Donna McIntyre flies aboard Jetstar JQ353 from Auckland to Napier.

The plane:

Dash 8 Q300.

Class: We're all equal here.

Price: From $49 (one way, if you don't take check-in baggage).


My seat: At the front by the emergency exit. I was asked if I was able and willing to open the doors in the emergency. That meant watching the safety briefing carefully, and then hoping like hell I wouldn't have to leap into action. I did move to the seat opposite my allocated one once everyone was on board (with permission from the attendant).

On time: Leaving, yes, arriving yes, at 12.55pm. And to get to the airport I took the train from Downtown to Onehunga (Hop card $3.10) and then the Airporter bus ($1.80) to the airport. Total cost $4.90.

Fellow passengers: Mums, dads, kids, people without kids, mainly Kiwi by the looks of it.

How full: Almost.

Entertainment: A book. But not just any book, Witi Ihimaera's Rope of Man. Highly recommend it. Been meaning to read it for ages, and this was a chance, with no distractions from laptops, movie screens or cell phones.

Something to eat/drink? No, I didn't pre-book anything as it was just a short flight. I had brought along water to drink.

Toilets: One toilet at the front. Small but it's not like you spend a long time in there. A kid managed to lock themselves in but the attendant had a key to get the poor little thing out.

Luggage: Backpack and handbag to carry on but I checked in my normal in-flight bag as I knew it weighed more than 7kg as I packed enough for five days.


The airport experience: Easy check-in at kiosk and dropped off the suitcase to the friendly staff.

Would I fly this again: Yes, I would, especially at these affordable prices. One-way flights between Napier and Auckland start from $49. That leaves you with more money to spend on your holiday. And Jetstar flies Auckland to Napier four times daily (except on Saturday when there are three flights).