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A trying time on Air New Zealand (and HiFly)

Cool A340-300 unbranded plane

Dear Air New Zealand,

I had a set of unfortunate experiences today, and I'd like to tell you about it.

Firstly, let me introduce the appropriate context - this is Christmas Eve, which is a trying time for all.

Secondly, I need to say that you have communicated very well why this is a set of HiFly mistakes, not Air New Zealand mistakes.

Thus, I do understand that this was not strictly your fault. I actually did not speak to AirNZ staff until I wanted a Jack Daniels, only HiFly staff, but you did hire HiFly so you should be fully aware of the level of service they offered that motivated this blog post (TLDR: poor).

Thirdly, I was hoping this would be a curious, fun learning experience. I generally fly cattle class everywhere though so I expect a few rough edges or trying times. However, instead of a positive learning experience, I will remember it as pretty poor at best and unfortunately letting my family know too over Christmas, so here's a chance for you to do some damage control if you're fast enough.

So to my experiences:

  1. Screen not working My screen was broken. I'm perfectly fine with this, but perhaps my day would have gone better if I had been offered a different seat with a working screen, or a free premium economy upgrade (there were many empty seats I walked past - I board only when the final call happens to maximise my free WiFi usage playing fun online games like Boom Beach, which I cannot do on the flight).
  2. Dangerous Move Fixed Nozzle Direction The hand wash container things if naively pushed on squirt the handwash outwards instead of downwards. So naturally when I was a little tired as happens to many passengers on flights, even short ones like across the Tasman, I fell into this trap. (The normal built-in one that I tried first did not dispense any handwash - clearly the Airbus Engineers knew what they were doing, but HiFly - evidently not so much).
  3. Ancient Call Button Call light off Call light on I attempted to contact a staff member with the built in buzzer thing. It was at an unfortunate time as the staff were dispensing meals.
  4. Thank you for the free meal! That was a nice consolation for this inconvenience.
  5. The HiFly staff member who I finally flagged down seemed completely unaware that my call light was on. I did not get the staff member's name, but flying NZ102 in economy Seat 33G, it should not be too hard to figure out if one so desired.
  6. The staff member seemed completely uninterested in my predicament. To their credit they did listen just enough to bring me a tiny wet towel. Which I had to immediately tell them was not what I wanted - I wanted a dry towel (or a blanket I later realized would have worked).
  7. Sad excuse for a hand towel So finally I got a dry towel. Which was also tiny. And by this point in time, 10-15 minutes after the handwash squirt incident, I had basically dried myself off by manually rubbing my t-shirt with my hands.
  8. The flight did not stock Jack Daniels, thankfully the AirNZ staff offered the excellent Johnny Walker substitute.
  9. Coke No Sugar (This isn't your fault AirNZ) - I would like a Coke Zero. Only Coke No Sugar was available (this is one reason I am leaning towards selling my CCL.AX holding at some point). Coke Zero is "peppier" for lack of a better description, I vastly prefer it over Coke No Sugar (and I'd actually prefer water over CNS but that's my personal preference that I just forgot at the time after this mini-saga).

Finally, I spent at least an hour of my valuable time taking photos and writing this blog to you, instead of say working on my Robocup SPL passion or relaxing and enjoying the flight.

I have no idea if this would have happened had I chosen the cheaper LATAM flight today. It's also way way way better than being a doctor bashed on United. If only Cathay Pacific (which I have happily used to fly to New York via Hong Kong with no jet lag twice there and back now in the past year) flew to NZ via Sydney I would be a much happier camper today.

Ball is in your court AirNZ, I may or may not have WiFi/Cellular while in NZ as I like my time offline away from it all with family being a huge bonus. You may also contact me privately at: peter AT peterjs DOT com

Thank you for reading about this poor experience. I hope I will have a better experience on my return journey on Monday 8 January.

P.S. I'm sure it's just a safety thing, but to add insult to injury, and having already taken out one earbud in compliance before the staff member arrived, the Portuguese staff forced me to take out both earbuds of my noise-cancelling headphones in the last 10 minutes of the flight. Having already finished the inflight magazine in the first 10 minutes, I was left with nothing to do but listen to three toddlers scream their lungs out, a living hell, but thankfully consoled in the knowledge that this too shall pass.

P.P.S. Then the staff told everyone to sit back down again, for no reason as a minute later the captain said we could disembark. I burst out laughing at the sheer incompetence.

P.P.P.S. I'll add the photos later once I get past the terribly slow Auckland Airport WiFi =(

EDIT 31 December 2017: Added photos, including that I found a Singapore Airlines logo in that bathroom: Aside: Singapore Airlines Logo

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