Eli Orzessek flies aboard JQ361 from Auckland to New Plymouth.

The plane:

A Dash-8 Q300 turboprop.

Class: Economy - what else?

Price: My short notice tickets were $274 return, but there are much better deals out there - I've seen it advertised for $29 each way.


Flight time: 45 minutes, this went by very quickly.

My seat: 10C, which was an aisle seat on the emergency exit row - so I got my own special safety demonstration and the added bonus of feeling like I could potentially be a hero if something went wrong.

Fellow passengers: It seemed mostly Taranaki locals heading to the big smoke, with a few tourists in the mix.

How full: It was completely full. I would have preferred a window seat, but there were none left.

Entertainment: The Jetstar magazine in the back of the seat and my iPhone did the job.

The service: Friendly and pleasant - there wasn't much to do besides greeting and farewelling and safety demos.

Food and drink: Unsurprisingly, there wasn't any.

The toilets: I didn't need to use them - it was only 45 minutes, after all.

Luggage: 20kg allowed checked in, but I just had my backpack as carry-on, along with some records I bought in New Plymouth.

The airport experience: New Plymouth has a fairly unremarkable regional airport with two vending machines. Nothing to write home about, but then again, neither is Auckland Domestic.

Would I fly this again? If I needed to get down to New Plymouth in a hurry, sure - it was fast and on time. Generally, I'd go by car.