Flight check: Gisborne to Auckland on Air NZ

By Myrddin Gwynedd

Myrddin Gwynedd flies NZ8654 from the East Coast to the City of Sails.

The view of Auckland from out the window of an Air New Zealand De Havilland Dash 8. Photo / Myrddin Gwynedd
The view of Auckland from out the window of an Air New Zealand De Havilland Dash 8. Photo / Myrddin Gwynedd

The plane: De Havilland Dash 8. A turbo-prop. This was the second time I've flown in a propeller plane. My first experience was akin to riding the skies in a wobbly, claustrophobic test tube (I was practically sitting on the pilot's knee). This experience was far superior, and not once did I reach for my St Christopher pendant (I'm prone to being a nervous flyer).

Class: All economy.

Price: Good question. This was a work-related trip, so I didn't have to dip into my own coffers. I know, lucky sausage! One-way fares out of Auckland start from $59.

Flight time: All of 50 minutes. Barely enough time to pack in a power nap, exchange some pleasantries with my fellow passengers, and think about what to have for tea.

My seat: 7D. A window seat. I had a clear view of the propeller, which reflected the on-wing lights beautifully as we descended from the clouds and into Auckland.

Fellow passengers: A mixed crowd. Some couples, singles. The majority were business folk travelling back to Auckland from a conference in Gisborne. Not a spare seat in the house.

Entertainment: You make your own. I had a quick read of the in-flight magazine (good), listened to some music (I need to update my library), and indulged in my favourite pastime, people-watching.

The service: Just the one cabin crew member on this flight. He did a fine job purveying tea, coffee and those customary pre-landing sweeteners - lollies!

Food and drink: Tea, coffee, water. And a cookie. Oh, and I'm pretty sure there was fudge on offer at one point. Choice.

The toilets: Just the one at the front of the cabin. I never used it.

Luggage: One checked bag. I like to travel light, so the bag was well under 20kg.

The airport experience: Gisborne airport was busy, but I mananged to grab a seat and imbibe a well-earned beer bought from the airport's well-stocked cafe. There was a good range of food on offer, and the staff were pleasant. Passenger communications over the tannoy were audible and clear, and the airport appeared to be run like a well-oiled machine.

Would I fly this again? Definitely. This was my first time in Gisborne, and I loved it. The weather was pristine, and the trip was a success. My partner and I plan on returning to further explore the area at some stage.

- NZ Herald

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