I hope you are having a great day/night! This is my first ever trip report so please be kind and of course, feedback welcome
Aircraft Type: A321NEO
Aircraft Registration: ZK-NNE
Class: The Works
Airline: Air New Zealand
Flight Number: NZ721
The day started off with a nice and relaxing drive out to Auckland Airport. I say relaxing as I have had numerous experiences where the trip to the airport has been rushed due to lack of time, a good learning of which I have learnt a similar lesson which will come later in the report!
Here is a parting shot of the 'Park & Ride' terminal I used. The company I chose was called Park&Fly of which they were very attentive and efficient, nothing better than a smooth start to the day!
The terminal at Auckland International Airport was very busy for 4:45AM! Sometimes when awake at this time of day its easy to think that everyone's asleep - not the case at the airport!
Here's a typical shot of what visitors to NZ think about NZ. It's a very 'tourist' way of thinking of NZ, clean and green. For the most part it is, but like other countries we for sure have our difficulties.
Once I made my way through the terminal it was time to present to the Air New Zealand check-in area. Here's a shot of what that looks like at Auckland International.
The check in process is very straight-forward, a few questions and before you know it your boarding pass is printed. After that it's off to the bag-drop, a few taps of a screen and your bag is on its way to your destination. Once that's done its off to security. Auckland's version of the departure point is pretty nice. It's modern and open and provides plenty of room for family and friends to say their good-byes. Here's a few pics of the departure area before security.
Once through the departure point you are greeted by customs and security.
Here's a pic of the new passport readers. Personally I hadn't used these before and was pleasantly surprised at how easy they were to use. I was later to find out on my return to Auckland that the NZ ones are very good, the Aussie version nearly takes your passport and your fingers!
Anyway, the passport machines:
Once through security it is a rather pleasant experience at Auckland. I will present you with a free flow of pictures now until boarding commences. There will be a few additions based around what I experienced however!
This ceiling design was actually really rather relaxing
The trusty Jetstar A320. Not sure where this one was going to but having been on these I really believe that for the money they are great value
A word of advice - ha ha - if your gate is down here, don't get stuck like me leaving it to the last minute, I had to run basically the whole way to our gate!
The apron at Auckland International on the last day of 2019!
Finally made it to my gate! It was a solid 5 minute run from the main departures terminal - allow 15 minutes if walking!
A really nice screen design on these new A321's. It's very clear and performs well which provides a great user experience. Something that may annoy some passengers is that it doesn't tilt. This means that if the person in front of you puts their seat into recline, you may have a less than desirable viewing angle. Anyway, it did its job!
I'm not the tallest of blokes but this aircraft had plenty of leg-room as you can see here.
The cabin lighting really is lovely on the newer Air New Zealand aircraft. Looks great with the black. I personally think they could've added a bit of color to the exterior, but I suppose not everyone takes a good look at the exterior of airliners!
ZK-NNA which was the original A321NEO for Air NZ
Wing-view as we were pushing back from the gate
Great connectivity options on this planehttps://live.staticflickr.com/65535/494 ... c338_m.jpg
Wing-view as we taxied to the runway
Cleared to takeoff and we were on our way to Melbourne!
Just such a stunning morning view climbing out of Auckland. Probably impossible to get sick of this view!
About 35-40 minutes into the flight the meals were served. I chose the scrambled eggs with sausage and potato. Pleasant enough but the sizing of the meal was pretty small. I guess that's what fitness freaks (of which I once was lol) want. Easy enough to order another snack through the IFE of which I did about 30 minutes after the meal was served. The other option was cereal with yogurt.
The toilets were standard but obviously pretty good as the aircraft was near new. Pretty small restrooms but I guess for short-haul they do the job.
A wonderful and modern cabin on this Airbus. As mentioned previously the cabin lighting is great and even with a pretty full flight, the aircraft was comfortable enough.
Something that was quite rare was flying through the smoke from the recent Australian bush fires. The First Officer came over the PA and said that the smoke was no safety concern but that we might get a bad smell through the air conditioning. The smell came and went and before long we were out in clear air.
Here we are on approach to Melbourne. After flying through the smoke it was pretty routine so no pictures from that phase of the flight. It only got interesting once land came back into view - hence the pictures from here on!
One of my personal favorites
Before long we were on the ground in Australia! The approach was standard and we didn't appear to even divert significantly from our track across the Tasman Sea. Clearly this was due to the westerly facing runway we were given.
So, that's it! Overall I would give this flight experience a 8.5/10. For economy it couldn't really get any better. The food was good, the cabin was modern and the seats were comfortable. I haven't been on any of the other competitors over the Tasman recently but considering the age of Qantas, Virgin Australia, and Jetstar's aircraft, I'd say it doesn't get any better than Air New Zealand.
If you have read this far, thanks so much for taking the time to read my report! And remember - feedback welcome!