David Haxton flies aboard Air Chathams going from Kāpiti to Auckland.

The plane:

A Saab 340.

Price: Various deals but my outward and return fare total was $342.72 including credit card fee and GST.

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Flight time: Timetable says 1hr 20mins but my flights were less. No delays. Smooth flights.

My seat: Single aisle. Ample leg and head room.

Fellow passengers: Wide range of ages.

How full: Packed outward and return.

Entertainment: Glossy, tourist-orientated magazine.

The service: Friendly and efficient stewardess.

Food and drink: Complimentary water, tea/coffee, a Tim Tam biscuit, and a mint lolly.

The toilets: There's one toilet located near the front of the cabin.

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Luggage: Passengers get a 23kg baggage allowance.

The airport experience: Easy check-in at Kāpiti Coast Airport terminal, which is bright, modern and chilled out. Good cafe. No stress. Simple check-in at busy Auckland Airport for the return journey, too.

The bottomline: A friendly, reliable and cost-effective service.