Sacha Judd flies NZ8217 from Northland to Auckland
The plane: A Bombardier Q300 turboprop.
Class: There's only the one. I did, however, get to pick a seat near the front for free, so I suppose that's a bit fancy.
Price: I was flying on to Christchurch, so I'm not sure how much of the fare was the Whangarei leg. I also have the Flexitime Flyer membership from Air New Zealand that lets me pay seat-only prices for flexi fares, which is awesome.
Flight time: Thirty minutes. We were a little delayed coming into Auckland by air traffic control, so we wound up flying down over the North Shore instead of Kaipara, with a gorgeous view over the city as the sun came up.
My seat: Technically I was in 2B, but there was no one beside me, so I moved to take pictures out the window. New Zealand is ridiculously photogenic from the air.
Fellow passengers: It was very early in the morning and I hadn't had any coffee yet, so I didn't pay them too much attention.
How full? A couple of empty seats up the front.
Entertainment: The mood was buoyant when the flight attendant mentioned we'd won the America's Cup that morning. That was about it.
The service: Excellent. If only the mainstream flights could have such a short, video-less safety briefing.
Food and drink: Water and boiled sweets, which is all there's time for. Is Air New Zealand single-handedly maintaining demand for boiled sweets in this country?
The toilets: I feel that if you have to use the toilet on a 30-minute flight you haven't planned your day very well.
Luggage: Fastbag continues to be excellent. Not having to try to ram your carry-on into the tiny overhead on a turboprop is a significant advantage.
The airport experience: Passable. Turns out there's nowhere to leave a bag at the Auckland Domestic terminal for a day, so I had to lug mine on to Christchurch. The eggs in the Koru Lounge were good, however and no one had burned the toast.
The bottom line: I used to drive to Auckland for flights to Wellington or Christchurch, before I realised that the parking at Whangarei Airport is free, there's no security queue to deal with, and half an hour later you're having coffee in the Auckland Koru Lounge. Beats getting stuck in the rush-hour traffic on the Northern Motorway, hands down.