The plane: A de Havilland Dash-8/Bombardier Q300. The last de Havilland I'd seen was the wreckage of a 1955 crash high up in the Tararua Ranges. Ominous. I kept my seatbelt on.
Class: Being a domestic New Zealand flight it was relatively egalitarian. Except of course I'm not a Koru Club member with "status" so my seat options were toward back of plane.
It was, however, classier than a bus and kinder to my stomach. Any direction you drive from Gisborne involves roller-coaster roads.
Price: $309. Gulp.
Flight time: 1 hour five minutes.
My seat: Lucky 13A - window seat at very back. Despite having flown more miles than it'd take to travel to the moon, I never get bored of the view. A plane's back row lends itself well to photography - no wing in the way and usually no neighbouring passenger politely tolerating your movements as you line up your next shot.
Fellow passengers: Well-to-do locals and a handful of rocket scientists on way back from their Mahia Peninsula launch pad.
How full: If it was a glass of beer there was no risk of spillage, but it was full enough I wouldn't have asked the bartender to top up.
Entertainment: Didn't notice. I was engrossed with the misty, moody Te Urewera out the window.
The service: Flight attendant said my name in a way suggesting she'd sized me up as a problem passenger. She then bribed me with extra cookies. I love Air New Zealand cookies. I was very happy. And well behaved.
Food and drink: Mmm, cookies.
The toilets: Other than in an emergency, does anyone use the toilet on a domestic flight?
Luggage: Available for pick up quickly.
The airport experience: Pleasantly provincial - easy to access, friendly, and down to earth.
The bottomline: Excellent views including Poverty Bay, Te Urewera, Tauranga and Awhitu Peninsula.