Thursday, March 1, 2012

New Zealand December 2011 - Air New Zealand 418 Economy Class (WLG-AKL)

***This post is part 14 of a full trip report. The index can be found here***  

At checkout, I was asked if we needed a taxi to the Wellington airport, to which I responded yes. When we got to the entrance though, I noticed it was actually a nice-looking hotel car that had pulled up. I thought for a second about asking if there was a price difference, but decided just to go with it. The driver was an older gentleman, quite chatty and very friendly. He took a longer route to the airport along the harbor, but we didn't really mind since it was a nice scenic drive, and we hadn't experienced much of Wellington at all. Seeing the beautiful waterfront really made me wish we had a few extra days to explore the city.

The taxi ride ended up being a pricey 56 NZD, but split among four people, it wasn't too bad. Check-in was very similar to the domestic terminal in Auckland, being that it was entirely self-service. Baggage tags were printed out at the kiosks and self-applied. You then carry your checked luggage over to the bag drop area and place them on the conveyor belt. Security was located at each individual gate (at least for domestic departures), and even then, it was a quick and painless two-minute affair. As always, no need to remove shoes or belts!

For a smaller airport, I was quite impressed with the passenger facilities. There were plenty of dining options as well as shopping opportunities before reaching the gate area. In addition, there were tons of tables and seats available, some with great views of the tarmac for plane spotting.

Air New Zealand 418
Boeing 737-300
Wellington (WLG) - Auckland (AKL)
Saturday December 31, 2011
Departure: 10:00 AM (scheduled) / 10:09 AM (actual)
Arrival: 11:00 AM (scheduled) / 11:10 AM (actual)
Duration: 1h 0m (scheduled) / 1h 1m (actual)
Seat: 17B (Economy) 

Our aircraft arrived on time and boarding started soon after. Unfortunately, unlike the brand new A320 we had for our AKL-ZQN leg, we were greeted with a rather drab-looking 737-300. The weather outside was still terrible (3rd day in a row), so the takeoff was a little bumpier than usual, but once we cleared the clouds, it was smooth sailing all the way to Auckland.

Service was impeccable as usual... I hadn't experienced anything less than that on any Air New Zealand flight thus far. Soon after takeoff, the flight attendants came around with snacks, with the choices being chocolate biscuits, barbecue chips, or black liquorice candy. Since there were four of us, we got to try some of each. Not bad for a one-hour gate-to-gate flight!

It felt like as soon as we hit our cruising altitude, we were already preparing for descent. Landing was uneventful despite the rain. After disembarking, I noticed a pretty sweet-looking Air New Zealand A320 with the All Blacks livery at one of the other gates... definitely one of coolest paint schemes I've seen yet. They should really consider adopting it as their permanent design!

Since the domestic and international terminals are quite far from each other, there is a transfer shuttle that drops off passengers between the two every 15 minutes. Though even with that frequency, our shuttle was completely packed to the brim, with still more people trying to squeeze in. After an uncomfortable couple of minutes jammed between luggage and strangers, we finally arrived at the international terminal.

No comments:

Post a Comment