Ewan McDonald flies aboard Air New Zealand's flight NZ419 from Auckland to Wellington.
Plane: An A320 (the Air New Zealand international version).
On time: Due to leave 10.30am, arrive 11.20am. In fact we pushed back at 10.40am, left the ground at 10.49am and landed at 11.45am. I know this because it was an international plane and flight tracker was enabled. Flightaware.com logged it as leaving at 10.37am and landing at 11.48am. (Such a nerd — Travel Editor.)
Class: First; aka Business, aka Premium, aka Economy.
Seat: 5F, window, near the front, empty seat next to me.
How full: That was just about the only empty seat of 168.
Food and drink: The usual coffee, tea or water. Chips or … "I'll have tea with milk and a biscuit." It is not a cookie. We do not have cookies in New Zealand and we shouldn't have them on Air New Zealand. Harrumph.
Service: Excellent. You do have to fly other nations' domestic routes to realise just how good our crew are, how the level of attention is pitched just right, and the airline in matching the number of crew to the number of passengers.
Entertainment: Because it was an international plane, we had the full IFE system — if you happened to have your own headphones on you. All the box sets and series and blockbusters you could watch in 55 minutes. No inflight magazine in the seat pocket in front of me.
Which you mention because: There was a new edition on the plane home next day, where I read about the new Kiwi As safety video which was about to replace the current version. Not before time — I've always felt the airline was tone-deaf over that safety video filmed in Antarctica. (This comment hasn't aged well — Travel Editor.)
Price: Ah, that joyful moment when you realise you've got just enough expiring airpoints to get to the significant family occasion and home again. Otherwise, $718.
Airport experience: But you do get, for free, the bonus experience of trying to land in Wellington on a windy day. Not too bad, this time. But the crew did, rather hastily, withdraw the option of disembarking via the rear stairs.
Would I fly it again? Mā te wā.