I've been travelling a fair bit this year.

I'm not at Gold Elite level but I've certainly spent more time in the air than I ever would have imagined as a young girl growing up in small-town New Zealand.

Back then, the aim was to work hard all your life, preferably in a secure government job, and then celebrate your retirement at 65 with a once-in-a-lifetime round-the-world trip.

People didn't just get on planes and go on holidays — well, not people we knew. People like us packed up the family car and travelled to destinations within the country — to relatives' houses or motor camps.


Occasionally, we'd take the car on the Interisland ferry, provided the crews weren't on strike, and venture to the South Island.

And once, the family went to Fiji. That was amazing. To go overseas on a holiday was a very big deal. Even knowing someone who'd gone overseas on holiday gave you status.

So to have travelled to the UK, Ireland, France, India, Myanmar and Argentina this year with trips to Niue and London to come are beyond the wildest imaginings of my youth.

I've travelled for work and for pleasure, in business and economy. I've flown a number of airlines and all of them have been fabulous.

I've enjoyed the comfort of airline lounges around the world and I've cooled my heels in different airports.

And I can't really get on board with the outrage being expressed by travellers over the overcrowding of the Koru Lounge at Auckland International Airport.

I've been a Koru member for years and the domestic lounges have been enormously useful at various times. I've been able to file this column using the business centres on a number of occasions when flights have been delayed and deadlines are looming.

I've enjoyed the food offered in the Wellington and Christchurch lounges — not so much the food in the Auckland lounge — when I've been working late and then travelling later.

And there's always someone you know in the domestic lounges. The international lounge I've used less often, because we generally fly Cathay when we fly overseas.

They were the airline that sponsored a travel show I presented and thanks to them, I finally got to see the world beyond the Pacific for the very first time in my late 20s. I sent them a thank you letter when I returned and vowed that if there was ever a time when I could afford to pay for my own trips overseas, I would fly Cathay.

As a single mother working as a waitress at the time, I never thought that day would come but life has a funny way of surprising you and I found myself able to repay Cathay for their sponsorship of the show and for introducing me to the world.

The Cathay lounges are a godsend in Hong Kong. To be able to break up a 26-hour trip to London with a glass of champagne, fabulous noodles, a magnificent shower and a change of clothes is a fabulous way to arrive on the other side of the world refreshed and raring to go.

They never seem to be overcrowded — they are tranquil oases of calm and pleasure.

By contrast, the Koru Lounge in Auckland does seem to be stretched thinly and there haven't been many spare seats when I've been there in recent times. And nobody likes being turned away. I would probably be affronted if I waltzed up to the lovely gatekeepers with a cheery welcome only to be sent packing.

However nicely it's done, it would still feel like rejection. The compromise Air New Zealand has struck by sending travellers texts advising them that they would be offered hospitality at the Strata Lounge seems a good one.

I have yet to test drive the Strata Lounge but I'm sure it's perfectly fine. Besides, the airport itself is a great one to wander round as I've discovered and there are plenty of cafes and bars to choose from.

I don't quite know why some people are so upset. At least Air New Zealand has offered an alternative option.

Any time I find myself getting even the slightest bit tetchy — if an upgrade doesn't come through, or I'm jammed in between three people next to the toilet — I remind myself how lucky I am to have the opportunity to be flying at all.

I'm a million miles away from 7-year-old Kerre in Tokoroa who could only dream of travelling the world.