Ruwani Perera witnesses disturbing acts of PDA aboard NZ8037 flying from Auckland to New Plymouth.
A Bombardier Dash 8 Q300.
Class: Egalitarian, we are all equal.
Price: Work was paying for me to go on a Flexi fare. But the cheapest seat-only deal is $56 one way.
Flight time: Initially bang on time at 11.10am, but once boarded we were on the tarmac for about 15 minutes waiting for one late passenger.
It took a bit of time as they had to unload their baggage from the hold. While delayed, engineers were called to look at something technical. There was no air-con and the cabin was hot and stuffy. We were then told the engineers had found a fault and were doing diagnostics. We had to disembark and return to the terminal. They organised a new plane for us, delaying us by over an hour, which threw out our day, but them's the breaks and at least we made it to our destination in one piece.
My seat: Window seat (great for flying over Mt Taranaki) and prime viewing for some explicit PDA (as explained below).
Fellow passengers: My cameraman was sitting next to me, and the late passenger who caused the delay earlier managed to make it aboard for the now-later flight. He was a surfer dude sitting across the aisle from us — thanks a bunch, pal. In front of us an amorous couple. I'm not sure if they were making up for lost time, but there was a tongue in an ear and some heavy petting was witnessed (it's a small space and their physical display was pretty much right in our face, it was hard to ignore!).
How full: Full, otherwise I would have tried to shift to be out of view of the frisky duo.
Entertainment: The lovebirds were entertainment some people pay top dollar for.
The service: Excellent Te Reo pronunciation by cabin crew. Thankfully no screens on this little plane, so didn't have to endure the new Air NZ safety video (I'm not a fan).
Food and drink: BYO water.
The toilet: No idea as I went at the terminal. Mercifully, the lovebirds didn't sneak in there midway through the flight.
Luggage: We had six pieces, camera equipment, plus my laptop and handbag as hand luggage. There's no travelling light in our job.
The airport experience: I have a new pastime — watching people queue up for boxes of Krispy Kreme donuts.
The bottom line: Had to wonder what would have happened had the late passenger turned up on time… would the flight crew have discovered the engineering fault?
Although it screwed up our timetable, safety first.