Api Talemaitoga flies from Auckland to Christchurch — again — on Air New Zealand's flight NZ531.

The Plane:

Airbus A320 — the workhorse of the Air New Zealand Domestic and Pacific fleet. This is my usual weekly commute for my Monday-to-Wednesday job in the Garden City.

My seat: 3D.


Price: $69 — Seat-only fare purchased ages ago during an Air NZ 24-hour sale.

On time: Boarding started 9.35am. Doors closed 9.56am. Taxiing started 10.01am. This was the second day of interruptions at Auckland Airport because of the leaking aviation fuel pipeline near Marsden Point.

How full: Packed, as usual.

Fellow passengers: Usual mix of people travelling for work, and tourists. You can always spot the returning residents from overseas holidays by their easy tan and bulging duty-free shopping bags.

Entertainment: Just the safety video with Katie Holmes and Cuba Gooding Jr and the NZ trivia quiz.

Service: The usual relaxed, friendly and chatty crew that you expect from the national carrier. Great interaction with passengers.

Food and Drink: Coffee, water or tea with biscuits or corn chips. The woman across the aisle asked for sweeteners (two!) rather than sugar – really! Really? Is there a point to going sugar-free?

Toilets: Clean as. But I don't usually have the need to use the loo on this 1hr 20m direct flight.


Airport Experience: The Koru Lounge at the Auckland domestic terminal was tidy and the usual breakfast offerings in plentiful supply. I had two flat whites from the lounge barista, which were nice.

Would I fly again? I have to — every Monday morning! It's been part of my routine for the past five years.