Chris Schulz flies Air New Zealand NZ123 from Auckland to Melbourne.

The plane:

A Boeing 777-300. We were travelling to Melbourne for three sunny nights - and my 7-year-old son's first overseas trip. He loved everything about the Auckland Airport experience - and even asked if we could go through border security again. He'll soon get sick of that.

Class: We were in Economy, but scored seats with slightly more legroom near the back of the plane.


Price: They cost around $350 for each of us, but were booked just two weeks before the trip. So I'm not mad at that.

Flight time: There was a delay of around 20 minutes caused by an electrical fault, and the paperwork involved after it was fixed. They kept us fully informed, but we did land slightly later than the 3-hour and 55-minute flight time.

My seat: We were in 55J and 55H right down the back, seats that came with 2cm of extra legroom. It doesn't sound like much but it's crucial when you're 6ft 4in (1.93m). My son didn't mind - he had unrestricted TV time.

Fellow passengers: Our neighbour slept for most of the flight, and only woke once to ask for a pen to fill out an arrival card.

How full: Absolutely chocka. Everyone was heading to Melbourne for the weekend and the start of the Rugby League World Cup, it would seem.

Entertainment: I started watching Al Gore's An Inconvenient Sequel, but quickly decided that it was inappropriate viewing for a gas-guzzling plane trip. Instead, I spent time testing Air NZ's new inflight Wi-Fi service after being randomly chosen at check-in to trial it. It was a little tricky to get it going, but it was fun Facebooking family members who were surprised to hear from someone they thought was out of contact. It was fine for messenger and email, but it's not yet good enough for streaming Netflix or YouTube. Still, it was fun helping Air NZ get their inflight Wi-Fi off the ground.

The service: No complaints at all. Air NZ is always my favourite airline to fly with, and I've never been given a reason to decide otherwise.

Food and drink: We were served a pretty light breakfast of muesli with milk, fruit, a raisin roll and juice. My son didn't need the juice. He was already hyped about the plane trip.


The toilets: Because we were at the back of the plane, there were no queues for us and the loos were always clean. Plus, my son got a behind-the-scenes tour from the hosts.

Very accommodating.

Luggage: We travelled light, with just one checked bag and one carry-on bag each.

Clearly, we were the only ones. The overhead luggage compartments were heaving with small suitcases.

The airport experience: Overall, nine out of 10. The coffee from Shaky Isles was good, and the only downside was struggling to find a decent smoothie for my son. Otherwise, it was a near-perfect start to his travelling career.

The bottomline: Taking children overseas isn't everyone's cup of tea. But I'd happily do it again. And if the inflight Wi-Fi could get up to speed and offer Netflix streaming, that would be a hell of a bonus.