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G'day, kia orana - it's another inaugural flight in Air New Zealand business class

G'day, kia orana - it's another inaugural flight in Air New Zealand business class

Old Jul 7, 10, 12:30 am
  #1  
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G'day, kia orana - it's another inaugural flight in Air New Zealand business class

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 3:43 pm
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Old Jul 7, 10, 1:39 pm
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Index to this trip report
  1. Intro
  2. Auckland to Sydney on Air NZ in economy space+ seats
  3. Auckland to Sydney economy menu
  4. Sydney transit
  5. Sydney to Rarotonga on Air NZ in business class, inaugural flight
  6. Rarotonga transit
  7. Rarotonga to Auckland on Air NZ in business class


Latest summary

As at post #21
  • map
  • 6,320 flown miles
  • 3 flights
  • 15th inaugural flight

==============
Intro

It has been a while since my last trip report, but that doesn't mean I haven't been travelling here there and everywhere. The latest little trip is the subject of this report.

As some of you know from previous trip reports, I have flown every current route flown by Air New Zealand (over 100 routes). I also like flying inaugural flights. So when Air New Zealand announced a new route (Sydney to Rarotonga, Cook Islands) I naturally checked if I could make the first flight. Yes - it fit nicely in a gap in my hectic schedule and so I booked the first flight, and also positioning flights either side of it.

Last edited by Kiwi Flyer; Apr 1, 16 at 3:43 pm
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Old Jul 7, 10, 2:26 pm
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What is the new route?
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Old Jul 7, 10, 2:32 pm
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The title gives a clue, but I've now spelt it out - SYD to RAR.
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Old Jul 8, 10, 6:27 am
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Subscribed!

Keep it coming Kiwi Flyer... ^
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Old Jul 8, 10, 7:30 am
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hopefully a few photos/video landing on that sliver of a runway...
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Old Jul 8, 10, 4:05 pm
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Thanks for posting!
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Old Jul 9, 10, 1:40 am
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AUCKLAND to SYDNEY (AKL-SYD) on Air New Zealand 767 in economy space+ seats

Oh what a nice change it was to be flying to Australia not on an early flight requiring an OMG o'clock wake up. That I'm flying the longest economy class flight I've taken since my DVT scare earlier this year doesn't dampen my spirits in the slightest.

Nonetheless I had a lot of work to do, and using my theory I will be more productive arriving early and then working at the airport, compared with working hard and arriving at the airport at the last minute, I was not surprised to be awake super early regardless.

I took the airbus out to the airport, and being slightly later meant less passengers, less stops to pick up passengers and counter-intuitively (later means more traffic) a shorter travel time. Thus I arrived rather earlier than I expected. I thought about hopping off at the first airport stop, domestic terminal, for some shopping and to fill in time until check-in (perhaps on one of the free internet terminals if I can find one vacant?). I decided against this since the weather was inclement, necessitating a bus inter-terminal transfer, I decided against this. Indeed it was rather stormy with high winds and heavy downpours. I hoped the flight wasn't going to be delayed or too turbulent.

I was travelling light with just a little backpack, smaller than many women's handbags. So I was out into the terminal and halfway to the Air New Zealand premium check in lobby at the far end of the check in area before some airbus passengers had got their much larger bags hoisted to leave the bus. In the lobby I made a beeline for the one vacant kiosk (not counting one with an out of order sign on it - just a couple of weeks old and already broken ). These are new and currently only available for use by people flying Air NZ to Australia and who have an Australian or New Zealand machine-readable passport (with or without the e-chip). Unlikely my previous trip, this time I didn't get an error message. With a very minor delay while I reviewed my seating selection (yup - still have the best available given the pattern of unallocated seats), I collected my boarding pass and was halfway to the lift to premium immigration before the lobby kiosk helper even got through asking if I needed any help. Uh no, thanks for asking as the lift doors closed.
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Old Jul 10, 10, 6:47 pm
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Upstairs the immigration officer was seeing to a family. I don't know why but he took about 10 minutes - there were only 3 of them! At my turn there was a small delay because the flight was not yet open in their system. A quick phone call to open it up and I was on my way.

At security I again noticed the far line for crew was being used by many passengers as well, and thus was slower than the nearer regular line which had 2 open WTMDs. I managed to avoid the random explosives test and pat down and headed off for the lounge.

Inside the lounge was very busy and also very noisy - for it was the start of school holidays. I grabbed a drink en route to a spare computer and settled in to do some work, while trying to ignore the couple of brats arguing & fighting over whose turn it was to play a game on the adjacent computer. After a while it got too much for me so I tried to find a quiet corner in the lounge - only there wasn't one. An hour later I gave up and headed outside, optimistic I'd find peace somewhere given how well I know various hidden spaces in the terminal. On the way out I noticed kids were playing loud games on all the computers.

I walked for a bit. Checked some messages on the free internet terminals opposite the transfer desk and then took myself down pier B for some peace and quiet. Yup - much better here than in the lounge.

I headed back to the gate around when I thought boarding would start and a minute later there was a call for any business class, gold elite, gold, koru club or star alliance gold members to board now or at your leisure.

I was just settling into my seat to start watching a movie when I was asked to move back several rows (still in space+ though) where a row had been reserved for me. ^ Shortly after I was discreetly handed noise cancelling headphones from business class, and later on a newspaper as well.

We seemed to take an age boarding, thus I was well through the first movie before being interrupted for the safety video and captain's announcements. Today our flight time was expected to be a fast 2 hours 50 minutes thanks to a push from tailwinds on the backside of the approaching storm.

After takeoff there was a round through the cabin with water. I finished the first movie, and while I had hoped to get some sleep onboard in preparation for the short night ahead I wasn't tired enough (yet) and started watching a second movie.

Lunch was served (see below for the menu) with a second go through with the drinks trolley and additional through with hot drinks and later another water round. Plenty of opportunities to drink, although the booze was not as free-flowing as normal.

Our flight path today was rather southerly to keep turbulence to a minimum and also get a nice tailwind. Since we approached Sydney "too early", we got a penalty zig-zag but still managed to touch-down about 30 minutes ahead of schedule. Those who fly into Sydney know what this means - either a wait for a gate, or a wait for the airbridge. Today we had a vacant gate to pull into right away, but got had to wait 10 minutes for the airbridge.

Last edited by Kiwi Flyer; Jul 10, 10 at 7:05 pm
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Old Jul 10, 10, 7:05 pm
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Air New Zealand
Economy Class menu
New Zealand to Australia
July 2010


Lunch

Water

Choice of
filo wrap with spinach, ham and cheese
or
chicken caesar salad

Potato salad

Kapiti ice cream

Cold drinks

Hot drinks
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Old Jul 10, 10, 11:53 pm
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Sitting at home in Oz thinking... "Kapiti Ice cream... Mmmmmmmm"

Loooking forward to the rest of the TR......^
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Old Jul 12, 10, 1:23 am
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Sydney transit

The *A pier international transit security was empty except for half a dozen officers, so I expected to get pulled for a "random" explosives check and pat down which nearly always occurs when I go through an empty transit here. I was pleasantly surprised to not be stopped so I scurried upstairs as quick as I could just in case.

Since I didn't have a boarding pass I proceeded to the service desk just inside the lounge where I was told it was impossible to check in from within the lounge. Oh really, I guess I imagined all the other times I've done this. Anyway, the transfer desk on departures level wouldn't be open for a while so, having checked my credentials (card and looked up my flight in the system) I was "allowed to remain in the lounge". Harrumph.

The lounge was packed with Americans headed home for 4th July. I had a pumpkin tart for the occasion.

I did some work for some time and then went to have a shower. Towels are no longer stored in the shower rooms so back to the service desk to get one. There I was told I must go to transfer desk outside to check in because it is closing in 10 minutes. Geez, what service!

I trudged down to the transfer desk which is staffed by a contract Qantas agent. The agent hadn't heard of the new flight so didn't believe me when I asked to be checked in for Rarotonga and then onwards. Eventually I convinced her to try checking me in and I got an exclamation of "wow, didn't expect to see that" when my booking came up. I spotted a problem with my boarding pass when it was handed to me (wrong destination!), which she was unable to rectify so she needed to call Air NZ to confirm that it would be okay. After a bit of palaver I was free to return to the lounge, where I promptly had a refreshing shower.

There was still some time to go until boarding so I did some more work, had a few drinks and tried to ignore the really annoying elevator music playing on endless repeat.
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Old Jul 12, 10, 3:33 am
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Originally Posted by Kiwi Flyer View Post
There was still some time to go until boarding so I did some more work, had a few drinks and tried to ignore the really annoying elevator music playing on endless repeat.
Reminds of the Elevator music they playing in the WLG lounge, it drives me mad! Its sad when you need to get a ipod out to stay sane in a Airline Lounge.
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Old Jul 12, 10, 7:34 pm
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Wow I cannot believe that there is an Air New Zealand lounge member that does not immediately recognise you
Good to see you back in the air and writing it up.^
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Old Jul 14, 10, 1:18 pm
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SYDNEY to RAROTONGA (SYD-RAR) on Air New Zealand 767 in business class, inaugural flight

As the afternoon wore on into evening I was very tired and getting sick of the elevator music. I decided to wander around the terminal for a bit until boarding. I took a look at load information before I left - not bad but not great with still very cheap fares available in economy and 7s available in all booking classes.

Inside the lounge there was still little to show there is an inaugural flight - just some cocktails being made up.

I hadn't gotten far in out of the lounge when an announcement was made through the terminal that boarding would be delayed for operational reasons. Apparently this caused confusion and concern, as later announcements specifically mentioned strong tail winds and a desire not to arrive too early into Rarotonga as reasons for boarding commencing after our scheduled departure time.

So my walk ended up longer than planned with a few circuits between the non-world pier and the oneworld pier.

We had gate 53 which is tucked in behind some shops and has minimal seating. If I was being cynical I'd say it was a clever way to disguise a modest load.

I settled into my seat with a drink while boarding continued. I started on another movie, making use of gate to gate IFE which means it is on as soon as you board (games excepted). In business class on 767 there is a disadvantage though - due to monitors retracting into the armrests, you have to pause the program and stow the monitor for takeoff. In business class it appeared there were very few (perhaps none) "normal" passengers. Several journos, travel agents, Cook Islands dignitaries & tourism people, some Air NZ staff. Despite this the cabin still wasn't full and I switched seats to get a row to myself.
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