Political commentator and blogger Shane Te Pou flies NZ80 from Hong Kong to Auckland
The plane: A 777-200. Having travelled a bit for mahi and with the whānau, I love the 777-200, easy to get in and out of, spacious yet intimate. Talking to the staff they tell me they love the plane, flying them to places like Vancouver, Sydney and Buenos Aires. Air New Zealand plan to retire the 777-200 fleet in the next few years, replacing them with the Boeing 787-10 Dreamliners.
Class: Business Premier. I was sitting in Seat A2, you've got to love the ability to sleep flat on an 11-hour trip. I try to schedule these trips so I leave in the evening and arrive in the morning, local time.
Fellow passengers: The folks who fly up front tend to be business folks, the odd minister and iwi leaders (cashed-up treaty leaders). Like me, most just want a kai, to watch a movie and have a sleep. How full: There was a missed connection so unusually a few seats were free up front, the rest of the plane however, was pretty full.
Entertainment: Air New Zealand has a great selection of New Zealand movies and television. On this trip, I caught up with the Tipene whānau on The Casketeers, which had me crying one minute and laughing out loud the next.
Food and drink: Up front, to be honest, the kai and wine are pretty good. On boarding you are offered a drink, I like to hydrate a bit so normally go for sparkling water. Leaving at 5pm we had dinner, warm bread to start off with followed by salmon. One of the perks offlying out ofHongKong orChina is thatthe menu has a heavy Chinese influence so the sweet and sour chicken with jasmine rice went down a treat. New Zealand ice cream is always on offer — and gladly accepted. There's always a great selection of New Zealand wines, I tend not to drink too much as I normally have an appointment upon landing or need to get some sleep. Having said that if there is a Craggy Range on offer I will indulge. Two hours out, it's breakfast time; I tend to just have a cup of tea as I want to have breakfast with my kids when I land or save myself from having two breakfasts as my working day normally starts with a kai.
Price: Not much change out of $7000 return up front, but there are bargains in Economy if you book early.
On time? Flying out of Hong Kong means airlines do all they can to run on time — and we did. The flight time was just over 11hr 30m.
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Airport experience: I had no checked in bags which meant I was able to be in the taxi within 15 minutes of landing in Tāmaki Makaurau.
The crew: We were captained by Mike Booth and ably looked after in the cabin by Jo and Quang. This is not paid advertorial, but for me nothing says you're almost home like Air New Zealand. The staff offer us a lovely "kia ora". They are professional yet they have that cheeky way about them us Kiwis love. I travel a bit and we have had wonderful experiences and service flying our National Airline.
The final word: He tangata takahi manuhiri, he marae puehu. (A person who mistreats his guest has a dusty marae.) This is not the case with our national airline.