Shandelle Battersby flies aboard Air New Zealand’s NZ8039 from Auckland to Blenheim.

The plane:

A nifty Air Nelson Bombardier Q300, in fairly good nick.

Class: First.

Price: Return flights were about $600.


Flight time: It was supposed to take an hour and a half but it was a glorious day and we shaved 12 minutes off the flight time. Views of the Marlborough Sounds and the patchwork fields and vines of rural Blenheim were pretty as a picture from on high. There were a few bumps as we descended into the valley to land.

My seat: 6A. Downwind, unfortunately, from some of the worst BO I've ever had to endure.

Fellow passengers: I would guess mostly locals.

How full: Three-quarters. There are only 50 seats on these little planes, in lots of two.

Entertainment: A ratty Kia Ora magazine and some downloaded Pod Save America podcasts. Check out these regular instalments by two of President Obama's former speechwriters as they humorously dissect the goings-on in the current White House administration.

The service: One cabin crew member who was smiley and very nice.

Food and drink: A cuppa and a bikkie.

The toilets: One up front.

Luggage: The usual. The woman next to me had her large carry-on bag under her feet, which the cabin crew member didn't seem worried about.

The airport experience: Birds in the regional part of the terminal in Auckland. Pet hate!

Would I fly this again? Yes, always a pleasure, as long as that smelly guy isn't on board.