Air New Zealand Posts

Please Arrive 15 Minutes Before Departure. Really!

The Cranky Flier blog followed in our footsteps as he recently visited the domestic terminal in Auckland New Zealand and met the future of air travel.  Like him, we were amazed when we saw how calm and orderly this busy terminal was, and how by installing so many kiosks, they allow for a speedy and hassle free check in.

How would you like arriving just 15-minutes prior to departure at the airport. Imagine that!  It is possible because Air New Zealand has installed three large round banks of kiosks where all of the work of check-in happens.

Arriving up at the machine, he puts a little RFID reader on a designated spot atop the screen, and it reads all of his info, welcoming him by name.

It asked him if he wants to take the scheduled flight, or perhaps leave a little earlier. After assigning him a seat, the kiosk tells him politely to put his bags on the conveyor belt, and be on his way. Voila!  Check in’s done, he’s walking to his departure gate, and by God it was all done in less than 15 minutes.

Couples Can Now Cuddle All the Way to NZ

extended-seat-on-air-new-zealand2It’s a long way down, down to New Zealand.  For the vast majority of the air travelers, it’s a tough slog, having to sit in upright coach seats can be tough after the 12th hour. Fortunately, Air New Zealand has come up with a great way to make that long trip a little nicer.

They have introducéd a new amenity, allowing two passengers to share a third seat, horizontally, so that a couple or a family can share the space lying flat. It’s  an ingenius plan, that in some ways discriminates against solo travelers. But for those traveling, like Noah’s Ark, in twos, well you’re in luck

They only require that flyers pay 25% additional for that valuable real estate. The Guardian UK added more details:

“Developed in-house by the airline’s designers and engineers, the 22 “Skycouches” will take up the first 11 rows in the economy cabin of the carrier’s new Boeing 777-300 planes, and will be formed out of three economy seats abreast that fold out to create a lie-flat space (complete with full size pillows) stretching right up to the seats in front.”

In New Zealand, The Big Threats Are Toads, Not Terrorists

A friend of mine traveled to Israel last month.  One of things  he reported was that the security check begins to take place even before the traveler reaches the airport. Outside of Tel Aviv airport at a roadblock, Johnny Jet told me that the interrogation began right there, with lots of questions about why and where he was going and an intense grilling about his family and about his intentions.

In Israel, nobody pretends that profiling is a bad idea, or that there is any reason not to do this. This country knows exactly who wants to destroy them, and they are dead set that they’ll do whatever they can to catch the real bad guys. Their track record is impressive–El Al the national carrier has not had incidents of hijacking anywhere near the problems that other airlines have had.

Contrast this with where  your correspondent is right now…good old New Zealand. When we had to change planes to board a domestic flight from Auckland to Wellington, it was casual, fun, and nobody had to take off their shoes. Tomorrow we’ll fly from the small town of Nelson to Christchurch and then again down to Queenstown.  Nobody will be that concerned about who we are, nobody will assume that we’re out to get them…no grandmothers will be asked to be searched, and I am pretty sure that if I leave a water bottle in my carry-on, nobody will object.

Now, on the other hand, if I had a package of grapes, or god forbid, a toad in my boot, well that would be a big, big problem. Down in this part of the world, the biggest fear is invasive plants, foreign insects and natural things which will do terrible harm to the environment. There are 70 million possums down here eating 21,000 tons of bush every night. There are poisoning programs and trapping programs, and still, 95% of Kiwi eggs get eaten by rats, stoats and possums.

Terrorists are least of their problems down here, so tomorrow should be a breeze through security.

You’ve Tried Match.com, Now Try Air New Zealand!

Travel does make some people feel romantic. Air New Zealand this month offered a matchmaking flight between LA and Auckland, including a pre-flight party, in-flight hijinks and a ticket to a post flight gala where 150 single Kiwis will be in attendance.

For people who’ve given Match.com and EHarmony a try, this is a new way to find their mates.

Why do airlines offer this kind of thing?  The Airline’s marketing manager, Kathryn Gregory, said the matchmaking flight fits with the airline’s goal of ‘putting the fun back in flying.’  But this isn’t the first time an airline has tried to become a dating game in the sky. SkyEurope, a now  defunct low-cost airline in central Europe, experimented with speed-dating flights in 2007.

Woman sat in special reserved seats and have five-minute chats with males who rotated through the different seats meeting the women.  Air New Zealand didn’t go this far, they just encouraged people to mix and mingle.

Themed flights like this will be more and more available. Quantas offered a ‘pink flight’ where a gay-friendly theme prevailed, and it was  a big marketing success.