A Travellerspoint blog

New Zealand

Home sweet home

In Sydney, I had a 1h05 connecting time. With my 15 minute delay arriving, Qantas had rebooked me on a flight leaving 1h35 later than the original which meant waiting around for over an hour, which was pretty painless. Unfortunately I no longer had access to the Amex lounge here due to the raising of their entry criteria.

Waiting outside, I could hear announcements calling for straggling passengers for my original flight to Auckland [Auckland-travel-guide-1139106]. I could have made it but I guess the airline didn’t want to risk having that flight run late.

The continuing flight to Auckland was quick. It was good to have a spare seat next to me (as on the previous sector) but it was a non-recline exit row (which meant it was spacious). Again, the Kiwi crew on Qantas weren’t the happiest bunch (except for a trainee and her trainer).

Landing in Auckland, we touched down at an angle on one wheel. It was pretty hair-raising and I wasn’t the only one that noticed. Disembarking, I said loudly to the captain standing outside the cockpit door “Awesome landing, thanks!”. The conditions outside were calm with no white-caps in the sea and I had seen from my window earlier that the windsock was pointing in the direction of the runway.

It was a good time to arrive in Auckland as the airport was not busy. Traffic home was OK but any later, it would have been tortuous. Home sweet home after another great trip.

Posted by alexchan 17:00 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

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View 2017 Good Friday Crucifixion in the Philippines on alexchan's travel map.

The highlight of this trip is to see the crucifixions near Manila on Good Friday. While this had always been an idea, I decided to make it happen when Air New Zealand announced flights to Manila. Eventually, the proposed service quietly disappeared into the ether. But I decided to continue with the idea when Qantas had a sale to Hong Kong (their Manila flights weren’t cheap as there wasn’t much competition and the days didn’t work out).

My departure was 0835 from Auckland [Auckland-travel-guide-1139106] to Sydney. I got to the airport about 2h beforehand. The online check-in queue was non-existent and I was through airside in no time. The good luck with queues here and there meant that I had a little too much waiting time.

I had been assigned a window seat during online check-in and was unable to change it for free. But at the airport I managed to change it to an aisle seat in row 14 which was an exit row. Despite being the 2nd exit row on the 737, it was non-recline. I can’t work that out as it wouldn’t recline and obstruct access to any exit. Quite the opposite, Air New Zealand can allow recline on the first exit row and the row before it, on some aircraft as long as it isn’t the window seat.

Anyway, there was lots of legroom and it was comfy enough with the pillow which I had asked for. The hot meal was nice enough and there was an option for a fruit platter. This is my third experience with Qantas’ New Zealand based crew. Unfortunately I have to conclude that they’re not a jolly bunch in their interactions with their customers; they’re not the most pleasant but at times you get a hint of defensiveness and aggression in their response to customers.

The transfer time in Sydney of 1h10 was very achievable with no queues at security; no boarding pass check was required to go through from arrival to departure unlike in some countries. I got to my gate at the expected boarding time but it didn’t commence till a little later. There was only a pre-boarding announcement and it led into full boarding without further announcements for boarding by zone.

I had been assigned a window seat in the second to last row of the plane. There appeared to be a few spare seats around; the only ones left on the plane. Unfortunately, there had been a little reshuffle and I did have someone next to me. I couldn’t shift anywhere that would make an improvement :-(

Having downloaded bank statements etc to work on the flight, I was disappointed. The situation was not conducive and I didn’t do shred of work. I did watch a few documentaries from their wide selection of very good entertainment programmes.

I was very impressed with Qantas catering on the flight:

1. Upon take-off we were offered a bottle of water each which they crew would happily refill.
2. The main meal delivery and collecting in was slow. They were kind enough to give me a second meal of Thai beef salad (not spicy enough for me).
3. A few of hours later, they came round with fresh apples.
4. Another hour later, it was an ice cream bar.
5. And about 1h20 before landing, it was a box of fried noodle served barely warm.

The accommodation was good too:

1. The seat was comfy with lots of recline but the downside was that it was very cramped when the person in front takes advantage of that feature.
2. There is also a basket-style footrest.

Posted by alexchan 17:00 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

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