Eli Orzessek flies aboard Air New Zealand flight NZ708 from Sydney to Auckland.

The plane:

A nice new Dreamliner 787-9.

Class: Economy.

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Price: Depends when you book.

Flight time: 2 hours 50 minutes. We left a little late and arrived at around 12.15am.

My seat: 36D, aisle seat in the middle row.

Fellow passengers: Seemed to be mostly New Zealanders returning home — the late flight's good for that.

How full: Completely full from what I could see.

Entertainment: I had a mild ethical dilemma. I really wanted to watch It, the scary clown movie, but there was a child sitting behind me on the diagonal who looked to be around 9. There was nothing else I really wanted to watch, so I started it up — it got pretty gory within five minutes, so I turned it off again. When I ascertained the child behind was fairly fixated on her own screen, I started it up again.

The service: Very good — I'm always pleased when they give me the full can of Coke, rather than a paltry glass.

Toilets: About as clean as an airline toilet can be, halfway through a flight.

Food and drink: Chicken or the beef as usual. I went for the roast chicken thigh, as I'd already had "the beef" at the airport in the form of a McDonald's cheeseburger combo. As a result, I wasn't that hungry so just ate the veges and the caramel slice.

Luggage: 23kg checked, 7kg in the cabin. I was worried my checked bag would go over, as I'd bought a massively heavy comic anthology, but it was all good.

The airport experience: There was drama going down at the Air New Zealand counter involving what I assume was a missing staff member. Overheard the guy at bag drop saying something about going down to the carpark and smashing all his windows if he didn't turn up in 15 minutes.

It was nice to not have to fill out a departures card — Sydney Airport has done away with them since my last visit.

The bottom line: Quick and painless.

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