Flying from Christchurch to Auckland with Air New Zealand

Rosemarie North flies Christchurch to Auckland, with Air New Zealand.

The plane:

A320.

Class: Economy.

Price: $290 return for seat plus bag flexi time fare. I paid a bit extra because on one leg I was connecting from budget international airline Air Asia X and wanted some flexibility in case we were late. Actually, we made perfect time.

Flight time: Our flight time was 1hr 16m according to FlightAware, slightly ahead of schedule.

My seat: 15A, over the wing. It was one of those flights where you just know the pilots are loving the scenery. We had spectacular views of irrigated farmland in Canterbury, braided rivers, fresh snow on the Kaikoura ranges and the hazy curve of Farewell Spit. Passengers on the starboard side would have seen freshly dressed Mt Taranaki. Entranced, I shot dozens of photos and little clips. It felt like a special farewell as I’m heading back to my base in tropical Kuala Lumpur.

Fellow passengers: Two Kiwi women guessing the in-flight quiz and comparing nail colours.

How full: Looked full.

Entertainment: Some of the inflight quiz had the answers in Te Reo Maori, which was cool.

The service: Fast, efficient. On the way out, I thanked the crew for the beautiful trip.

Food and drink: Cookie Time biscuit or corn chips with tea, coffee or water.

The toilets: I didn’t need them, and regardless it would have been a pain to ask my two seat companions to let me out.

Luggage: Deposited, received, success. Although I was connecting to an international flight, I could not check my luggage through because I flew on two itineraries. This was no drama but meant I needed to collect my luggage from the domestic terminal in Auckland and brave strong winds to trundle it over to international.

The airport experience: Slight confusion at Christchurch airport as to whether domestic passengers needed to get their luggage scanned. Many of us queued a minute or two and then were told it wasn’t necessary. I was in plenty of time so there was no stress. I had time to browse the excellent souvenir shops and get ideas for Christmas presents — forewarned is forearmed. Then a meander along an airbridge with views of the Tekapo night sky labelled in English and Maori, to the retro soundtrack of Jean-Michel Jarre.

Passengers seated at the rear could use the steps and walk across the tarmac.

The bottomline: Stress-free.

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