WOW Air NZ
is truly a diamond in the rough! A benchmark that other airlines ought to follow; the four leafed clover glowing amongst the three leafed weeds; the brightest star shining in the inky moonless night, truly a masterpiece! You get my drift! Lol! This was my first time flying this amazing airline and will most definitely not be my last!
This is my second trip report, I'm British Born Chinese (BBC) and I often go back to my parents’ hometown in HK
to do family stuff and to soak up the HK
atmosphere. When flying to HK
there seem to be more and more airlines operating this route which is good as it gives me an excuse to try other airlines than the usual BA
I'm used to.
I was looking at flying with QF
initially as the airfare was the most competitive; with CX
the highly priced return economy ticket. BA
was also another option but I wanted to try out another airline and so I turned my attention to Air NZ
to see what they could offer. Their return ticket was slightly more expensive than QF
but not a great deal however the clinch came when I realised that QF
at a eye-watering 07:30! This was way too early as my bus to the airport would not arrive in time for me to adequately check in etc. NZ
at 08:45 although still early was do-able if I set my alarm in advance the evening before.
I booked on their website sometime in May to fly out on 03 September and return on 19 September. After a month or so I had to re-schedule my outbound trip due to work commitments and instead to fly out on the 04 September. I paid the princely sum of GBP20 for the change which is a heck of a lot cheaper than CX
when I changed my return ticket of which I had to shell out GBP50!!
The night before my trip I started to pack my clothes etc which is normal practice for me. I do not understand those people who pack weeks in advance- too organised for my liking lol!! Hey hum, my mother accompanied me to the train station using the good olde number 25 bus to the town centre. I don’t trust my mother to drive my car haha! I took the 12:36 GNER (I cannot remember their rebranded name!) direct to London Kings Cross. I arrived on time and then took the underground service to London Heathrow Terminal 1, 2 and 3. Well I actually went to T5
as I wanted to check the place out.
is truly wonderful: clean, bright, spacious and modern. Just outside the terminal I spent 20 minutes watching the planes take off before heading to T1 to check in.
check in area - Very Nice!
I took the Heathrow Express train which links T5
to T1, 2 and 3. After disembarking the train I walked what seemed like miles of underground to reach T1. NZ
uses aisle R to check in which is kinda separate from the main terminal with its own security check point to the departure lounge. NZ
employ ground staff from United Airlines and I must comment the lady who checked me was rude, none – forthcoming, blunt and a bit ditzy.
Ditzy United Airlines lady: To Hong Kong?
Me: Yes, is the flight full?
Ditzy United Airlines lady: hmm...kinda. do you have a Hong Kong ID
[I give her my ID
[Ditzy United Airlines lady starts talking to the check in lady next to her about their evening plans]
Hands me back my ID
Ditzy United Airlines lady: Did I ask you the baggage security question yet?
Me: erm…no (!)
[Ditzy United Airlines lady asks me security question]
She then tags my bag to HK
but leaves it on the conveyor belt and me being suspicious waited until she sent it through which she did eventually. I checked in a little early and decided to go to T3
and the car park just opposite to do some plane spotting. I even saw Iran Air take off which I thought was interesting. The car park people have put up signs saying no plane spotting – please leave, which I thought was a bit harsh.
I then went back to T1 and went through security. Just before heading through I watched some Asiana passengers check in through to Seoul. I'm quite fascinated with Korea; I spend some time learning the language but gave up – I wonder if there a lot of Koreans living in UK – I've never met any. The departure screen displayed that the gate information will open at 19:35 but being impatient I went and explored the terminal. I found the aircraft at gate 52 all alone with Asiana next to it and SAA to Johannesburg.
Empty Gate Area near Gate 50
Asiana 777 - Nice Colours!
I will visit Korea...One Day!
SAA A340-600 to Cape Town or Johannesburg, can't quite remember!
Don't you just love it?!!
Love the colour scheme..very Kiwi...not like I know what Kiwi means!
What I liked about NZ
747 is that they have cool names; the aircraft I was on was named Routonga or something beginning with R! Boarding commenced at 20:15 for the 21:05 departure. Passengers boarded at the back of the aircraft so I joined the queue for the 11 hour flight to HK
Air New Zealand, NZ038
London (Heathrow) – Hong Kong
04 September 2008
Scheduled Departure Time: 21:05
Actual Departure Time: 21:15
Scheduled Arrival Time: 15:50
Actual Arrival Time: 15:10
Seat Number: 60G
I think I've fallen in love with the New Zealand accent; it’s somewhat different from Australia, very sexy and smooth! However the flight attendants were London based and I must comment they were simply one of the best group of cabin crew ever. Efficient, polite, smiley, friendly, courteous and funky – the uniforms, in my opinion, are quite trendy and laid back.
The seat next to me remained empty and I was praying that it would remain like that when the cabin doors closed. To my amazement, this was a first, it did!!! It was still a full flight but I had an empty seat and I loved it! The seat pitch was an amazing 34’’ and this was economy with AVOD entertainment, coupled with a brilliant and friendly crew and nice aeroplane food the 11 hours simply flew by!!!
The seat was comfortable with an adjustable head rest that you can slide up and down. There is no foot rest but that doesn’t bother me but I was surprised that they do not hand out any amenity kits like tooth brushes or eye shades. I didn’t bring a tooth brush so I couldn’t brush my teeth – not pleasant! Also NZ
seem to lack inflight sales – maybe they are missing out on extra revenue? What I liked was that they made announcements in Mandarin Chinese, Spanish, French and German to introduce the languages the crew spoke at the start of the flight. I was a little concerned that no announcements were made in Cantonese Chinese not even on the return leg.
Leg Space - 34'' so they say!
One thing I noticed is that they made so many announcements which was then repeated on your PTV, such as the menu, to close your window blinds, to put your seat in the upright position for meals which I thought was a bit distracting when watching your film. Full bar service started after take off where I asked for apple juice. The menu was chicken which I chose and something else which I have forgotten.
I normally don’t eat aeroplane food or just pick at it but I must confess that the NZ
catering was amazing! The chicken was juicy and succulent, simply tasty. I didn’t eat all of it as I ate before the flight but it was very nice. The meal was accompanied by some kind of moose with chocolate topping, bread, pasta salad with cheese and crackers. Also the main meal is served in a ceramic plate rather than a foil or plastic tray.
Anyone feel like Chicken Tonight?!
There were plenty of movies to watch and I watched Indiana Jones, and (hiding my head in shame) Sex and the City. I also watched this simply funny New Zealand cartoon called Bro’ Town which is so funny. I don’t think it is aired in the UK so I'm gonna buy the DVD on the Internet. Is it big in New Zealand anyone know? I was laughing out loud. This episode was when one of the kids wanted to be an artist but the father wasn’t supportive of him and kept ruining his work…trust me it was funny hahaha!!
Fying some more!
Over China Somewhere!
The AVOD allows you to create your own playlist from a number of music CD
’s and radio shows. The moving map was also quite novel, it is in 3D and they have a shot where you are looking out of the pilot’s window with cities below. The lights were turned off after the meal service and I slept on and off for a while. Breakfast was served a couple of hours before arrival. The choices being pancakes or omelette I think. I chose the pancakes which were accompanied with a muffin, fruit, yoghurt and juice. The pancakes were not very nice but OK
. What I liked was that the captain thanked the crew for their hard work on the flight which I thought was a nice touch.
Pancakes a la New Zealand!
We started to commence our descent almost an hour before the scheduled arrival time and landed at around 15:10, parking at gate 42. Passengers continuing with the flight to Auckland were required to leave the aircraft at the same time and head towards transfers. HK
airport is still impressive almost 10 years on and I was out of the airport and catching the A43 service to Sheung Shui in record time.
Air China, CA4344
Shenzhen - Chongqing
12 September 2008
Scheduled Departure Time: 11:30
Actual Arrival Time: 11:30
Scheduled Arrival Time: 13:25
Actual Arrival Time: 13:05
I wanted to go back to Chongqing to see my friends in Central South-West China and was looking at air fares from HK
. I was shocked to see that return economy fares with KA
started at almost GBP360! Shocking! Shenzhen is only a stone throw away from my hometown in Sheung Shui, the next station on the KCR train and return tickets came in around GBP120.
Air fares within China are much more affordable flying from Guangzhou or Shenzhen rather than from HK
where the price can be almost double. To get to Shenzhen airport take KCR West Rail from HK
, the starting station is East Tsim Sha Tsui going through Mong Kok and my hometown in Sheung Shui. Stop off at Lo Hu station and go through the necessary boarder control requirements and enter China. The bus station will be to your right, continue walking and you will see an open air bus station. Go inside the bus station and find the number K568 which will cost you RMB20 for the ticket. The journey is about 1 hour and will probably hit traffic so best to travel early. You can enter the airport by entering the arrivals hall and taking the escalator to the departures level.
Take the KCR West
To China, Please!
Off to see the Wizard in Shenzhen!
First View of SZ
after Passport Control... I don't think I'm in Kansas anymore!
Find this sign to the airport, oh Intellectual One!
Shenzhen Airport has two terminal and CA
flights leave from T2
. Both terminals are connected by an airbridge so you can travel easily between the two. Check in opens normally 1 ½ hours before scheduled departure time. Shenzhen airport is quite big and spacious with lots of eateries and places to buy suitcases. Why would you buy a suitcase at the airport?? Armed guards are dotted around the terminal and they mean business!
Terminal B & its many wives!
Change the Chanel!
Headed through security where they stamp your boarding card and waited outside gate 10. There are plenty of seating around the gate and good views of the apron and a Jade Cargo B747F waiting on the other side. Whenever I visit China there always seem to be a new airline company, how long has Shenzhen Airline or Juneyao Airlines been in operation?
Near Gate 10
The Control Tower!
Stunning piece of Jade, huh!
One of Asia's best Value Airlines - Taken from Ugly Betty but change Asia to Queen's & Airlines to Colleges!
Zhong Guo! Jia You! Go China!
Movement in Action!
Pimp my Ride..seriously very boring colour scheme...in my opinion!
737-700 to ChongQing!
Just to make sure im heading in the right direction!
The flight was pretty full and I purposely asked for a window seat at check in but when I got to my row an old biddy was sat in my seat reading a newspaper. Being a gentleman I let her sit there and took the aisle seat instead. I was kinda gutted and kept looking at the back of the aircraft to see if they was an empty window seat but there were none.
We departed on time and a full meal service began with either chicken or beef being the choices. The meal was accompanied along with a bread roll, fruit and some chillied eels. I didn’t touch the meal and I forgot to take a photo - sorry but I ate already and couldn’t stomach anymore food. There were 4 crew members manning this flight, one for first class and three in economy. The crew made two rounds with the drinks cart which was very good for such a short flight.
I actually nodded off during take off!! I could feel the sleep wash over me and I was out for about 15 minutes. There were no TV
monitors on the aircraft so I listened to my music player for a bit. The flight was scheduled for 2 hours but in all honesty we were in the air for about 1½.
A bit cramped!
Yep, im higher than a bird!
We had a pretty rough landing once we touched down and made a quick taxi to the gate stand. My baggage was one of the first one off the aircraft. You are required to show your baggage receipt to the attendant to ensure you have collected the correct baggage in order to leave the baggage reclaim area.
Chongqing is an amazing place if you never been. I lived there for 6 months after graduating. It is a hilly and hot place and extremely cold during the winter months.
Part 2 continued below...