My flight over to Australia was with an airline I had never flown with before, but had heard about. I wasn’t really prepared for it though. Living in North American had gotten me used to tiny chairs, limited entertainment (Air Canada is great, though US carriers are terrible), and non-existent food options. My flight down to New Zealand on Air New Zealand was a great joy, but that was partly buoyed by using points to bump me into getting a lie-flat seat. It was back to cattle-class for my 4 hour flight across the Tasman sea on my way to Melbourne.
The check-in was auspicious and easy enough. No waits, as there were about 20 check-in agents working hard. Which was good, Emirates had all 3 of their flights that left Auckland (going to Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, before all heading onwards to Dubai) within an hour window. So, lots of people at the airport. No worries, I had dropped off my bag and headed towards security within minutes.
The New Zealand security for departures was a little bit different. While they’ve got the usual X-Rays and such, they also make you declare what you are taking out of the country, as well as going through security verification to make sure that you don’t own any fines, warrants, etc to your name. It’s interesting. The policy had been given new TV-ads. Apparently people don’t like beings stopped and forced to pay unpaid speeding tickets and the like when they are heading away on vacation.
Then it was simply waiting for my flight. One of the other flights that Emirates was operating was fairly noteworthy, due to the plane being used. The Airbus A380-800. The largest passenger airplane in the world. I wish I hadn’t packed my camera. It was beside a Boeing 737 (typical plane you would see Westjet flying). The A380 made the 737 look like a little toy. It was simply gigantic.
After gawking at the jumbo-plane, I boarded my 777 and got to sit back and relax. And really relax – the two seats next to me were vacant. I had a big screen to play with, hundreds of movies to watch, and 4 hours to enjoy the technology. The food was excellent (and included) as well – salmon on veggies and potatoes, and lots of little sides. Beer was also free, though the choices weren’t too great. But, free is free. And when you consider all of that cost $142US…I was very impressed. All in all, a good experience. I arrived in Melbourne in the evening (8pm), rested and ready.