Winston Aldworth flies NZ176, from Western Australia to New Zealand.
Class: Economy Class Skycouch.
My seat: Row 57.
On time? Bang on. This flight is scheduled for 5 hr 50 min, putting it squarely in the Twilight Zone — too short for a proper sleep, too long to just suck it up and muscle through. It's a difficult duration — I just don't know what to do with myself.
Price: One-way Economy Class fares start from $522. You can add Skycouch to your booking for an additional $399 per person (based on two people travelling together).
How full: Looked like about 75 per cent full.
Fellow passengers: Few flights are as Koiwoi as this Perth-to-Auckland link and on this run I was in the company of good Koiwoi folk; mostly a mining crowd by the look of them. But Air New Zealand is cunningly developing this route as a way of getting Western Convicts who are heading to America to go through Auckland. The timing is much better for connecting flights.
Also on board, five members of Fat Freddy's Drop which, judging by the heaving stage last time I saw them play, is about 7 per cent of their full line up. Lovely blokes — they were heading home from several months on Europe's festival circuit.
Entertainment: Few movies are as Koiwoi as Hunt for the Wilderpeople. "You ever worked on a farm before?" Sam Neil growls, directing the question not solely to his fellow actor Julian Dennison but to all Koiwoi males. "Or are you just ... ornamental? ... "
Service: They nailed it. I reckon the staff like this route as much as I dislike it. (I wonder if it counts as a longhaul for them in their contracts? In which case, it'd be a pretty cushy one. Answers on a postcard, readers.)
Their attitude and demeanor helped to make the awkward timing more bearable.
Food and drink: A quick dinner is served shortly after the 7.05pm take off. Eat quickly — you need to get some shut-eye as the landing in Auckland is set for 5.55am. Thanks to Skycouch, I slept well.
The toilets: Clean throughout.
The airport experience: Transferring from Abu Dhabi, I had a little over four hours to kill and Perth's not a great airport. You could get out of there and head for the beach, but I opted to make for the sanctuary of the Qantas lounge. Just as I arrived, a young woman was taking a platter of small mince pies around the guests. Well played!
Would I fly this again? I don't like the route, but if you've got to do it, then snoozing in the Skycouch is the best way.