Flying from Hong Kong to Auckland with Air New Zealand

Nic Hamilton flies from Hong Kong to Auckland, with Air New Zealand.

The plane:

A Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.

Flight time: A little more than 10 hours.

Atmosphere: Mood lighting was, well, moody, with some purple and lilac hints going on. Perhaps it was the setting sun coming off the South China Sea as we taxied to the runway, or the choice of music, but there was some good atmos going on. Then the window shade buttons that create options for the amount of shade you want on the window. Then that chilled music again when the plane landed.

Food: Good. The fruit dessert was fresh and not the usual insipid fruit served in the air. The main servings were chicken or marinated beef with loads of decent NZ wine available. The service was a little slow only because they had a lot of special meals to get out first, including mine, which didn’t come. I had to ask at each meal service, but they were super nice about ensuring I received what I had pre-ordered.

Passengers: Most passengers were Hong Kong Chinese or Chinese, with a sprinkling of New Zealanders. I noticed a few passengers bringing their tea flasks which were refilled with green tea during the trolley service. Overall it was a very quiet flight.

Service: Crew were friendly and helpful. They were getting a little angsty because some of the passengers were delaying the push out from the gate by not sitting down or changing seats last minute. Seat changes slowed the meal service further with special meal requests going to the wrong seats.

Seating: 57D aisle. Really wanted a window to view Hong Kong’s amazing skyline and surrounding islands. The seats are in 3-3-3 configuration . Seats are okay, although with slightly stiff cushioning.

Entertainment: Good selection of music, films and TV available. There seemed to be more interruptions from announcements than with other carriers. They first came in English, then a a moment later in Chinese freezing the movie each time.

Safety video: We need to talk about the safety video. Yep, the rap version that was taken off domestic flights recently. As a Kiwi, I could get the in-your-face Kiwiana references being rammed down my throat. But for non-NZers? Trying too hard to be cool and down with the kids is annoying. So annoying I was slinking into my seat, trying not to catch the eye of the straight-faced air crew who had heard it one too many times. And were now facing a planeload of Chinese, looking confusingly at their screens. Hong Kong has always marketed itself as East meets West, so it was kind of appropriate, yo.

But Air NZ need to take if off international flights if it wants to be a truly international airline and have all our nation’s visitors understand where the life jackets are stowed. Grow up and spend the money on more movie options. (Have to admit Julian Dennison was funny though).

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