Yes I was hoping for the first Air New Zealand all black 787, but if not getting that plane was my biggest disappointment then this was a great flight. Besides, you can't see the outside of the plane from the inside!
The stars aligned on this. Being way down in the southern hemisphere because of a desire to fly the Thai A350, which never happened, I needed to make a return to Singapore to continue with the original plan. Luckily I found a SQ flight back for 30,000 points. (I posted the ticket on my website as there are non-believers I got this reward using *A points.) Because my return to the states went through Europe I couldn't add it on to my existing ticket. But 30,000 points for an 8 hours flight is a great deal anyway. While doing some searches this AKL-SYD flight came up. Wow, I've been wanting to fly the NZ 787, here was my chance.
Except I was in Melbourne and the 787 left from Auckland, going to Sydney. Sydney sounds like fun to see. And the availability gods had; SQ 777 SYD-SIN, right date, right time, stars are looking good. You've read the MEL-ALK review so no surprise. My visit was to Auckland (it's recommended) instead of Melbourne and an overnight stay in Sydney, enough to have dinner on the Circular Quay. It's a plan. Melbourne can wait!
While the stars aligned for the flights, I wasn't so fortunate with the weather. Having told it had been beautiful lately in Auckland (it's winter there), those 100+MPH tailwinds that whisked me here from Melbourne brought lots of rain with them. It rained the whole time in Auckland, but was still worth the trip as it's beautiful.
I arrived at the International Terminal via bus from downtown. No train service in Auckland. The domestic terminal is a shuttle bus ride away if you are connecting. And the rain had passed just in time to leave.
Almost no agents, all kiosks.
Kiosk monitors much bigger than J monitors.
Slide your passport in and viola! Weigh your carry-on, no cheating allowed and off to immigration/security where there was no line.
Inside typical shops. Who buys all this stuff?
Some familiar faces.
And the ride to Sydney.
A 787 haven.
Except for the behemoth that dwarfs the airport.
Sorry, can't resist showing more of Air New Zealand's aircraft.
The international Air New Zealand lounge is a beautiful facility. Large by any standards, with multiple rooms of various decor, has a large selection of food, full bar with bartender and barista along with shower rooms off to the side.
A room almost like a sun porch where you could view the runway, great for plane watching.
My time in the lounge was between breakfast and lunch. They were breaking down a breakfast station. Probably some made to order items were available. Plenty of food was available as it seems those Kiwi's are a hungry lot.
The famous Anzac cookie, a chocolate version!
Lemon slices, so good.
Side bar for beverages.
Time to go. Off to the gate which was in a single level concourse. International passengers are confined to a glass enclosed exit to immigration. AKL is showing its age.
The 787's are configure 1x1x1 with the middle seat pointing to the right side making seat selection undeniable.
Solo travelers take an A seat, window left side. No staring at someone. Couples take the middle and right side window. You can chat across the aisle, and look at the person in front of you unless you snag row 1, where row 2 will stare at you.
The cabin has six rows. I chose the back seat and would definitely take it again. (In fact I have.)
Large 787 overhead bins. Row A seats get extra storage with bins on both sides. Too bad they weigh your carry-on.
Small 787 lavatory, not particular well stocked.
Triple 7 flight attendants get claustrophobic in the galley.
A peak in the cockpit. I asked if I could see it and was granted the wish, after the flight. Decided to pass and get to Sydney. A regrettable decision.
Three of 5 window settings. 1 clear, 3 medium and 5 dark, almost.
If only the seat was as great as it looks.
Perspective on the ottoman size. Compared to some cubby holes it's open and roomy, just in the aisle.
Employed as storage, oops, not allowed on takeoff.
No champagne for me today.
A nice presentation. Salt and pepper anyone?
I chose the prawns to start. These aren't prawns! There are missing the single defining word that separates them from shrimp. LARGE. Actually the prawn in Australia is a shrimp in the USA. Apologies. Maybe these are USA shrimp?
Fish is always a preparation risk on a plane, well most things are, but they did a masterful job. And the sauce was right. It was a sizeable portion and delicious.
Finished off with Tiramisu and very impressed with Air New Zealand catering. They aren't DO&CO, but pretty good.
The monitors didn't get bigger in the few days I was in Auckland.
Air Show, with destination information for various cities. This airshow was better than the 777 airshow as it provided more information. The screen is interactive as you can resize like on an iPhone.
Lots of content if one is not enjoying the view or the food.
I had another great flight crew. Every flight attendant (on both NZ flights) introduced themselves by name at the beginning of the flight. New Zealanders are a very friendly people.
A parting treat.
Air New Zealand's 787 was a joy to ride in. Quite and comfortable my only complaint was the flight was too short.
Turn it up!
Notice the crew rest area above the front two middle row seats. Don't expect to use those luggage bins.
We approached Sydney from the east then made a turn back to the airport. Once out of a thin cloud cover the views of Sydney were spectacular.