just did AKL-SIN-FRA-GOT, and caught up with all your posts (gee, you have been busy the past two-three days
Here a few points regarding some of the previous points (and other observations):
* Airbus versus Boeing aircraft and passenger comfort: The AKL-SIN flight was on a SQ 77W (9V-SWK), and I noticed how incredibly noisy it was. I never even noticed it on NZ's (or any other, incl SQ's) 77Ws before. It was even more pronounced when you took off your noise cancelling head sets (again, which I never felt before). In contrast, LH's A380 was extremely quiet (as always).
* I scored upgrades on both legs. It was my first time on SQ's PE, and it was underwhelming. Nothing wrong at all, but nothing to write home about either. I think NZ's and LH's PE are significantly better. While I don't care about such minor things, SQ's "amenity kit" was a joke. LH's seats feel more comfy, and I am always happy to pay for the upgrade with them (dosn't matter if it is the A380, A340-600, B744 or B748 - all are good in PE).
* Airport shopping: I needed to buy a new shirt at Changi (spilled chocolate sauce on mine - oops
), and guess what: No "general" brand to be seen. All just quite expensive high-end shops as well. Some were slightly cheaper, but I would have loved to have a Zara or H&M shop there. Before you crucify me, there might be one there, but I walked all the way from from T3 to T2 (rather than taking the train), so passed by quite a large number of shops. But that seems to be a general thing: I never understand how those high-end shops at airports make money - you rarely see anybody in there, and most of those who do go in just browse out of boredom/to kill time, rather than buy. But obviously they make enough, else they wouldn't be there. I am with the argument that AKL gets the kiwiana theme right (like OZ's airports as well, where you can buy anything Australian, from stuffed koalas to Aboriginal art). That is the point of difference, and that is what tourists tend to buy (at I least I would think so).
* I am impressed at how well security now works at AKL. The past few months I had only one time where there was a bit of a line. And that could have been eliminated as well, since 3 or 4 stations weren't even open. It is much less of a hassle. Equally, I never had to wait at the self-processing immigration gates either since they changed. These two points have significantly raised my airport experience at AKL. On the other hand, MAF is still the worst part for me (although the new "non-screening" lane is an improvement), closely followed by the indeed way too small gate areas.
* B777X vs A350: I will have my first A350 experience on my way back, and then decide, but based on the fact alone that the B777X will be 10 abreast already makes me favour the A350.
* B787 experience: I like the B787, but NZ's is too cramped. I am not talking about the 9 abreast, but the seat pitch. It really feels very tight in Y. Did MNL-YVR-MNL on JL recently, and if felt much better. I do like the window dimming options. Even if totally dimmed, you can still see out. And with the current trend that all window shades are to be drawn for 95% of the flight (even during day flights), I prefer a "darker" view to no view.
* Koru lounge: In the evening it can indeed be extremely crowded, and a bit of a circus. We had times where the two of us couldn't even get any 2 seats together. When I flew out a few days ago on SQ's noon service, the lounge was deserted. Great experience, good food and good drinks. Bottom line: They have to balance the viability across the hours it is open, and at peak times it really is too crowded and noisy. The suggested 2nd lounge at/close to gates 17/18 would take some pressure of the main lounge, and would be welcome by many i guess.
* Bus operations: I read these comments with great interest (especially from aerorob). I am flying pretty regularly (this year pretty much one longhaul per month out of AKL, plus TT flights), and in all my years flying into and out of AKL I had only one single bus transfer (after a NRT-AKL flight). I must be extremely lucky, since I don't have specific routes, which could explain it (i.e. do Asia flights get more bus ops than US flights, or something like that). I also fly a variety of carriers, but the bulk is indeed with NZ - maybe they get preferential treatment as the home carrier?
"Just some thoughts" became quite a long post - sorry!
P.S.: Thanks to all of you who make an effort to keeping this thread a bit more balanced and also throwing in some of the positive sides of aviation. I admit that I got quite frustrated recently, but it seems we are back to "normal", and that's why I enjoy this thread so much. Keep it coming, and thanks for all your contributions - even though won't post much, I truly enjoy reading your posts:-)