Louise Taylor flies aboard Air New Zealand's flight NZ45 from Rarotonga to Auckland.

The plane

: B777-200. This one was 11 years old and in nice shape.

Class: Economy.


Price: One-way seat fares from $313.

Flight time: 4hr 9m. Departure was delayed by 53 minutes due to weather delays holding up the inbound flight. This resulted in a tight turn around. This route offers a taste of time travelling: Flying home, we left at 2pm on a Saturday and arrived four hours later on a Sunday. Flying up, we had two Halloweens — the kids were stoked, twice the lollies.

My seat: 50A — a window seat.

Fellow passengers: Holidaymakers returning home with mixed feeling of sadness that the holiday has come to an end and looking forward to familiar things and seeing the dog again.

How full: Completely chocka in Economy.

Entertainment: Kids plugged themselves in for the full four-hour binge-watching session of children's programmes. Not a peep from them except to ask for more apple juice. Their idea of heaven. It left me free to watch in a binge-like fashion Big Little Lies. I ambitiously tried to cram the whole seven-episode series into the flight and made it through 4 episodes before I had to give up and be left hanging. Not a peep from me except to ask for more merlot.

The service: Very accommodating. When Child #1 was busting to use the toilet halfway through the meal service, staff managed to get him out in time when he was trapped like a rat between trolleys. Child #2 got lost coming back from the toilet and was guided back by the helpful flight attendant who looked up her name and seat number and pointed her in the right direction. Made for a great tale of adventure upon her return

Toilets: Scrubbed up nicely. They have the bookshelf decal which makes you linger longer than you would intend in a spatially challenged toilet in the sky.

Food and drink: The chicken or the beef. Tandoori chicken with rice and spinach. Tasty and well cooked. Beef casserole with mashed potatoes, carrot and peas. Turned down by the kids — I just went in for a taste but was so delicious I scoffed the lot.

Luggage: A bag each which gave plentiful space for a family of four to pack some togs and a hat for the beach. Bringing back a wooden paddle caused delays going through customs but well worth it for the souvenir. The kids have since been pretending to use it as a pizza paddle to make pizzas for the dog or as a rock guitar.

The airport experience: Rarotonga Airport holds few mysteries. It's essentially a glorified bus stop — and I love it. You can watch the aircraft land and park out the front of the gate, and you can eyeball the pilots as the passengers disembark ready for you to hop on. When my daughter Zoe asked which of the two gates we would be boarding through I felt confident that it would be Gate 1 — it was the shortest walk from the terminal to the plane. Island time.

The bottomline: A nice finish to a fabulous family holiday in Rarotonga.

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