Flight check: Auckland to Palmerston North aboard Air New Zealand

By Shandelle Battersby

Shandelle Battersby flies from Auckland to Palmerston North aboard Air New Zealand’s flight NZ5115.
An Air New Zealand ATR72. Photo / Chris Fort
An Air New Zealand ATR72. Photo / Chris Fort

The plane: An ATR 72 twin-engine turboprop, ideal for short-haul regional flights. They seat 68 in rows of 2-2.

Class: Only the one.

Price: $69.

Flight time: One hour and 10 minutes.

My seat: 11A, so great views of a brown Mt Ngauruhoe and Lake Taupo out the window.

Fellow passengers: Mostly solo travellers, a few couples.

How full: A little over half - there was an entirely empty row in front of me and the chap sitting next to me (who'd done his seat belt up before I sat down - why do people do that?) moved so we could both spread out.

Entertainment: Have you discovered the simple T-Rex game that you can play offline on your Google Chrome browser? A kid told me about it.

Good to pass the time, while catching up on a few podcasts downloaded the night before.

The service: Very friendly, and always impressive how quickly they serve water, a hot drink and a bikkie, the lollies and clean up the rubbish without appearing to rush.

Pleasant surprise: I've spent a bit of time at Palmerston North Airport over the years and it hasn't changed a lot, but I discovered while waiting for my return flight that there is free Wi-Fi! And it's fast! And there's a really good cafe with views over the runway. Great provincial airport experience.

The toilets: N/A.

Luggage: Bit naughty, using all of my 7kg and then some, plus a big bunch of flowers (which didn't enjoy the flight as much as I did, sadly).

Would I fly this again? I would, but then, with the Whanganui Airport no longer servicing Air New Zealand flights, there's not a lot of choice. Jetstar also flies into Palmerston North, which has made the fares a lot more competitive than a few years ago.

- NZ Herald

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