Winston Aldworth flies from Queenstown to Auckland aboard Jetstar’s JQ298.
The plane: A Jetstar A320. The bustling little beauty that has knocked down the price of travel between New Zealand’s regional centres.
Seat: I was in 13F, a window seat on the exit row. The legroom is really something else.
But I’d say the best seat on the plane is probably in row 12, where you’ve still got the plush legroom, but you’re less likely to be bustled by someone in the seat behind. And of course, mid-cabin exit rows are the least bumpy during turbulence, as they’re positioned right over the wings.
If the prospect of a bumpy ride doesn’t bother you, then go for the front row — quickest to get on and off.
Price: You could get there and back for $148.
Flight time: Down for 1hr, 50m and we’re bang on time.
How full: We’re about 90 per cent full — unsurprising for Jetstar’s last flight back to Auckland on a Sunday.
Airport experience: Like pretty much everything in Queenstown, the security process for boarding planes at the airport gets swamped by visitors to the resort town. This is New Zealand’s second busiest airport for number of take-offs (albeit a number boosted by private jets, small planes and helicopters), and it’s a rare day that the queues at the x-ray scanners move swiftly.
With no space for more runway, neighbours begrudging of late flights and a terminal packed to the rafters, untangling the 30-year plan for Queenstown Airport must be one of the juicier jobs in Kiwi tourism.
Service: Good as gold.
Food and drink: We got a cheese and cracker pack ($5) and some weird but tasty sesame nut nibbles ($5).
Luggage: I had a 20kg bag in the hold. There was plenty of space in the overhead bins on this occasion, but things are getting tight on these regional hops, as indicated by the
PA announcements in the airport warning passengers to keep to the carry-on limits.
Verdict: The big orange bus delivers again.