Daniel Richardson flies Virgin Australia VA65 from Wellington to Brisbane.

The plane:

Boeing 737-800

Class: Economy class. I will take what I am given.

Price: $447.


On time? Yep, you could set your watch to it and when you're on the early morning 6.45am departure, the last thing you need is an annoying delay.

My seat: 14D. I scored an exit row, which was a great result as it offered extra leg room. Thankfully, there was no emergency - I'm a terrible listener when it comes to those in-flight briefings. Basically all I can recall is that if you see flames, don't open the emergency door. Sage advice.

Fellow passengers: There was a spare seat between me and another bloke who got the window. He kept to himself and I was in no mood to make extensive conversation given my alarm had gone off at 4.30am that day.

How full? Around two-thirds. There were never any long waits to use the bathroom.

Entertainment: The movie selection was distinctly poor. The only thing that really grabbed me was The Company You Keep so I sat through that. Otherwise there was a random collection of television shows, with a couple that were watchable, a music collection that had absolutely no flow to it and a few Australian-based podcasts that didn't get more than a glance from me. From this perspective I was glad the flight was less than four hours long.

The service: Very polite and efficient. My portable viewing device was delivered to me promptly and the crew were helpful when dishing out refreshments.

Food and drink: Great. Some decent eggs for breakfast, nice juice and plenty of coffee. There was complimentary beer and wine on offer, but 6.45am is a bit too early for an ale for even the most committed drinkers. Isn't it?

The toilets: I ventured in there only once but they housed me adequately and I found them to be clean and tidy.


Luggage: My bag weighed 11.2kg so it was checked-in without fuss as I cruised under the 23kg limit. Heck, I was only heading away for four days. Oh, and my laptop bag travelled with me in carry-on.

The airport experience: Wellington's airport Wi-Fi didn't seem to agree with my laptop, which wasn't something I wanted to see to start the day. Once I'd proceeded through to the international departure lounge I found my way on to another provider, which eased my concerns before take off.

Would I fly this again? To borrow a term that is used by too many of New Zealand's top athletes: "Yeah, definitely."

Daniel Richardson was a guest of Brisbane Marketing and Tourism Events Queensland.