Trip Report: Air NZ A321neo HBA-AKL

My first trip out of Tasmania in over two years would see me trying out the Air New Zealand Trans-Tasman narrow-body product.

After arriving at the airport nice and early about 2.5 hours before the flight, we made our way reasonably quickly through check-in and security, before heading through to the main terminal area, where I got a good view of our aircraft arriving from Auckland.

ZK-NNC is an Airbus A321neo delivered new to Air New Zealand in November 2018, making it the third oldest A321neo in the fleet.

Shortly after seeing our plane arrive, we wandered over to the security point and passport check that all passengers must go through when boarding an international flight from Hobart. Given that this is a relatively new thing at HBA, and that it’s all being operated in a space previously used for nothing more than some baggage carousels, I was very impressed with the efficiency of it all.

After hanging around in the fairly dark and dull Gate 6, boarding was called and we made our way over to the plane. Our seats were very close to the back of the plane, in row 33. The cabin is in an all-economy 3-3 layout, with 37 rows and 214 seats. I was very impressed with the seat: it was comfortable with good recline, adjustable headrests and armrests, and for me as a slightly-taller than-average 13-year-old legroom was almost endless! Earbuds were provided on each seat (something I was particularly grateful for as I had forgotten to pack my headphones so ended up using the earbuds for the whole trip!) and each seat had a 9 inch entertainment screen, very impressive!

From a window seat I got decent views of the apron, including seeing an unusual visitor in an RAAF C-27J Spartan transporter. Shame I wasn’t on Tower Hill to photograph it!

After a fairly long boarding process, we pushed back about 20 minutes late and taxied out before taking off from runway 12. We climbed through the clouds before turning East and heading out over the Tasman Sea.

Shortly after reaching our cruising altitude the Cabin Crew came round with a drinks service. I went for a simple cup of apple juice which tasted fine.

Once the drinks service was completed, the meal service began. As we were on ‘The Works’ fare a hot meal was included in our ticket price without extra charge. I went for the Mince and Cheese pie which was messy but tasty. My parents both went for the vegetable and cheese pasta which my mum reported as being ‘delicious’. The third option was a smoked chicken sandwich with hummus and Mexican salsa. All three meals were accompanied by a small salad and a pecan and caramel slice for dessert. I also appreciated Air New Zealand’s effort to use eco-friendly packaging and cutlery where possible.

I spent the rest of the flight alternating between watching Top Gun: Maverick (a very good watch in my opinion), playing 2048 and using the Air New Zealand free wifi to message friends. Just before we began our descent into Auckland, the cabin crew came round once more offering everyone a small candy. A nice touch.

We touched down in Auckland seven minutes late, having done the journey in 3:01 hours. While taxiing round to our gate I captured a few cool aircraft with my phone.

Qantas A330

FedEx 777F

Latam 787 Dreamliner

China Southern 787 Dreamliner

There was little to report on the following Sunday regarding the return flight. The service and experience was very similar, the only major difference being this time we were served the breakfast service instead of the lunch service. My dad and I opted for the cinnamon hotcakes with apple, which were delicious. My mum went for the chicken sausage with scrambled egg and baked beans, which apparently were also very good. Both meals came with fruit salad and yoghurt.

All in all it’s a massive thumbs up for the Air New Zealand Trans-Tasman product. Air New Zealand had a few problems resuming these HBA-AKL flights but they seem to have all been sorted out and I wouldn’t hesitate to fly this route again with them.

I hope you enjoyed reading my first proper trip report, any feedback or questions would be very welcome in the comments. Also consider checking out my Instagram and Youtube. I have more blogs on the way soon, so stay tuned and thanks for reading!

NOTE: this blog was originally published on my old blog in September 2022.

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