I spend my last day in Australia walking through the streets of Perth and visiting the lovely King’s Park. What always impresses me in Australia is just how health conscious people generally are. If you are out in the street around lunchtime, you really have to watch out to avoid being run over by one of the many runners.
GETTING TO THE AIRPORT
Transport: public transport bus, bus lines 37 and 40
Depart from: the corner of William Street and St Georges Terrace, stand C
Frequency: every 30 minutes
Journey time: 35 minutes + 15 minutes
I have plenty of time to spare for my 19:25 departure to Auckland, so I figure I might as well try getting to the airport by public transport. The bus lines 37 and 40 both make the journey from the centre of Perth to the airport. However, the 37 takes 15 minutes longer to complete the trip.
Both busses only run to the domestic terminals 3 and 4. To reach terminal 1, which handles all the international flights, you need to changes busses upon arrival at terminals 3 and 4. The connecting bus stops just a bit further up from where the bus from the city arrives. The transfer shuttle is painted orange and white. Make sure you get on to the right bus though, as there is another one in the same colours which only goes to the long-term parking.
Location: ground floor, international departures
Facilities: web check-in and mobile check-in not available
Counters: The check-in counters for the flight to Auckland only open two hours and thirty minutes before departure. There are seven counters in total, two of which are reserved for Business Class passengers and status card holders.
Location: opposite gate 2
Type of Lounge: QANTAS lounge
Facilities: business centre, showers, hot and cold food, selection of hot and cold drinks
Internet: available without password, the airport also has its own free network
Air New Zealand uses the QANTAS lounge in Perth. The only other lounge in the international terminal is the one belonging to Emirates, next door. The food options in the lounge are pretty good, with an interesting selection of Mediterranean antipasti. The showers are stocked with Molton Brown toiletries, which smell really nice. I think I may have to stock up next time I am in London. Towels for the shower are also provided upon request at reception and I am surprised at how fluffy they are.
Priority Boarding: separate lane for Business Class passengers and status card holders, boarding sequence is enforced
Configuration: 1 + 2 + 1
Seat: 26 seats – All seats face inward to the aisle. For the window seats this means that outside views are difficult without contorting your neck into a painful position. Furthermore, due to the layout of the seats pointing towards each other, you may feel slightly exposed, there is really not much privacy. And if you try to stretch your legs when the seat is in the upright position, you end up with your feet sticking out and obstructing the aisle.
Pitch: 79.5 inches
Length as a bed: 79.5 inches
Width: 22 inches
Recline: 180 degrees
Facilities: power outlet, reading lamp, overhead lamp
Audio and Video: AVOD, touch screen or remote controlled
For sure the Business Class cabin Air New Zealand has installed is spectacular to look at. The mood lighting adds to the atmosphere. Even so, I do not think I will ever be a fan of the herringbone. For one, everything seems to be in a slightly awkward position. There is a small foldable table for drinks underneath the reading lamp, which is good. But it is just a bit too far back for you to be able to reach it comfortably. For another, using the seat is far from intuitive. I take my seat and find myself looking around trying to figure out where the table is, how to open the table, how to switch off the lights, find the remote control, etc.. And thirdly, there is not enough storage space in the seat.
The crew on this flight are simply excellent, stupendous, brilliant, personable and very hospitable. From the moment you board the aircraft the crew make you welcome, in fact stepping aboard feels more like entering a friend’s living room.
A pillow, the vanity kit and the earphones have already been placed at my seat when I arrive. The steward comes to ask me if I would like a welcome drink. He introduces himself to me and gives me the names of the other crew serving the Business Class cabin on today’s flight.
Brand: no name
Content: Clarins cosmetics, toothbrush and toothpaste, eye shades and some pretty funky, colourful socks, pen, ear plugs
Welcome drink on the ground: orange juice, water or sparkling wine
Hot towel before the meal: served on the ground before departure
Pre-meal drink: Perrier, orders for the pre meal drink are taken while the aircraft is still on the ground
Choice: only one choice for the starter, three choices for the main course (no vegetarian option) and three options for dessert
Delivery: tray service
Type of meal: dinner, hot meal
- Amuse bouche of nuts, dried fig, piece of cheddar, pickled vegetables
- Lemongrass poached chicken breast with rice noodles, cucumber and coconut dressing, crispy shallots
- Seared beef filet with wasabi crumbs, rustic roasted potatoes, minted green pea purée
- Gourmet ice cream dessert of English toffee crunch and chocolate fudge ice cream
- Selection from the breadbasket
- Tohu Noble Riesling 2011, Raiha Reserve
The size and the quality of the meal is quite amazing. The noodle starter is unusual and very refreshing. The beef for the main course is very nicely cooked and the wasabi crust goes surprisingly well with the beef. The carrots have managed to remain crisp and crunchy.
The steward removes my tray and asks me if I’ll be having dessert. I answer by explaining that I’m torn between the ice cream and the white chocolate and amaretto cheesecake with cherry sauce topping. To which he answers that in no way is he trying to twist my arm, however he could give me a plate of each. But I resist the temptation and the kind offer and eventually settle for the ice cream, which is rich and creamy. To drink I have the Tohu Riesling dessert wine, which is truly exquisite. It is the kind of stuff you could go on drinking all night.
After that I go change into my pyjamas. In the meantime, the crew convert my seat into a bed. Before I turn in, the steward asks me if I would like to be woken for breakfast.
The second service starts about 50 minutes out of Auckland. It is a simple affair: just a cup of coffee, an orange juice and a warm Danish pastry. But it serves its purpose well.
Apparently it is quite a windy day in Auckland today, with winds of up to 100 km/h. So our approach is quite bumpy. We land more or less on time and it is only now that I realise that my brain is having trouble coping with the idea that I have actually arrived on the other wise of the planet.
I now have a layover of seven hours here in Auckland before my onward connection. But that is alright because my old friend A. is expecting me.
So what about Air New Zealand? I think they really rock and that is mainly due to the crew. Everybody on board the aircraft was such so friendly and helpful. The only thing I really do not like is the seat – it lacks privacy, comfort and convenience.