Chris Reed does the Auckland to Wellington thing aboard NZ449.
The plane: The sort that goes from Auckland to Wellington to Auckland to Wellington to Auckland to Wellington … Black and white paint scheme … one class.
Price: Work trip to see Prince Harry and Meghan, so full Economy Class flexi plus fare which cost $593 return. Thanks, work.
Flight time: The usual 65-minute up and down. Bang on time.
My seat: On the aisle, somewhere in the middle.
Fellow passengers: Now you're being interesting. The respectable-looking woman in the window seat on my row of three took particular exception to the onboard music. I sensed some edginess — shifting of posture, tutting, that sort of thing — before and during the taxi. The explosion came when the music continued as we powered down the runway.
Being from an age when pop was literate and intelligent and willing to challenge cultural and sociological taboos, I'm not the biggest fan of Ed Sheeran and co, but even I wouldn't clasp my hands to my ears before shouting: "Will someone turn this f****** music down?" At least not on a plane.
How full: There was, thankfully, a seat between us, so not quite.
Entertainment: Clearly not everyone was down with the soundtrack. Typically I had a very cool playlist on my phone — proper house, Balearic vibes, vintage indie, thanks for asking — so turned it up and read a book about northern England to minimise the chance of eye contact.
The service: The cabin crew are lovely, but I do wonder whether Air NZ's slogan should be "The DIY airline". If you're flying domestic from Auckland, you check in yourself, swipe your case at the bag drop yourself, scan your boarding pass yourself. How long till there's a roster to fly the plane? (I know I'm a curmudgeon, perhaps a Luddite too.)
Food and drink: The flight was 6pm but on a Sunday — so no Koru Hour cheese. Or lobster, which seems to be a theme on these pages of late.
Luggage: One (self-)checked-in case. I had a short wait in the capital, hiding behind a pillar from Music Lady.
The airport experience: Not really sure why people get so down on Auckland's domestic terminal. It's not like they play crap pop too loud.
The bottom line: Don't pump up the volume.