Susan Strongman flies aboard Jetstar’s new service from Auckland to New Plymouth.

The plane:

A 50-seat Bombardier Q300. This is a new visitor to the skies above Taranaki; Jetstar began services from Auckland to New Plymouth, Palmerston North and Nelson airports at the start of last month and is working five of these Q300s on these regional operations. We were aboard the inaugural flight.

Price: You can pick up a one-way ticket for this service online for as little as $29.

Flight time: About 50 minutes.


My seat: I had an aisle seat near the back of the plane. It served its purpose as a device for me to sit in.

Fellow passengers: I had my book at the ready, but ended up chatting to a friendly travel blogger who made me feel very jealous of her glamorous life.

How full: There were no spare seats, as the flight was brimming with Jetstar bosses as well as New Plymouth's local MP and his wife.

Entertainment: Just listening to stories about the travel blogger's wonderful trips to exotic places, an in-flight magazine, and my book, which I didn't read. We were greeted in New Plymouth with a powhiri, an aeroplane-shaped cake, several Taranaki mayors, and a couple wearing his-and-hers Crocs.

The service: The steward was lovely and polite, despite being hounded to sing a song by the travel blogger and an anonymous journalist.

Food and drink: There were supposed to be muffins, but someone forgot to load them, so we just had water, which is fine, because I don't like muffins, and water is good for you.

The toilets: Didn't use it, which was a mistake, because, powhiri.

Luggage: Although I had a check-in allowance, I took my luggage as carry-on because I have an aversion to hanging around airports waiting for things.

The airport experience: Jetstar has a prefab-type structure beside New Plymouth's main airport, to welcome its customers. It wasn't air-conditioned, and it was muggy.

Would I fly this again? Definitely.