Flight Test: Smooth ride with showstopping views
A really enjoyable flight to a stunning part of New Zealand and what would have to be one of the most picturesque airports in the world.
THE AIRLINE Air New Zealand
THE ROUTE Auckland to Queenstown
THE PLANE Airbus A320-200
UP THE BACK OR AT THE POINTY END? Seat 17B
TIME IN THE AIR 1 hour, 50 minutes
THE SEAT STUFF The seat configuration is 3 and 3. I had a passenger either side of me but wasn't too cramped. The leather seats have a 4-inch seat recline and 31-inch pitch.
BAGGAGE ALLOWANCE I took carry on which included a backpack and small suitcase, both of which fit comfortably into the overhead stowage.
COMFORT FACTOR Airbus claims the A320 has a reduction in noise and improved flight smoothness and stability, all of which was distinctly noticeable throughout the flight.
THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT Air New Zealand domestic jet services on A320 and 737 aircraft feature an inflight quiz on the entertainment system throughout most of the flight, making for a fun distraction. However new required navigation performance (RNP) technology allows aircraft to fly above the Southern Alps at low altitude, making the view below the real entertainment.
THE SERVICE The flight crew were friendly and the pilots gave a running commentary of geographical sights to spot, which was a nice touch.
FEEDING TIME A tasty snack was served - a small carrot, sultana and pecan muffin with tea or coffee.
ONE MORE THING On the tarmac at Queenstown, Air New Zealand opened up both the front and rear exits, making disembarking twice as fast and a much more relaxed process.
THE VERDICT A really enjoyable flight to a stunning part of New Zealand and what would have to be one of the most picturesque airports in the world.
FREQUENCY Air New Zealand flies A320 aircraft from Auckland to Queenstown 4 to 5 times a day.
John Anthony flew at his own expense.