Auckland to Tonga with Air New Zealand
The flight wasn’t too early, so I was able to have a nice relaxing start to the morning in Auckland. When I finally did check out and head to the airport bus, I encountered the Aquarium bus on the way. Every city needs a shark bus!
Check-in area was rather packed but Air New Zealand’s premium check-in is rather nice. Of course, it didn’t want to check me in at the kiosks, but with a little help from an agent I was checked in and on my way in five minutes. The nicest part of the premium check-in area is the private elevator up to immigration and security. It feeds into a private immigration line, and then into common security, but appeared to save several minutes.
I’d gotten to the airport several hours before the flight to catch up on a bit of work, so I was quite hungry for lunch by the time I arrived. Another reasonably good Mac’s beer and some tasty stew to start:
Finished off with a MOA IPA which was quite delicious, and some sweets and cheese for dessert:
Wifi in the lounge was quite good and I managed to get a good amount of work done, and about 45 minutes before the flight I headed down to the gate area, which was jam packed and standing room only.
Air New Zealand flight 274
Auckland, New Zealand (AKL) to Nuku’alofa, Tonga (TBU)
Depart 16:15, Arrive 19:10, Flight Time 2:55
Boeing 767-300, Registration ZK-NCK, Manufactured 1997, Seat 2A
Boarding began right on time, and bubbly was offered. The load was incredibly light in business today, since the plane had been switched from an all-economy A320 to a 767 about a week before the flight. More bubbles for me! Coach, however, appeared to be packed.
Today’s dinner menu:
This was my first flight with Air New Zealand, and I had high expectations based on what I’d heard from others. I mean, how can you not like an airline that shows Monty Python:
Dinner started out with more bubbly, and a small bowl of nuts:
Due to the light load, it was suggested I have multiple appetizers, both of which were quite good:
The main was also pretty good as well, especially for a 2.5 hour flight:
Plus, cheese and desert. Amazing service for such a short flight:
Flight went very quickly, and soon we were on approach to Tonga. The crew had been excellent and friendly, although it was hard to tell how much of that was due to the extremely light load in business and how much was the usual excellent service. Either way, it was a fantastic flight despite the rather poor hard product for a 767.
Tonga was taking Ebola extremely seriously, and a group of 10+ nurses in old-school white nurse uniforms met the passengers just inside the terminal and asked questions and distributed information cards:
Immigration moved on island time and took over 30 minutes, but it was no big deal because all the fellow passengers were super chatty and friendly. It was great meeting a few people who’d been on the flight and they were all really excited that someone would come all the way around the world to visit Tonga.