Helen van Berkel flies with Thai Airways from Bangkok to Auckland.

The plane:

Boeing 777-300. I'd hoped to be on the new Dreamliner the airline had started flying into Auckland the day before this flight.

Class: Economy.


My seat: 69C. Almost at the back of the plane — and I had the row to myself. Winning.
Price: Sky Scanner reveals fares from about $940.

On time: Yes.

How full: About three-quarters.

Fellow passengers: A random mix of nationalities, ages and types. The young man in front of me seemed to be a first-time flier, putting the seats forward and back, asking me to fix his armrest when it refused to stay up and even reaching across to steal one of my (three) pillows. When he asked for help with his arrival card, I learned he was from Tanzania and a missionary.

Entertainment: A broad selection of TV shows — only two random episodes of Modern Family, rather than a whole series, sadly — and movies. Thankfully watching the pair in front of me was great fun.

Service: I watched my unsmiling host to see whether it was I who had offended her but the only person in the cabin who got a smile was a gentleman in a beanie. I understood why when he stood up, revealing a saffron robe.

Food and drink: "Chicken or fish" curry for dinner and an omelette for breakfast. Plenty of food but they were stingy on the wine.

Toilets: Spacious but with a wet floor when I visited. I noticed the missionary struggled to find the toilet, trying a number of doors — including a waist-height cupboard — before finding it tucked away in the tail.

Airport experience: I did my bit for New Zealand's biosecurity state of readiness, allowing a bag of food to be tied to my bag as I walked through Customs. Unfortunately, the dog didn't find it.

Leaving the airport: A near riot ensued as irate park-and-riders waited and waited and waited for their pickup — for an hour, I learned by eavesdropping. My driver laughed when I told her: the man had been gossiping with other drivers at domestic and hadn't heard the calls.

Would I fly it again? Yes.

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