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NZ route oddities & One World turns by night (redeye special)

NZ route oddities & One World turns by night (redeye special)

Old Dec 1, 09, 10:25 am
  #1  
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NZ route oddities & One World turns by night (redeye special)

Index to my trip reports

If you like this report, you may be interested in some of my other trip reports.
  1. AKL-YYZ with NZ/AC in F & C - my first trip report
  2. Europe to Iceland & return on Icelandair (FI) - somewhere different
  3. Some FTers DO the Inaugural Worlds Longest Flight SIN-EWR vv 28 June 2004 - 2 long flights back to back
  4. 7 Crazy Days - includes an almost inaugural flight
  5. Champagne and figure eights on ice - Antarctica flightseeing
  6. a Lit.tle sPRinG.Ly JoUrney (BUDding KiwiS Can zig-ZAG around Europe) - mostly central and eastern Europe
  7. Big DO DOs - or a Kiwi Flyer's Month of Madness - lots of flights
  8. Another Manic Month for Kiwi - again lots of flights
  9. Mini Tour of NZ - over 100 domestic flights in New Zealand covering all domestic routes (ongoing)
  10. Across the Globe in 5 Continents - criss-crossing the globe
  11. Auckland to National Park by Train - train in New Zealand's North Island
  12. Across the Globe in 5 Continents Again - criss-crossing the globe, but this time mainly on One World
  13. A Warm Embrace of the Tropics - short trips to the tropical South Pacific
  14. Singapore (SQ) new first and business class, plus a medley of 12 F & C SQ flights - name says it all really
  15. Across the Globe in 4 Continents - around the world on star alliance, including some unusual flights
  16. Queensland And Northern Territory Aerial Sampler - a sampling of Qantas flights, domestic and international, in economy and business (ongoing)
  17. Around the World in Under 60 Hours - around the world in a weekend
  18. The Heat is On - another longhaul economy trip in under 60 hours - what a contrast, Asia and Qantas' new first class lounges
  19. Fast on the ground and in the air - it must be Shanghai – a flying visit to Shanghai + Maglev
  20. It's a Fine Line Between Pleasure & Pain: 4 wacky weeks 2 RTW C, inaugural longhaul Y – mostly One World
  21. Back and forth across the Pacific on a variety of airlines in a selection of classes - 16 crossings of the Pacific plus some other related flights
  22. It isn't every day that you witness a hijacking attempt + NZ's forgotten 4th island - a visit to Chatham Islands coincides with New Zealand's first hijacking attempt
  23. There and back - first day Air NZ flies to Coolangatta (Gold Coast)
  24. A Run Around (part of) The Axis of Evil: A Perfect *A RTW in C? - Axis of Evil 0 US Immigration 1
  25. Wellington to Auckland by train - self-explanatory title
  26. A mad couple of days flying, including domestic international flights - a double longhaul inaugural, domestic international shuttle and domestic leg of an international flight
  27. Regional C *A RTW & (hopefully) finishing flying every route (100+) for an airline - featuring new QF First on A380 special flight, "you have to get off now", and 105th different current route with NZ
  28. One World Revolutions - Around Mostly the Southern Hemisphere - mostly Southern Hemisphere and mostly on One World on a mix of products
  29. Cris-cros the Med & the Globe on Emirates, Qantas & Star Alliance in mix of F/C/Y+/Y – starting with EK First on A380 and ending with Qantas economy, with a lot of travel mostly on *A in between
  30. An FTer flies to a Do (or Why take the nonstop when you can fly 10 flights instead?) - combining an FT Do with an aerial tour of northern Queensland
  31. The Ultimate Qantas Flight - short report on the ultimate flight
  32. Premium Flying Across the Ditch (Between New Zealand and Australia) - experiencing the forward cabins on Trans-Tasman flights (ongoing)
  33. 5 Boeings Straight to the Airbus Do - FTer feasts in first, business & economy - my journey to & from the *A / Airbus Mega Do
  34. NZ route oddities & One World turns by night (redeye special) - an odd collection of flight routes & schedules around the world
  35. From my first low cost redeye to a first class trifecta - an insane fortnight - some firsts of all types
  36. G'day, kia orana - it's another inaugural flight in Air New Zealand business class - a day & night tripping around the South Pacific on Air NZ
  37. A Feast of First Class Flying on British Airways, Qantas and Emirates - long distance in style
  38. A Weekend of Old and New - Lufthansa first & business, Air New Zealand business - a quick longhaul trip featuring some old and new products
  39. Star Alliance tres primo, and tres biz - a trio of first and business on Star Alliance
  40. A few flights to end 2011 - a quick trip around the world + more
  41. Five Continents in 3 Days and Some Other Mad Trips in 2012 - a selection of my 2012 travels
  42. Sky Team madness - 14 weeks, 200k miles, 5 continents, CI brand new business – mostly Sky Team
  43. Off to Star megado on Oneworld - mostly business incl brand new AA 787
  44. A Glutton for Punishment: red eye, new world's longest flight & more, in comfort?

Last edited by Kiwi Flyer; Apr 1, 16 at 3:45 pm
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Old Dec 1, 09, 10:44 pm
  #2  
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Index to this trip report
  1. Intro
  2. Auckland to Rotorua on Air New Zealand in economy class
  3. Rotorua, and the odd route choice
  4. Rotorua to Sydney on Air New Zealand in economy class - never a dull moment
  5. Transit in Sydney
  6. Sydney to Auckland on Air New Zealand in economy class
  7. Another route oddity
  8. Auckland to Wellington on Air New Zealand in economy class
  9. Wellington to Whanganui on Air New Zealand in economy class
  10. Whanganui to Taupo on Air New Zealand in economy class - odd route
  11. Hilton Taupo - newly opened
  12. Taupo to Auckland on Air New Zealand in economy class
  13. Auckland to Sydney on LAN in business class
  14. Auckland to Sydney business class menu
  15. Sydney to Auckland on LAN in business class
  16. Sydney to Auckland business class menu
  17. Auckland to Santiago on LAN in business class
  18. Auckland to Santiago business class menu
  19. Santiago to Asuncion on TAM in economy class
  20. Asuncion to Buenos Aires on TAM in economy class
  21. Buenos Aires to Santiago on LAN in economy class
  22. Santiago to Bogota on LAN in business class
  23. Santiago to Bogota business class menu
  24. Bogota to Lima on LAN in premium economy class
  25. Bogota to Lima premium economy class menu
  26. Lima to Santiago on LAN in business class
  27. Lima to Santiago business class menu
  28. Santiago to Caracas on LAN in business class
  29. Santiago to Caracas business class menu
  30. Caracas transit
  31. Caracas to Madrid on Iberia in business class
  32. Caracas to Madrid business class menu
  33. Madrid transit
  34. Madrid to London on British Airways in business class
  35. London to Larnaca on British Airways in business class
  36. London to Larnaca business class menu
  37. Cyprus
  38. Larnaca to London on British Airways in business class
  39. Larnaca to London business class menu
  40. London to Singapore on Qantas in first class
  41. London to Singapore first class menu
  42. Singapore to Yangon on Silk Air in business class
  43. Yangon to Singapore on Silk Air in business class
  44. Singapore to Kuala Lumpur on Silk Air in business class
  45. Kuala Lumpur to Singapore on Singapore Airlines in business class
  46. Singapore to Tokyo on Japan Airlines in business class
  47. Singapore to Tokyo business class menu
  48. Tokyo transit
  49. Tokyo to Guam on Japan Airlines in business class
  50. Tokyo to Guam business class menu
  51. Guam transit chaos
  52. Guam to Tokyo on Japan Airlines in business class
  53. Guam to Tokyo business class menu
  54. Tokyo to Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific in business class
  55. Tokyo to Hong Kong business class menu
  56. Hong Kong to Auckland on Cathay Pacific in business class
  57. Hong Kong to Auckland business class menu


Latest summary

As at post #124
  • map
  • 55,634 flown miles
  • 31 flights
    of which
    • F 1 flight 6,765 flown miles
    • C 19 flights 41,831 flown miles
    • Y+ 1 flight 1,167 flown miles
    • Y 10 flights 5,871 flown miles
  • 11 a/c types
    • 737-300
    • 747-400
    • 767
    • 767-300
    • 767-300ER
    • 777-200
    • A319
    • A320
    • A330-300
    • A340-300
    • Beech 1900D
  • 10 airlines
    • Air New Zealand
    • British Airways
    • Cathay Pacific
    • Iberia
    • Japan Airlines
    • LAN
    • Qantas
    • Silk Air
    • Singapore Airlines
    • TAM
  • 16 countries, 1 territory & 1 disputed region
    • Argentina
    • Australia
    • Burma / Myanmar
    • Chile
    • China (Hong Kong SAR)
    • Colombia
    • Cyprus
    • Guam (US territory)
    • Japan
    • Malaysia
    • New Zealand
    • Paraguay
    • Peru
    • Singapore
    • Spain
    • Turkish-controlled Northern Cyprus
    • UK
    • Venezuela
  • 21 airports
    • AKL Auckland
    • ASU Asuncion
    • BOG Bogota
    • CCS Caracas
    • EZE Buenos Aires Ezeiza
    • GUM Guam
    • HKG Hong Kong
    • KUL Kuala Lumpur
    • LCA Larnaca
    • LHR London Heathrow
    • LIM Lima
    • MAD Madrid
    • NRT Tokyo Narita
    • RGN Yangon
    • ROT Rotorua
    • SCL Santiago
    • SIN Singapore
    • SYD Sydney
    • TUO Taupo
    • WAG Whanganui / Wanganui
    • WLG Wellington
  • personal firsts and other trivia
    • 13th inaugural flight (6th on Air New Zealand)
    • middle seat
    • flown all flights (100+) on major airline network (again)
    • flown equivalent distance of 10 times to the moon
    • visited 18th(!) different lounge at London Heathrow

========================
INTRO

To end the travel year I have a jumble of trips. Hopefully there is something of interest for all.

There are flights in a range of cabins, airlines, aircraft types and configurations. My trademark connections in wierd places - and yes some of these will be in the middle of the night again to add to the potential for a major headache. Add in some full flights (including one which has intriguingly switched to a 3-class aircraft but still sold as 2-class), my tight itinerary with limited options to change, the usual airline schedule change issues that comes with making bookings a long way in advance, and some potential strikes along the way.

If it all works as planned I'll be stunned. At the very least there will be some unusual flights not previously included in a FT trip report.

Last edited by Kiwi Flyer; Apr 1, 16 at 3:45 pm
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Old Dec 3, 09, 1:53 pm
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Hooray, another KF report! (Having re-read all your existing output recently, it couldn't be better timed...)
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Old Dec 7, 09, 4:49 am
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+1 Yippy!! Look forward to reading more
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Old Dec 7, 09, 11:00 am
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A week on the ground seems ages, so a few weeks feels like eternity. I feel the skies calling me and so it is nearly time to move onward. What better way to get back in the air than to celebrate an inaugural flight?

I like inaugurals. You never know quite what to expect. This will be my 13th inaugural flight (across 3 different airlines) and my 6th with this airline. Some make a big deal with festivities before departure and onboard, others are more low key. Some I've celebrated with other FTers while others I've flown alone.

A few months ago this new route was announced with an initial schedule over the summer. Personally I think the route was launched for tactical reasons and will not last, so I was in 2 minds whether or not to book the inaugural. When I saw how quickly space was disappearing on the inaugural flight within hours of the announcement I made a decision to book now before I miss out.

Due to a website glitch I was unable to complete the booking online. The first agent I spoke with was very unhelpful (told me I was imagining the glitch and to just keep trying) but when I tried again the second one was a gem, sorted me out and also saw for herself the glitch is real. She got my hopes up briefly when she said she had to check the guest list to make sure I wasn't already invited along on the inaugural flight, but of course I was not. So about 5 hours after the route was announced I had a ticket for the first flight.

Or rather, the second flight. For this route is a rarity. Due to aircraft scheduling requirements the first flight is towards the airline's home country, not the usual away direction (this isn't the only reason the route is odd - more on this later). I looked into both options and due to my need for same day connecting flights in both directions and an important meeting next day I opted for the "safer" routing. Neither option is particularly good, but in one direction with 1 hour transit I feel the risk is lower than the other direction despite the longer transit time, once I factor in the chances of the onward flight being held for a while if required. I also noticed one other advantage from the schedules - there is a 50% chance the onward flight will be the same aircraft in the direction I have booked, 0% chance in the other direction.

Of course I immediately selected a good seat.
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Old Dec 7, 09, 12:46 pm
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^love the Kiwi reports!
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Old Dec 8, 09, 2:52 am
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What a tease!
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Old Dec 8, 09, 11:13 pm
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Yes we're looking forward to this - Maybe we can guess where you are going?
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Old Dec 9, 09, 12:48 am
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I suspect a town that is known for its not so sweet odour has some part to play in this report.
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Old Dec 9, 09, 1:38 am
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Originally Posted by Moomba View Post
I suspect a town that is known for its not so sweet odour has some part to play in this report.
I suspected this might be the case also
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Old Dec 11, 09, 12:03 am
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I'd guess Rotorua, in that case. But I'm sure sure how to spell it
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Old Dec 11, 09, 1:04 am
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I'd say ROT-SYD, if the connection is likely to be on the same aircraft then you would be say going ROT-SYD-WLG?
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Old Dec 11, 09, 12:49 pm
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Weather today is not good. Fingers crossed.
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Old Dec 12, 09, 7:01 pm
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AUCKLAND to ROTORUA (AKL-ROT) on Air New Zealand Beech 1900D in economy class

I arrived at the lounge early enough to check some messages and keep an eye out for weather issues in case I needed to rearrange my travel. A front was moving across the island with high humidity, claggy low cloud and rain. I'd deliberately booked the earlier of 2 flights as a precaution in case of weather issues, but of course I hoped it would be unneccessary to make changes.

Leading up to our boarding time I noticed the departure screen was showing no gate for the flight. From past experience, this is not a good sign. Our boarding call was not made at the usual time. Another bad sign. I noticed a flight that had just landed at Rotorua had spent 20 minutes circling before landing. Good that it landed, but an indication the weather in Rotorua was marginal for the airport.

I pondered what other possibilities there were - later flight, fly to Taupo and drive (nope - no suitable flight), fly to Whakatane and drive (nope - flight is just boarding so no time to switch), fly to Tauranga and drive. As I did so the flight was announced for boarding, followed by a final call a minute later (while I was still making my way to the gate at the far end of the terminal) and a "other passengers are waiting for you" call before I got there. I think I've mentioned this before - the calls in the Auckland lounge for regional flights come far too late.

Anyway I reached the gate and noted I wasn't the only passenger still to board. A short walk in the sapping humidity to our aircraft. The flight was fairly full so I opted to try the bag drop which Air NZ has recently introduced for elite passengers on regional flights (provided no onward connection). It works the same as bag drop elsewhere, put the bag on trolley at the aircraft and pick it up at the aircraft at the destination - which means you get your bag earlier than other passengers (not that luggage takes long when arriving at a regional airport). There are downsides - in Auckland and Christchurch the koru club is behind security which means carry on size restrictions apply if you want to visit the lounge and also do a bag drop.

We taxiied out just a few minutes late and took a shortcut to jump ahead of a taxiing 737. We took off to the north and turned southeast. In between scuds of cloud that almost touched the ground we had brief views of the city, Hauraki gulf & islands, the bush clad Coromandel ranges, rolling hills and farmlands of northern Waikato and a glimpse of western Bay of Plenty in the distance before being swallowed up by the cloud deck.

Then no view, but also not much turbulence. Our flight time was short at 20 minutes and we were soon descending from the cloud into the caldera. The weather was similar to Auckland - very humid but not yet raining, dark skies mirrored in the lakes. The very land appearing lush and mystical with patches of ground hugging, white cloud and steam. We tracked across the northern edge of Lake Rotorua, turned by the channel connecting lakes Rotorua and Rotoiti and landed to the south.

I picked up my bag at the aircraft with no wait (ground staffer got the 2 bag dropped bags while the pilot opened the cabin door) and walked into the terminal.
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Old Dec 12, 09, 7:25 pm
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Rotorua, and the odd route choice

I had quite a bit of time to fill. If the weather had been nicer I'd have walked into town but instead I decided to enjoy the luxury of sitting back, reading and watching the world go by. Or rather, since this is a small airport in the middle of nowhere, watching preparations for the activities welcoming the first flight from Sydney followed by activities for the first departure to Sydney.

While there is a brief pause in my flying, I'll take a moment to explain why the route Rotorua to Sydney is odd.

Rotorua is not a big town. Bigger places in NZ such as Hamilton and Palmerston North have lost their Air NZ trans-tasman flights, while Dunedin which is also bigger than Rotorua has had a significant cut-back in Air NZ trans-tasman flights. Over the past few years, the tasman schedule has been shaken up to the point the current one doesn't resemble that from several years ago.

Air NZ subsidiary Freedom Air was brought back into mainline. Subsequently a number of their routes (all the Hamilton & Palmerston North ones plus some others) have been dropped.

Wellington has had a big reduction in trans-tasman flights.

Even Auckland hasn't been immune with the old FT favourites of short 747 legs long gone, and some routes have had large reductions in frequency and capacity.

At the same time, Jetstar has been growing from Christchurch base and in the past year has taken over a number of Qantas flights out of Auckland as well. Pacific Blue has this year opened regional flights from Hamilton, Queenstown and Dunedin. Emirates has continued their slow increase in capacity with the Sydney flight switching to A380.

I'm rambling, so back to my points. Rotorua is not a big market. Heck even domestic flights have been reduced (Jetstar did not pick up the Qantas flights into Rotorua when they took over flying within NZ). Rotorua is close enough to Auckland that most leisure visitors spending more than a couple of days within NZ can easily visit it. Australian tourists tend to have short stays in NZ so there probably aren't too many currently visiting Rotorua.

Personally I think there is a reason why Air NZ has launched this route. One is to hamper Pacific Blue's Hamilton route. The catchment area for Hamilton includes Tauranga, Rotorua and the Bay of Plenty, southern Waikato, Taupo. Rotorua is less convenient for Hamilton & Tauranga but more conveniently reached for the rest of the catchment. North of Hamilton has easy access to Auckland. If Hamilton is marginal in terms of demand for direct service anyway (Air NZ claims Waikato customers were very price sensitive and so generally went for the cheaper Auckland flights) then the competition could kill the Pacific Blue route before it has a chance to get established, or at least make it much harder work for Pacific Blue.
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