Travel Wires: Economy tips

We like the super-cool airport at Whakatane, which was designed by Roger Walker in the 70. Photo / Alan Gibson
We like the super-cool airport at Whakatane, which was designed by Roger Walker in the 70. Photo / Alan Gibson

Fancy a cheap flight? Fly in November. Online booking agent Skyscanner has looked over their own search data and found that the 11th month is the best time to book flights from New Zealand this year. They also found that booking 29 weeks before departure would yield the cheapest tickets. Data based on 250 million flights globally suggests booking in November can bring 8 per cent savings on flights, compared to the overall average price paid.

Economy tips II

Forget November, say the people at, don't fly Friday. That's one of the top tips from Phil Bloomfield, of the online booking agency. He's got more golden advice: "Delete your browser history - prices can increase based on the number of times you re-enter a particular website; avoid booking late - generally 50 days ahead of departure will get you the best price; book on a Tuesday - this is the cheapest day of the week to lock-in holiday plans; don't fly on a Friday - it's consistently the most expensive day to fly; travel between 6pm and midnight - flights are typically cheaper."

Animal attractions

Run for help, Lassie! Seriously, run for your life! World Animal Protection has revealed the 10 worst tourism attractions for mistreatment of animals. Their report comes from research into the scale of welfare and conservation of wildlife tourism by University of Oxford's Wildlife Conservation Research Unit. 1. Riding elephants; 2. Taking tiger selfies; 3. Walking with lions; 4. Visiting bear parks; 5. Holding sea turtles; 6. Performing dolphins; 7. Dancing monkeys; 8. Civet cat coffee plantations; 9. Charming snakes and kissing cobras; 10. Farming crocodiles.

Non-Economy tips I

The Middle East's famed flying pub (well you think of a better description for the Business Class bar on their A380s) has again been ranked the world's most valuable airline brand, 47 places above the next closest competitor. The 2016 Brand Finance Global 500 report clocked the Emirates brand value climbing 17 per cent (to $14.5b), year-on-year, with the Dubai-based carrier ranked 171 of the top 500 brands globally.

It's all gobbledegook to the the Travel Wires team, but we think the flying pub is pretty cool.

Departure Lounge

We like...

The super-cool airport at Whakatane, which was designed by Roger Walker in the 70s. If you're passing through, make sure you detour to check it out - it's like something out of an architectural dream, with odd shapes and quirky elements.

We don't like...

Transport options out of Auckland Airport. It's still a bit embarrassing for visitors to face a choice between a tiki-tour bus or a traffic-jammed taxi. Especially when compared with almost any Asian airport, particularly the superb Hong Kong and Seoul.

Tell us what you like and don't like in the world of travel. Email TRAVEL@NZHERALD.CO.NZ

Letters to the Travel Editor



You missed the real reason for renaming the seating section at the front of the plane ["Grim news from the front of the airplane", Travel, February 2]. The whole point is that the only people who ride in the front are either the screaming rich, totally stupid nouveau riche wannabes, or (most often) people spending someone else's money. Shareholders in egalitarian New Zealand object to companies spending money on First Class but Business Class sounds okay. Travel arrangers for worker bees in large companies in the US have rules about them riding First Class but not Business Class.

The whole idea of spending $6500-$8000 (and often more) for a bed for the night when you can do it for $1500 is just plain nuts (unless someone else is paying for it).

E. John List, Pasadena, CA, United States

First class seating is not affordable for most, says one reader.
First class seating is not affordable for most, says one reader.


Dear Sir,

Using the accumulated wisdom of her trolly-dolly past, Fiona Allen was allowed to lecture at length on how the pilot has ultimate control of an aircraft ["Letters to the Travel Editor", Travel, Jan 19]. Her letter, published just three days after the dramatic scare on NZ90, Auckland-bound, an hour out from Tokyo, showed her claims to be more a pious hope. The B787-9 Dreamliner plunged twice very sharply and there were screams of fear and terror. "I don't want to die," said one little boy repeatedly. The voice from the cockpit did little to allay the fear that death may be near. A modern jet is never more than a hair's breadth away from disaster. The forces involved in flight are truly colossal. It is only the brilliance of modern engineering allied to computer control that keeps the Grim Reaper at bay for 99.999 per cent of the time. That is a fact few care to dwell on as they soar through the skies ... or plunge unexpectedly as they did on NZ90 on January 16. Kipling's 1925 poem The Secret of the Machines could have been written for modern aviation nearly a century later. The poem concludes ... "we are not built to comprehend a lie. We can neither love, nor pity nor forgive. If you make a slip in handling us, you die."

Dr Brian Cocksey, Papakura


Dear Sir,

Your article on Huia ["Kia Ora", Travel, p19] brought back memories from 75 years ago when, as a small child, my family camped on the foreshore of Little Huia. Having no car everything went by carrier, and on one occasion the driver took pity on us and let us all get in the back with the other goods. I now know after all these years why we and our friends who bached there at the foot of Jacky's Peak, always said "the Huia". Our Pt Chevalier neighbours and friends, Harold and Hilda Carlton, spent many a time there and "Uncle Harold" had a ring of cardboard bottle tops which was said to represent him as "Mayor" of Huia. I can remember a swollen creek, a lamp-lit trek up to the farmhouse (the Barrs?) where my brother and I top and tailed on a settee for the night after our tent become unsafe in the storm.

We used to climb up a large rock at the end of the beach and thought it extremely adventurous -- visiting again some 20-odd years later, it was my small daughter who saw the adventure in a relatively small rock. We caught and brought home a wild tabby kitten who went by the unfortunate name of Huia Harold -- try calling that out all the time!

Lois Wilkinson, Kerikeri


Dear Sir,

I'd like to sing the praises of Princess Cruises. At the age of 82, my husband decided to give up just about everything that wasn't essential so we could finance our last cruise before senescence and its accompanying problems started to set in. We booked to go round the top part of Australia in September 2014 from Perth to Brisbane.

We joined the cruise at Perth and spent two nights on the boat. But the cruise ship developed problems in the engine department, so at that point we were told that we had to return to New Zealand. The company paid for our fares back to New Zealand, with the promise of another cruise if we wanted it. As luck would have it, the inevitable old age problems started to appear. My husband hurt his back and ended up in hospital about a week before we were due to go on a much more elaborate cruise, this time around the whole of Australia. This was the end, we thought, but in its generosity Princess Cruises offered us another one if we booked before the end of the year. We made a booking for a cruise in September. Barry's health held out quite well after that, but unbelievably another catastrophe occurred. He didn't realise at the time that his passport had only five months before the expiry date at the intended time of travel, and so we were unable to take advantage of that as he needed six months. As it was a UK passport it would take some time to process so we were obliged to cancel that cruise. Princess Cruises allowed us to book another one, but the one we wanted was fully booked. Then they allowed us to book a cruise starting May 1. We are very much looking forward to that.

So thumbs-up to Princess Cruises. I would recommend them to anybody.

Ailsa Martin-Buss, Glen Innes


Dear Sir,

[Re: "Here to Help", Travel, Jan 19] For several summers, I did two volunteer conservation trips -- one in Estonia and the other in New York State: these had practical, physical outcomes -- namely bridge building and habitat management that actively involved the local community, and we spent half of our time exploring the area with our local hosts. These practical trips have no deficient impact on the community.

Andrew Parsons, Orakei

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