Helen Van Berkel flies aboard NZ5832 from Auckland to Napier.

The plane:

An ATR72.

Airport Experience: Signs insisting the regional airlines were on the left confused me as to where I was supposed to check in. But once I worked it out (handy hint: not in the regional airlines area) the electronic self-check-in was quick and relatively easy. My ID was entirely unnecessary.

Seat: 8C. Aisle seat. Midway down the plane, directly under the wing and behind the propeller.


Price: One-way fares start from $53.

On time: Three planeloads of passengers were efficiently herded aboard their respective planes and although we had to wait for a passenger who endured the ignominy of being called by name, we were only five minutes late. We made up the time and arrived five minutes early.

Other passengers: Mostly Kiwi couples, duty-free bags suggesting a return from an international holiday. My seatmate was a young teenager who, worryingly, rested his elbows on his tray table, head in his hands and looked particularly pale during the bumpy approach into Napier.

Toilet: Tiny, no handtowels and smelled so bad that for the continued health of the next user, I sprayed the space generously with a "Fresh and Clean" air freshener I found while rifling through the little compartments in search of handtowels. You're welcome.

Onboard refreshments: Water (tepid), coffee or tea and a Cookie Time cookie.

Crew: One male, one female, neither of whom cracked a smile throughout the flight.

Would I fly again: Yes despite the safety videos making the airline look more fun than it is.