737-300 leased from Air Nauru (Air Nauru livery)
Price: AUD701 (NZ$769) return
Flight time: 90 minutes, Norfolk Island to Auckland.
My seat: 5A
Fellow passengers: A mixture of Norfolk Islanders travelling to "Kiwi", holidaymakers and a large group who had attended a wedding. This mixture made for a happy, buzzy vibe on board as passengers swapped holiday stories.
How full: Approximately 75 per cent.
Entertainment: Read the inflight magazine Island Living, chat to fellow passengers or ask for a seat on the left of the aircraft to enjoy views of the North Island from Cape Reinga to the Manukau Harbour.
The service: The smiley Nauruan crew were friendly, helpful and polite at all times and did an excellent job of the safety briefing without the benefit of a video.
Food and drink: A choice of red or white wine, beer, water, soft drinks and tea or coffee. A snack pack of Mainland cheese and crackers and a chocolate muffin. A second round of cheese and crackers was cheerfully distributed.
The toilets: Blue-rinse variety and spotlessly clean.
Luggage: Standard 23kg checked and 7kg cabin luggage. Business class passengers are entitled to three checked bags of 23kg each and one 7kg piece of cabin luggage. These flights are just the thing for shopping trips to Kiwi or the Mainland (Australia) and additional baggage for either class can be purchased pre-flight or at check-in.
Airport experience: We checked in as soon as the counter opened and were told to return two hours later for immigration and security screening. From the airport it's only a short walk to Burnt Pine for coffee, lunch or last-minute shopping. We were able to keep our car and took a final trip to pretty Emily Bay for a swim and iced coffees. If you prefer to wait at the terminal, there is a cafe selling a selection of drinks, sandwiches, cakes, and a few souvenirs.
The bottom line: Sadly this was Norfolk Island Airlines' final flight between Norfolk Island and Auckland. There is speculation that another airline will take over the route and I hope this is true for this beautiful but under-rated destination where, to quote one of the residents, "Every day is Sunday." Norfolk Island Airlines continue to fly between Brisbane and Norfolk Island once a week.