Welcome to my second trip report on A.net. I recommend reading the first TR because it is linked to this one in a few ways; which can be found here: Grabbing A Seat With Air New Zealand Part 1/2: AKL-ZQN-AKL
I decided to upload slightly bigger photos than 800 pixels wide because when they are put up onto the forum, they are compressed and become jagged. Hopefully if you click on the pictures you want to view in more detail, it should give you a bigger picture than what is given on this page.
The previous TR includes background information of Air New Zealand and Auckland airport but the next paragraph is copied from the other TR.
Air New Zealand is my hometown airline and a few years ago they started these cheap flights under the name of “grabaseat” – offering a handful of flights daily for a cheaper price than usual. Some of their best deals include NZ$500 for return flights from AKL-LAX and SFO which is such a bargain even if you are restricted to fly at a certain date. This year, on the 13th of October, they sold 13,000 seats each for $13 one way, including all taxes, surcharges and levies, and I was lucky enough to grab a couple of these deals and head to Queenstown and Napier but just missed out on getting an AKL-OOL return ticket for the same price.
Auckland is the home of Air New Zealand and it sees various planes ranging from Britten-Norman Islanders to the 747-400 on scheduled services.
Once again, my day began with my dad driving me to the airport, much earlier than I needed to be at the airport. I decided that because I have already shown you the new check-in procedures at Air New Zealand’s domestic airports in the previous TR, there was no need to repeat these steps on this TR and also I wouldn’t bother taking an empty suitcase to Napier as well. I believe Air New Zealand has changed the way we fly but it would probably cause problems when passengers book but never turn up and because they don’t check in, the airline doesn’t know if they are on their way or anything. Some pictures of Auckland’s domestic terminal are given in the previous TR too but here are some regarding the regional side rather than the jets. Both use the same check-in area but due to the fact that the props don’t require air bridges, the gates are situated at the other end of the building on ground floor rather than one level up.
Auckland International Terminal From The Carpark
Auckland Domestic Forecourt
Security Screening For Air NZ Jet Services, FIDS For Jets
Regional Departures/Arrivals Hall
Boarding Gate For Props
As I said in the previous report, you don’t actually have to check in. Using the “boarding pass” printed off at home, you can walk straight up to the gate and board if you don’t have any luggage to check in. Realising I had too much time, I ended up having a little rest. Over the last few days I have been on my first proper flight simulator, landing at Kai Tak and Queenstown in a 738 and also escaping fires: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/ar...=1&objectid=10547132&ref=ShareThis
A horrible experience I hope no one has to ever encounter! Just one word of advice if you are unfortunate enough to end up in a situation like this: never underestimate the speed of fire.
Anyways, getting back on track, these flights involved flying on both of Air New Zealand’s largest turboprops: the ATR 72-500 and also the Bombardier Dash 8-Q300; from Auckland to Napier and return respectively. Being very tired on this day, I apologise for many things that I simply forgot to do such as take photos of the seats on a single row. All 3 types of turboprops Air New Zealand have (Beech 1900D, Dash 8-Q300 and ATR 72-500) use the stands situated in this eastern end of Auckland Airport’s domestic terminal. IIRC, there is no security screening required under Civil Aviation Authority rules for planes under the size of 90 seats and hence none of the regional airports have to go to the hassle of getting these machines and AvSec officers for the time being. The regional departure hall is landside and includes both the regional baggage claim carousels and boarding counters. Pictures of the procedures at the boarding machine are also found in the previous TR. All that exists after the boarding machines is a sheltered corridor leading to the various gates on the apron. There are some shots below of the planes on the apron.
I also found this really interesting flight on the imminent departures list showing a flight which was boarding heading to Auckland.. I asked the person at the help desk what that was about and he told me it was a training flight of some sort and I don’t think it actually left the apron.
Information On How To Board
Barcode Being Read and accepted
Gate Pass Printed
Part Of The Domestic Apron Looking Towards The Jets
My Awaiting Aircraft[b]
[b]Air National J32 And An Air NZ 772ER
10 Dec 2008
Routing: Auckland - Napier
Airline: Air New Zealand (Operated by Mt Cook Airline)
Flight: NZ 5751
Scheduled Time of Departure: 1015hrs
Actual Departure: 1014hrs (pushback), 1022hrs (rotate)
Scheduled Time of Arrival: 1115hrs
Flight time: 48 min
Aircraft: ATR 72-500
Photo © Bob Leask
Photo © Colin Hunter
Air New Zealand’s 3 types of turboprop aircraft are run separately by 3 wholly-owned subsidiaries of Air NZ: BEH – Eagle Air, DH3 – Air Nelson, AT7 – Mt Cook Airline. It is to be my first time departing AKL on a turboprop and the first time on a Dash 8. Because they were both flown on the same day, I thought I’d try seeing if one was quieter inside the cabin than the other. The ATR 72 fleet of Air New Zealand’s is about 9 years old and consists of 11. This particular plane entered the fleet on 24-11-1999 so it has basically just turned 9. The -500 series is the newest of the lot so far and can be recognised with the 6 blade propeller. Air New Zealand makes do with 68 seats and a seat pitch of 31 inches. None of Air New Zealand’s propeller planes have TVs installed and so the safety demo is also said via the PA system rather than the recording they have on the jets.
Boarding from the rear of the aircraft like any ATR is quite fun and also quite interesting. I’ve done it many times before on my numerous trips to DUD. For just about every other flight on the ATR, I’ve flown in the front 4 rows but this time the seat availability wasn’t as good and I ended up grabbing the next closest window seat which landed me in row 6. This seat, as you will see below, is just behind the propeller.
The plane quickly filled up with passengers to about 85-90% capacity and the engines were soon started. It was interesting to finally get a view from a departing propeller plane at AKL. As I’ve learnt the taxiing pattern of the aircraft when the wind is from the west, I could just imagine what the ATC were saying to the pilots: “Taxi to and hold short runway 23L via Bravo, Bravo two, Alpha two”. It wasn’t long until this was realised and we did actually use this path. Take off was quick and easy and we were off to Napier. As this was the first time I had departed AKL on a prop, it was interesting to see how much slower the climb was! It gave me plenty of time to have a good look over the airport and also towards the CBD and the various mountains between the airport and the city. The International airport is fairly quiet around this time of the day because the NZ heavies (772/744) have either headed to maintenance or have departed for MEL/BNE. Flights from Asia arrive around lunchtime (CX, MH, SQ, TG) and Emirates fills up the place at around 3. We soon banked left to take our path over Waikato.
Airwork’s 732 and 733
Dash 8s On The Apron
Looking Down Towards The Jet Apron
The Secondary Runway 23R/5L Also The Main Taxiway And A Korean Air 744 At The Other End
Dash 8 And 733 Landing While We Wait
Taxiing Onto The Runway
Air New Zealand Maintenance Area: 2x 744, 1x 763, 1x 772 and the 732 taxiing somewhere
Auckland Airport International Terminal And Apron
Looking Towards The City: Mt Eden/Sky Tower Center Picture, One Tree Hill Toward The Right
Climbing Above The Cloud
The Green Pastures Of Waikato
Refreshments on the AT7 commenced about 10 minutes after takeoff. On the props you receive a cup of water and later a cup (which the FA(s) fill with tea/coffee later) with a tiny biscuit, milk and sugar inside it. Water always comes first and separately as they carry these on a tray rather than a trolley. Today’s outbound flight had cups with Christchurch as the point of interest (the previous TR had one of Hamilton’s flights) and all the non-stop flights from CHC. I opted for a coffee, hoping that it would be of the same standard as that of my outbound flight to ZQN but it wasn’t to be: probably due to the fact that I had a mocha on the ground at Auckland Airport earlier that morning.
Cup And Amenities, And Biscuit
Close Up Of The Cup Showing Domestic Destinations From Christchurch
The flight had a cruising Altitude of 17000 ft on the way down and I was quite surprised to see the top of Mt Taranaki in the far distance – a mountain I missed as I flew over it on my way to Queenstown. Even with my 300mm telephoto lens, it was still small; showing how far away it was. Mt Ruapehu, the tallest mountain in the North Island of New Zealand, was also just visible through the cloud. I was amazed that Lake Taupo was clear of cloud. Being a fairly uneventful but enjoyable flight, I switched my iPod on and took a few more pics. The flight was extremely calm and there weren’t any unexpected drops or any pockets of turbulence.
Mt Ruapehu And Lake Taupo Below
Mt Taranaki In The Distance
The famous Air New Zealand lollies were handed out 12 minutes before touchdown. To my surprise, the Air New Zealand lollies (one pictured below) were outnumbered by generic lollies I had encountered on my trip to ZQN. Does anyone know why this is the case? Are they phasing them out or did they discontinue the Air New Zealand lollies when they got rid of the other New Zealand favourites of Sparkles, Tangy Fruits and Snifters? It’d be sad to see the Air New Zealand lollies go.
The Much Prized Air NZ Hard Boiled Lolly
On descent into Napier, we crossed over the foreshore and out into the Hawke’s Bay before coming in to land for a flawless touchdown on runway 16.
The Coast Of Hawke’s Bay, On The East Coast Of New Zealand
Napier Airport is a lot smaller than Queenstown Airport as it only handles the propeller planes – no 733s come here, mainly due to the runway and subsequent taxiways but many other factors come into consideration here too. It seemed quite a tight fit when there were 2 planes on the tarmac with all the people meeting and greeting and others bidding farewell to some. It has a little cafe and a nice little viewing deck which is fascinatingly separated by 2 doors similar to that in a zoo to prevent animals (usually birds) from escaping the enclosure. It must be an attempt to keep the tame air conditioned air from seeping airside. They don’t have a carousel here: just a sheltered area where I believe they wheel the baggage trolleys into for everyone to claim their baggage.
Baggage Claim Area
The Viewing Platform
Instead of wasting my day (3 hrs or so) in the sunny Hawke’s Bay by staying at the airport like I did in ZQN (I planned to go out until I saw what the weather was like), I decided to go for a walk to get some lunch which ended up being about a 9km roundtrip. I took the stony beach route which was very pleasant up to the bridge on the way into Napier city. I got to about 3km away from the city itself where the fish and chip shop which claimed to be the best in the bay was situated. For NZ$4.30 (approx. equivalent to US$2.50), I got 2 pieces of very fresh fish (terakihi) - so hot that as I went to pick it up, it burnt my fingers - and some chips: too much for me especially because I was due to fly out in 1.5 hrs and didn’t want to risk filling myself up too much with such greasy food. It will probably remain the best value fish and chips I’ll ever get. Once lunch was over, I was off again, this time on a full stomach, back to the airport to catch the flight home. The weather was supposed to be showery but not a drop fell in my time there. As you can see from the pictures, this area of New Zealand is desperate for rain – but, selfishly, I count myself lucky I didn’t have 2 trips in a row spoiled by the weather.
The Last Place On Earth I Expected To See One Of These!
The Customhouse. By The Looks Of The Date It Survived The Great 1931 Earthquake
An Example Of The Art Deco Style Buildings Of Napier
The Godwit, The Bird On The Logo Of The Airline Before Air New Zealand – NAC
Due to NPE being such a small airport, they can allow planes to take off or land in any direction so flights from CHC can land from the south then depart to the south and flights from AKL can land from the north then depart to the north. Napier has 4 normal check-in counters and 2 newly installed self service check in booths – the same which should be in every domestic airport soon. From check-in, it’d be a 10 metre walk to the gate if you were in such a rush. It wasn’t long until the arriving plane was emptied and the announcement that we would be boarding shortly was heard. Boarding was exactly the same as all domestic airports have now adopted the new boarding machine which in some cases speeds up the boarding process.
Boarding Pass Printed From The Self Service Booth Behind
Dash 8 Off To Christchurch, Departing To The South
My Plane Inbound From Auckland
View From The Terminal Overlooking The Apron And Runway
10 Dec 2008
Routing: Napier - Auckland
Airline: Air New Zealand (Operated by Air Nelson)
Flight: NZ 8404
Scheduled Time of Departure: 1425hrs
Actual Departure: 1430hrs (pushback), 1434hrs (rotate)
Scheduled Time of Arrival: 1530hrs
Flight time: 51 min
Aircraft: De Havilland Canada Bombardier Dash 8-Q300
Photo © Colin Hunter
Photo © Jonathan Rankin
The Dash 8 fleet of Air New Zealand’s is the youngest the airline possesses with an average age of 1.8 years. The one I travelled on was the 9th to enter the fleet on 4-8-2006. The Dash 8 fleet was purchased to replace the ageing Saab 340A fleet and has subsequently increased capacity for these flights and increased the number of services with a larger fleet. Air New Zealand fits 50 seats into this aircraft at 32 inches of legroom. This was extremely noticeable on the transition between the ATR 72 and the Dash 8, in fact it seemed as though it was a larger difference than the one inch stated in the Air New Zealand website.
The seat next to me remained vacant until, to my dismay, most passengers had settled into their seats. I was really hoping to have a free seat next to me! I was very intrigued by the decal on the seat buckle of the words “Dash 8” – something which I’ve never come across before. It usually only has the word “LIFT” on it rather than advertising for the certain plane type as well.. There are no lifejackets under the seat! On the back of the tray table it says “use bottom cushion for flotation” but if any crash landing occurred on this flight, chances of it crashing on water would be less than 5%.
The runway acts as a taxiway for planes just like ZQN so it requires a taxi to the end and a 180 degree turn to line up for takeoff.
I had not put my camera away in time for the final FA check so I kept it in my bag for takeoff, intimidated by the FA on board. Apologies I didn’t get any photos of the takeoff or the gear retraction because it was very interesting watching the wheel spin as we climbed up into the sky! Something you don’t get with many other planes! It’s a shame that the pilots don’t call out “cabin crew must be seated for takeoff/landing” in the props.
Takeoff towards the north was quite fast – the first takeoff in a long time where I didn’t have my camera out taking photos. Maybe this is where a compact camera (rather than my DSLR) might come in handy! It felt a bit more powerful than the ATR 72. We climbed towards our cruising altitude of 16000ft with ease and as soon as the seatbelt sign was switched off, my camera was out again. This flight had the exact same service onboard as the ATR 72 – the water (this time of a different brand for some reason) followed by the cup with a biscuit and sugar in it which was to be filled up with tea or coffee. I asked for the cup itself and she willingly gave it to me. Air New Zealand have many designs for their cups and on this flight they happened to be handing out cups with All Blacks on them. I got one with Daniel Carter on it. I didn’t want to load myself with anymore caffeine after 2 coffees and half a bottle of coke so I just held onto the cup.
The Radiata Pine Forests To The South Of Taupo, On The Lake’s Edge Toward The Left Of The Image
The Town Of Kinloch Just Outside Taupo
Mt Maunganui (The Dark Part) Centre Screen Under The Cloud
Some of the cloud had cleared over the Waikato region which allowed for some shots of the towns below. Our flight path took us over Lake Taupo, giving us on the starboard side a view of the town as we headed northwest. We passed over a few more rural towns before beginning our descent into AKL. The flaps were so quiet that I didn’t hear them being extended and I was sitting right by it. We dropped through the broken cloud and the city of Auckland greeted us with quite a nice day. The landing was soft and it was interesting seeing smoke from the tyres sitting just outside the window. We taxied to the same gate I departed from earlier that morning. The flight crew were extremely friendly and I got a good picture and a not so good picture of the flight deck. I disembarked and headed home after a tiring day.
It was great finally being able to experience being in a prop during takeoff from AKL after many flights on jets.
On Approach Into AKL, Rangitoto Island In The Background
SB A332 About To Depart Back To Noumea
Cockpit Of The Dash 8-Q300
Beech 1900D ZK-EAI
Comparison Between ATR 72 And Dash 8
Both these planes have toilets in them, which, due to me not wanting to disturb my neighbours, I didn’t visit, cannot be compared by me. There wouldn’t be much to these toilets and they definitely wouldn’t be as lavish as some international first class toilet with a view.
In the Dash 8, there was this funny droning noise which lasted much longer than any similar noise on the ATR 72. Due to that, I don’t get what the ‘Q’ actually does although I know what an older Dash 8 sounds like from standing behind it from the terminal and it was noisier than the 737 taxiing to the gate! An interesting point: The ATRs use Mobil Oil and the Dash 8s use BP! They have these stickers on the engines facing in toward the fuselage saying “use this brand oil only’.
The day I flew was very calm so I didn’t get to test the stability between these 2 aircraft.
A more accurate comparison would be between the Q400 and the ATR 72 but I’ll have to make do because Air New Zealand only has Q300s and maybe looking to replace their ATR 72-500s sometime although they serve the airline quite nicely IMO.
I preferred the ATR 72 seats over the Dash 8’s even though it had one inch less legroom. It just seemed more comfortable. The ATR 72’s window is marginally bigger but it’s hard to tell unless you use something to measure it with. The NZ CAA regulations of FA:PAX ratio means that the ATR 72 (68 seats) carries 2 FAs and the Dash 8 (50 seats) carries one. It doesn’t make a difference apart from the fact that if you want coffee on board (which isn’t great anyway), you’d be waiting a bit longer on the Dash 8 because on the ATR 72, one FA has the tea and the other has the coffee. Cabin height is no real issue for me but you can judge that yourself by the photos I took. The Dash 8 window seats probably cater for taller people more than the ATR 72. Both aircraft are very pleasant and I wouldn’t have a problem going on either of them if I had a choice.
Air New Zealand once again for such awesome fares
The crew onboard both flights
You for reading my TRs!
Please join me again in over a month’s time as I upsize then supersize to a 763 and A380 on my return trip from AKL-SYD with a comprehensive tour through AKL’s international terminal and much more. Until then, have a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!