I decided to split my time in New Zealand between the South and North Island. I enjoyed my time in Christchurch, though three nights were more than enough. Luckily, I had the chance to experience the countryside, which was amazing!
I bought a ticket on Air New Zealand from Christchurch to Auckland. The fare was relatively cheap — it cost me 83 NZD, roughly around 55 USD. It was a “basic economy” fare, but with my Star Alliance Gold status, I was entitled to an additional cabin bag and reserved seat in advance. What even better was the flight was operated by a Boeing Dreamliner. Since they didn’t sell business class seats, I was able to snag a premium economy seat for free, and those who are willing to pay extra get to select a business class seat.
In this series:
- Introduction: New Year 2020 In The South Pacific
- Turkish Airlines Business Class 777-300ER Los Angeles to Istanbul
- Turkish Airlines Business Class 777-300ER Istanbul to Manila
- Malaysia Airlines Business Class 737-800 Manila to Singapore via Kuala Lumpur
- Malaysia Airlines Golden Lounge Satellite Terminal – Kuala Lumpur Airport (KUL)
- Jewel Changi Airport
- Qantas International First Lounge – Singapore Changi (SIN)
- Qantas First Class A380 Singapore to Melbourne
- Qantas International First Lounge – Melbourne (MEL)
- Qantas Business Class 737-800 Melbourne to Christchurch
- Doubletree Chateau on the Park – Christchurch, New Zealand
- Christchurch Botanic Gardens and Tour Around the City
- Getting Lost in the Countryside: Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park
- Air New Zealand Domestic Lounge – Christchurch (CHC)
- Air New Zealand (Premium) Economy 787-9 Christchurch to Auckland
- My First Impression of Auckland, New Zealand
- Adina Apartment Hotel Auckland Britomart, New Zealand
- The North Island Must Do: Hobbiton and Rotorua
- Fiji Airways Business Class A350-900XWB Auckland to Nadi
- Hilton Fiji Beach Resort and Spa – Nadi, Fiji
- Fiji Airways Premier Lounge – Nadi (NAN)
- Fiji Airways Business Class A330-200 Nadi to Singapore
- Malaysia Airlines Business Class 737-800 Singapore to Kuala Lumpur
- Malindo Air Business Class 737-900 Kuala Lumpur to Kathmandu
- Shopping Spree in Thamel – Kathmandu, Nepal
- Cathay Dragon Business Class A330-300 Kathmandu to Hong Kong
- 16-Hour Delay on my American Airlines, with a Happy Ending
- Cathay Pacific First Class 777-300ER Hong Kong to Los Angeles
- Fin: Final Flights and My Closure with American Airlines – It was Good While It Lasted
As I mentioned in my previous post, the check-in agent wasn’t particularly friendly and knowledgeable about elite benefits. She persisted that I wouldn’t be allowed to bring two cabin bags without paying for a checked bag. Sometimes it puzzles me when a customer knows more about the airline policy than the airline staff themselves. She finally just shrugged her shoulders and stopped arguing.
After visiting the impressive Air New Zealand Domestic Lounge, I headed downstairs and walked to the gate. Though boarded had not started so I had to wait for a couple more minutes.
Flight Number: NZ594
Route: Christchurch (CHC) – Auckland (AKL)
Schedule: 11:30 – 12:55
Duration: 1h 25m
Aircraft Type: Boeing 787-9
Cabin: (Premium) Economy
Date: January 01, 2020
Moments later, boarding started. We boarded the aircraft through door 2L and were greeted by a friendly flight attendant.
Waiting at my seat was a plush pillow, which was impressive, considering it was a relatively short domestic flight.
Air New Zealand premium economy cabin has the typical 2-4-2 configuration with a decent seat recline and footrest.
Once boarding completed, the main door closed. We pushed back, taxied to the runway and started rolling down the runway in no time.
I wasn’t sure if its the weather or just the window, but when I looked outside, it seemed pretty hazy.
On this short flight, there wasn’t any meal service, except a cookie and water — there wasn’t even an option for sodas, tea or coffee.
The flight was pretty uneventful. Though for some reason, we cruised at a very high altitude — 41,000 feet!
Also, please note that Wi-Fi on this flight was free.
While still in the air, I also checked out the lavatory, which was pretty standard.
On the descent, I looked out of my window and noticed what appeared to Mount Taranaki — very cool!
We touched down 7 minutes ahead of schedule and parked at a remote stand. What I really love about parking at a remote stand is that you get to deplane using stairs — you get a close-up view of the plane! I guess that just my inner aviation geek. 😉
We then got on the bus and headed to the terminal.
Once you exited a small baggage claim, there was a kiosk where you can get a bus ticket to the city. I would highly recommend taking the SkyBus because it was pretty easy and straightforward. It only cost 35 NZD for round-trip fare, which took about 45 minutes to get to Auckland city center.
Air New Zealand domestic flight was a limited-service product, meaning it takes you where you need to be without providing full service. I think it was still an excellent option considering the fare wasn’t that expensive, and I still had access to the domestic lounge in Christchurch. The service was good, but nothing to brag about. All in all, it was a nice flight. I would fly with them again over the low-cost competitors.