Winston Aldworth

Winston Aldworth is the Herald's Travel Editor.

Flight check: Christchurch to Auckland on Air NZ

Winston Aldworth flies NZ522 from Canterbury to Auckland.

Call me fussy but I reckon Air New Zealand should make a bigger deal out of its in-flight coffee. Photo / Bay of Plenty Times
Call me fussy but I reckon Air New Zealand should make a bigger deal out of its in-flight coffee. Photo / Bay of Plenty Times

The plane: Boeing 737-300.

Price: $218.

Class: Just the one. We're all in this together.

On time? Yup.

My seat: Bit of an issue here. I'd tried to be clever at the self check-in thing and shift my partner and I to an emergency exit row. I got it half right - she was sent back to the emergency exit in row 11 while I was perched alongside strangers in row 7 (it was an accident, honey, honest). But the nice cabin crew guy said I'd be fine to do a switch.

There's something tricky about the self check-in system that I'm yet to master. I imagine older folk and those even more technophobic than myself are befuddled by it.

Fellow passengers: Full of them - my seat switch was pretty much the only one possible.

This route is a bread-and-butter earner for the national carrier.

Entertainment: Maybe I'm imagining it, but Air New Zealand seems to be playing more of its promo videos on the in-flight quiz screens. Next stop: outright advertising.

Food and drink: A small cookie or a wee packet of chips, which the staff insisted on calling "crisps". Excuse me while I clear something up: "crisp" is an adjective, "chip" is a noun and this is Air New Zealand, not Air Yorkshire, by gum. And call me fussy but I reckon Air New Zealand should make a bigger deal out of its in-flight coffee. There's something institutional about the taste of the java on board. Would fresh plungers with really good beans from a reputable roaster blow the budget? Hey, AirNZfairy, when you're done twittering to social-media freebie hunters, think of the marketing potential in serving the best airborne coffee in the world.

Luggage: In Christchurch for a wedding, we saved money by going with carry-on luggage only. That's one small bag of no more than 7kg - I'd have had to do some fast talking if staff had weighed my bag.

The airport experience: Christchurch Airport has come up trumps, with tidy public areas and good coffee downstairs. Though the roads in and out are somewhat labyrinthine. Auckland domestic is - as always - a letdown.

Would I fly this again? Inevitably. Loads of weddings in Christchurch.

- NZ Herald

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