Scott Kara’s family holiday gets off to a false start aboard NZ296 to Apia.

The plane:

Boeing 777. The same Boeing 777 that dumped a full load of fuel, turned back to Auckland, and got its hydraulics fixed before setting off for Samoa again.

Class: Fenced in by two lovely, but large and lounging elderly men, in cattle class while the rest of the family were seated together and enjoying their movies.

Price: Guess it was value for money if you count the two take-offs and almost six hours of flying time. But finally landing in Apia was priceless.


On time: Are you kidding? The only thing that was on time was the fire engine meeting the plane on the runway back in Auckland.

Fellow passengers: Sighing, sulking and making the most of the free Air New Zealand lunch vouchers in the terminal.

How full? Jam-packed, both times, and I'm pretty sure no one chickened out after the false start.

Entertainment: It started with Captain America: Civil War but then working out whether the cool, calm and collected air crew were trying to hide something when explaining why we were dumping fuel and heading back to Auckland was far more interesting.

The service: Yes, they were cool, calm and collected. That's their job, right.

Food and drink: No time for food (or drink) first time round. But boy, second time round did I (we) need a drink. Bloody Mary please. Make that two.

The toilets: Yes the terminal toilets at Auckland Airport were very clean and tidy, thank you.

Would I fly this again: I don't fly for fun, I fly to get somewhere, and first time round we went nowhere. But fly me uninterrupted to Samoa any day.