Louise Taylor flies aboard JQ297 from Auckland to Queenstown.

The plane:

An Airbus A320.

Class: Cattle. This is Jetstar, people.

Price: $338 for a return flight.


Flight time: 1hr 50mins. And we were right on time.

My seat: 14B, but I swiftly moved to the window seat 14A when my neighbour told me that a fellow member of her marching team was unable to make it.

Fellow passengers: A full senior marching team on their way to Invercargill for the national marching champs. Felt more like they were on a hen's do but with technical marching talk thrown in and talking about strategies regarding rival teams. They were all fired up and relishing the chance to spend three days talking about marching. An Indian tour group took up most of the back of the plane. There were also groups with backpacks off to do some tramping.

Entertainment: Marvelling at the young Jetstar flight attendant with a full beehive. Luckily the woman sitting next to me had been a hairdresser for 23 years and could talk me through the finer points of back-combing and the french roll, and hairpins and hairspray needed to create such a masterpiece. We were both suitably impressed and hoped for it to become the next fashion in-thing.

How full: Adele, the flight manager, said there were 40 spare seats, but it seemed fairly full.

The service: Friendly and well-coiffed.

Food and drink: The usual options to purchase during the flight.

The toilets: Spic and span.

Luggage: On my way to a mountain wedding, I needed a fair bit of gear, so had paid for the 20kg allowance of checked-in luggage.

The airport experience: Nothing screams budget airline like the Jetstar section of Auckland's domestic terminal.