax had gone, one of the FA’s helped Grandad to disembark down the stairs. Once at the baggage claim, the area was jammed packed with passengers and the bags were just starting to come out on the belt. Once half the pax had gone, our two bags and Grandads wheel chair finally came out. I quickly noticed something didn’t look right with the wheel chair, the foot rests were missing! Once at the DJ counters I informed them, and they called the manager on duty who was at the aircraft seeing it off. Once he arrived, I explained what happened and he inspected the wheel chair, and he made a few radio calls, he came back to inform us that it couldn’t be found, and he then looked at the wheel chairs that were owned by Menzies Aviation, but none of their foot rests would fit. He gave me his contact number, and I gave him my contact number, and he helped me get over to the Budget Rent a Car office, where both he and an NZ lady helped me. By now it was 2.50pm. After getting all the paper work completed at the car office, the NZ lady helped me load the car and we were one our way to Kerikeri, but only after we get through all the bumper to bumper traffic leading to SH1.

While in the Bay of Islands, I got several calls from DJ providing updates.

Once Monday arrived, it was time to start the journey home. After a nice drive back to AKL, it was back to the DJ check-in counters. After again being given a whole row to ourselves with the middle seat blocked off, I asked for the person who I spoke to on Thursday. He was busy seeing off the 3.15pm WLG flight, so we waited for a few minutes for him to arrive. Once he arrived, he was again very helpful and went of to get the paper work so we could make a claim for the cost of a replacement wheelchair. After handing us the paperwork, he sat down with us and we talked for around 15-20 mins. After he went back to his office, I noticed my cousin and his girl friend about the enter the DJ check-in line for the same flight to WLG as us. I told him our seat numbers, so he could try and get a seat around us. He came back a few minutes later and sat down beside us, and we talked for around 15 minutes before another family member arrived to catch up with us. At 3.40pm it was time to depart for security. Secuirty was a bit quicker this time, but Grandad still had his fun with the Avsec officer. Once at the gate, the agent informed me that we would be boarding the aircraft in a few minutes. Quickly the agent scanned our boarding pass and we entered the tarmac to board. While Grandad went around the other side to enter via the lift, I boarded via the front door.

Airline: Pacific Blue
Aircraft: B738, ZK-PBJ
Route: AKL-WLG
Seat: 2F
STD: 4.15pm, ATD: 4.15pm
ETA: 5.15pm, ATA: 5.10pm

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Photo © Jonathan Rankin

Once we both had our seats, one of the young FA’s came to have a chat with us. We all joked for around 10 minutes. Push back was ontime and we headed off for the runway. Take off was over South Auckland. A few minutes after take off turbulance started, and we were getting throwen about quite a bit for several minutes. Apart from this, the flight was normal, intill we started the approach into WLG, and we started to get throwen about. Landing was hard and the brakes were slammed on. Once at the terminal. One of the FA’s helped Granded into his wheel chair and I then pushed him up the bridge. Behind me I could hear a lady giving the FA abuse for holding up the line, and the pax didn’t think it was right that the FA helped a disabled person while other pax were waiting.

Overall, DJ and their staff were very wonderful and helpful. Everyone who I came in contact with were very nice and helped heaps. The AKL manager always keeped in contact over the missing wheel chair piece which was nice, would hate to see the phone bill after that! Everyone in WLG, AKL and in the air went totally out of their way to make everything easy. Recently DJ has been getting a bad name in the media, but IMHO the way DJ’s staff handled everything was totally professional, and basically makes everything in the papers look like lies! DJ’s loads on both flights were very full, with around 10-20 seats empty on both flights. DJ has to be hurting NZ on the main trunk with their fares and loads. Special thanks must be given also to the NZ employee who helped heaps at the Budget office. It was nice to see an NZ employee helping a DJ passenger
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RE: Pacific Blue WLG-AKL-WLG, Awesome Experience!

Fri Mar 14, 2008 3:24 pm

Nice TR

After reading this TR, I really have changed my mind about DJ. They seems to be such a great carrier.

Really bad that you guys hit turbulence. But great that everything went well.

Really nice by DJ, to try as much as they did to find the foot rests.

Hope your brother will get a happy life with his wife, and really bad to hear about your dad, that lost a leg in a accident.

Thank you for sharing

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RE: Pacific Blue WLG-AKL-WLG, Awesome Experience!

Fri Mar 14, 2008 3:40 pm

Does QF still fly domestically in NZ? Three truk airliens is waaayyy too many for a little country like NZ
Topic Author
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Joined: Fri Dec 19, 2003 5:04 pm

RE: Pacific Blue WLG-AKL-WLG, Awesome Experience!

Fri Mar 14, 2008 11:32 pm

Quoting B747forever (Reply 1):
Really bad that you guys hit turbulence.

Turbulance doesn't bother me one bit, infact I enjoyed the rollercoaster ride!

Quoting EXAAUADL (Reply 2):
Does QF still fly domestically in NZ?

Yes they do. QF are about to add an extra B734 and QF will soon re-join the WLC-CHC route, so all three main trunk routes will have NZ, QF and DJ. Pax numbers at AKL, WLG and CHC have been boosted thanks to DJ, and more people are now flying. DJ is soon expected to announce two destinations, which are expected to be ZQN from CHC, WLG and AKL and DUD from WLG
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