Flight check: Auckland to Christchurch aboard Air New Zealand

By Courtney Whitaker

Courtney Whitaker flies Auckland to Christchurch on NZ551.
The Waimakariri River, seen form aboard NZ551. Photo / Courtney Whitaker
The Waimakariri River, seen form aboard NZ551. Photo / Courtney Whitaker

The Plane: An Airbus A320D.

Class: My very own empty patch in the one-and-only Economy.

Seat: 21F. I had the luxury of no seat neighbours, and almost the entire back end of the plane to myself. I could have had a comfortable wee kip over all three seats - but for fear of being passenger-shamed, I remained seated and well-behaved. I instead enjoyed the clear, postcard-perfect views of the landscape out my window.

Price: $139 one way.

Flight Time: 1hr 25mins.

On Time: We were delayed by about 10 minutes on departure thanks to the flight before ours running late. I used the opportunity to charge my phone in a power outlet behind the unmanned boarding gate, hoping I didn't short circuit the entire building in doing so.

Thankfully not, phew.

How Full: Around a quarter full. A few businessmen heading home for the weekend, by the looks.

Entertainment: The in-flight mag is always a pleasant read, and a rather cute quiz was playing on the drop-down screens scattered throughout the plane.

But old squinty here needed glasses to be able to read the small print.

Food and Drink: Tea, coffee and water was offered, as was the option of rice snacks or a cookie.

Service: Chipper flight attendants who were polite and consistent. Tick.

Baggage: One 23kg checked bag (unnecessary really, for only two nights, and yes, I did use most of those allocated kilos) and carry-on luggage, including a laptop.

WCs: Full marks for cleanliness.

Airport Experience: After checking my bag in, I found myself with about an hour to spare in the domestic terminal before departure. Thankfully, I found a seat in the extremely popular and actually - the only - bar in the joint, The Bach Alehouse. A glass of pinot gris and some free airport Wi-Fi passed the time nicely.

Would I fly this again? Yes. Such a smooth, efficient service.

- NZ Herald

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