Flight check: Wellington to Auckland on Air NZ

By Morton Kute

Morton Kute* takes an unscheduled nosedive aboard NZ414.

The oxygen masks tumbling down made for a flight to remember - for all the wrong reasons - aboard NZ414. Photo / Thinkstock
The oxygen masks tumbling down made for a flight to remember - for all the wrong reasons - aboard NZ414. Photo / Thinkstock

The plane: Boeing 737-300, now under investigation following sudden loss of cabin pressure at 33,000 feet (10,0058m).

Class: "Genre" might be a better word. Thriller? Horror? Fright Flight will do.

Price: What price landing in one piece?

On time: A little late - but better late than never, eh?

My seat: 9C. 9A and 9B were empty. I could have used them for a lie-down.

Fellow passengers: Yeah, they were terrified, too.

How full?: Very full. Of fear.

Entertainment: Oh, where to start?

- The oxygen masks tumbling down.

- The repetition of "this is an emergency, this is an emergency" over the tannoy.

- The steep dive from 33,000 feet to 6000 feet.

- The alarms ringing. The low-level approach to Auckland Airport.

- The relief of being on the ground.

Got to hand it to them, the entertainment was so good, there was applause and cheering when it was all over.

The service: Impeccable. We'd had our biscuits and they'd been cleared away before the nose dive to low altitude. Just as well, otherwise it could have been really messy.

Food and drink: Drink. I needed a drink, alright.

The toilets: When everyone's crapping themselves at the same time, three toilets are not enough.

Luggage: Enough emotional baggage to last me a while.

Would I fly this again?: No. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I hope.

* Morgan Kute is a pen-name. The author wishes to remain anonymous.

- NZ Herald

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