Mark Garrison flies from Singapore to Auckland with Air New Zealand.

The plane:

A Boeing Dreamliner 787-9.

Class: Economy.

The seat: Originally 62H which was changed to 41H prior to boarding without consulting me. This seat was changed mid-flight to 65D. The seat features a 9in HD touch screen, 78cm pitch, and a 12cm recline. The black and white interior of the aircraft is a bit drab.


Some softer colours would make the cabin more appealing.

Price: Just over $1100 for a one-way ticket from New Delhi. The first leg to Singapore was a Singapore Airlines flight. From Singapore to Auckland I flew with Air New Zealand. The ticket was purchased a week prior to departure so a surprisingly good price.

Entertainment: A pretty decent selection of films and TV although for some reason I wasn't particularly drawn to any of them. I ultimately decided to revert to a retro selection of Rocky Horror Picture Show, The Exorcist and Little Shop of Horrors.

Service: The cabin crew were very friendly, professional and attentive despite having to deal with some challenging customers and stressful situations during the flight. As the flight progressed and there was a lull between service the crew graciously allowed passengers to come to the rear galley if they required anything.

Food and drink: The mozzarella omelette for breakfast was fine but dinner was entirely forgettable. Chicken? Yeah, let's go with that. It was chicken. Drinks were offered a few times during the flight. For all you hear of how much effort airlines put into developing menus for their international flights, Economy Class meals, no matter the airline, are almost always disappointing. I guess I should just be happy that meals are still provided on long-haul.

How full? There were two empty seats in Economy, one of which was next to me, which proved to be a godsend as you will see.

Toilets: Clean throughout the flight, but my goodness they were busy. There was a constant line for the loo during the flight. At one point there was a line six deep. Maybe we need to all rehydrate just a little less?

Luggage: Up to 30kg free. Above 30kg incurs a charge of $60 per kilogram. Pack light folks.

Airport experience: You hear a lot about Changi Airport. Yes, the architecture is grand and it's sparklingly clean but Terminal 3 at the end of the day is still just that, an airport terminal. I would have been very bored if I had more than the 2 hours I had to make my connecting flight. I could have checked out the free movie theatre but I had already seen two movies on my first flight.

Fellow passengers: My row companion in my original seat was an interesting specimen. Appearances would suggest she hadn't washed in several days and appeared very dishevelled. She also smelled heavily of cigarette smoke. She enjoyed the use of my blanket without asking me and occasionally she would stare at me, which I found a bit discomfiting to say the least. I was pleased we had an empty seat between us. My humour abated when she removed her shoes and socks to reveal two feet full of black and apparently dead toenails. Later she was busted for smoking cigarettes in the loo. I was then moved to the only other free seat on the aircraft. Isn't flying fun?

Would I fly this again? Sure. Singapore is a major transfer airport to all of the places you need and want to go. The airlines that are presently flying to Singapore are Singapore Airlines and Air New Zealand so there isn't exactly oodles of choice. I can't blame Air New Zealand for the lightning strike the aircraft experienced on descent into Auckland. That was a first for me, and hopefully the last. Quite a few of the passengers were nervous fliers and this did nothing to alleviate their fears.