Flight check: Auckland to Port Vila on Air Vanuatu

By Shandelle Battersby

Shandelle Battersby flies to Vanuatu.

Vanuatu.
Vanuatu.

The plane: A Boeing 737-800, brand-new in February and still looking fresh and clean.

My seat: 7E. These 737s have a 3-3 configuration. There's a small Business Class cabin up front.

Flight time: Three hours. And bang on time.

Price: Return Economy fares start from $613.

Luggage: A generous 30kg of checked-in luggage - good for divers and the like.

The airport experience: Port Vila's airport, Bauerfield International Airport, is fairly small, basic, chaotic and, happily, very busy - repairs to cracks in its runway mean that it's almost business as usual. The next priority is to get Air New Zealand back there once the airline deems it safe enough.

How full? About two-thirds.

Fellow passengers: Tourists, locals and a few businessmen.

Food and drink: All inclusive. For lunch there was a choice of really tasty steamed sea bass or a beef pie, plus a dinky bread roll, salad and cookie. On the early morning flight home a few days later, I had an eggs-ellent (sorry) scrambled egg tortilla.

In-flight entertainment: There's an in-flight app to download on your device with a few average telly shows and a bit of music, so I'd advise you BYO. And don't forget your headphones.

The service: Lovely. We were taught how to say thank you very much in the local pidgin language Bislama (tankyu tumas) as we boarded.

Would I fly this again? Yes - flying on a new plane is always nice, the service was great, the food good, and the flight time sped by. The airline has just added an extra flight a week over winter, so now you have four flights to choose from: Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. The Tuesday flight will run until October 5.

- NZ Herald

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