Helen Van Berkel flies with Air New Zealand from Auckland to Queenstown./strong>

The plane: An A320D.

Class: Economy.

My seat: 7C. An aisle seat next to an empty seat.

Price: This trip cost $528 return.

On time: Five minutes for refuelling, we were told. Then: Just 10 more minutes, we were told, because the tanker had run out of fuel and had to go and get some more. We were about half an hour late.

How full: About seven-eighths.

Fellow passengers: Mostly businessman types with carefully trimmed hair and Queenstown matron types with matching lipstick and nail polish.

Entertainment: I'd brought my book.
Service: The staff were very good with bringing water and cookies or a muffin as we waited on the tarmac. We were told several times not to fasten our seatbelts while the refuelling was going on — maybe so we could get up and run quickly if we blew up. And there was an irony on landing and turning on my phone to find an Air New Zealand text warning of the flight delay.

Food and drink: The aforementioned cookie or muffin and a corn chips option, plus coffee and tea.

Toilets: Equipped with the usual.

Airport experience: I was up at 4.30am to catch my 6am flight. Luckily Air New Zealand staff were a little more on to it as I struggled to affix my luggage label and work out what the deal was in security.

Leaving the airport: Like just about every place in New Zealand, Queenstown airport is sadly lacking in signs. GPS now directs drivers "left" and "right" rather than the unhelpful "east" and "west" it used to send us on. But I explored every carpark and car rental yard as I followed the instructions to take the next left.

Would I fly it again? Yes.