Andrew Louis flies from Auckland to the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, on Air New Zealand flight NZ0769.

The plane:

An Airbus A320.

On time: Ten minutes late departing.

Flight time: Three hours and 40 minutes.


Price: One-way Economy fares start from $240.

My seat: A tidy aisle seat just behind the wings so there was a bit of engine noise.

Fellow passengers: A mixture of Aussies and Kiwis. Mainly couples and a few young families.

How full: Only half occupied, with plenty of empty seats. If you wanted a poor man's First Class experience, you could claim an empty row.

Entertainment: One of the best LCD touch screens on a plane. Low reflection, clear, sharp, and bright, even with the sunshade up. Good range of movies and current TV shows, and plenty of options for the kids. I only had enough flight time to watch a movie and a few of Air New Zealand's past safety videos.

The service: Friendly and accommodating, however my neighbour and I were missing headsets. Even though I could see two flight attendants who were not busy standing up front, it took them a while to attend my "call attendant" light.

Food and drink: Breakfast of cereal and fruit or an omelette. Light meals are good for short flights.

The toilets: One up front and two at the tail. Clean and tidy. A half-full flight combined with the small meal meant there were no queues.

Luggage: One check-in bag, plenty of room overhead and under the seat.

The airport experience: Maroochydore Airport is a small domestic airport that had only recently added its only international flight: to and from Auckland. It is looking at expanding to accommodate larger planes. Staff handled the international flight efficiently and quickly, and it took less time to pass through customs and immigration than to collect my luggage.

Would I fly this again? Yes. The direct flight to Sunshine Coast saves an hour and 15 minute drive from Brisbane Airport.