Winston Aldworth flies NZ746 from Auckland to Rarotonga.

The plane:

An A320, but with the souped-up cabin fittings you get on some international services — namely, your very own screen for watching movies.

Class: My family were all flying on those Works tickets. It's an awful name for a class of airline travel — it sounds like it should come with a side order of fries.


Price: $323 one way.

Seat: 18C, with my fiancee and our two kids in the three seats on the other side of the aisle.

On time: Quick to board and quick into the air, we touched down at Avarua 15 minutes early.

How full? This was a light run, with maybe a third of the 179 seats empty, including — happily — 18B.

Fellow passengers: It was shoulder season in Raro and with the school term underway in New Zealand, there were fewer travelling families than usual.

Food and drink: I nailed a reasonably good chicken sausage with baked beans and scrambled egg. The other option for Works tickets was a cereal which, according to my fiancee, was very good. "Interesting textures," she offered. "High quality, I'd say."

After that, I idly wondered about whether it'd be a good look to have an alcoholic drink on a flight that departs before 9am and lands around the time of elevensies. I demurred, opting for a cup of lemon tea, but the three lads seated behind my kids had no such dilemma. They made a decent dent on the alcohol inventory, so much so they had a lighthearted standoff about getting one more round of drinks in just before the descent began. It was well handled by the staff.

Service: I mentioned to one of the crew, Anna, that my kids were disappointed to be flying away from home on Halloween as they were missing trick-or-treat opportunities. She swiftly arranged for the kids to pay a spooky visit to the staff at the rear of the cabin, from which they emerged with a fair haul of chocolates and sweets. "I knew we'd get a few kids who were upset to miss out today," said Anna. "So I stocked up." Gold.


Minds were further blown when the kids got to hand out the lollies at the end of the flight.

Entertainment: The movie selection on Air New Zealand's inflight-entertainment system is generally a bit light on decent new releases. I pondered for a while whether to watch My Year With Helen, or Wonder Woman. In the end I went with the movie about Helen Clark: Wonder Woman.

Airport experience: Few airports can match Rarotonga in the plane-to-poolside test.