Like the prime minister, I too am “not a particularly lavish guy” but, my God, there are limits.
For more than half a century I’ve travelled everywhere – but no airline, not even in the worst Soviet Union days, matches the infantile nappy-statism of an Auckland-Wellington Air New Zealand flight.
The incessant and unnecessary hostess babble over the intercom, the utterly childish and pointless screeching safety video, the absurd seat-by-seat check that we’re an inch or two upright at exactly 20 minutes before landing, and worst of all, the “this is your captain speaking.” You’re not our captain, sunshine, nor is it our fault you’ve chosen a mind-numbingly boring occupation. Lacking the wit to having anything meaningful to say, we endure your mumbling nonsense about the bloody weather and your planned airport approach, as if anyone gives a damn. How long before there’s fingernail inspection?
Last week our long ordered twin-engine jet finally arrived from abroad (pictured). Oh glory; my self-respect finally regained. No unnecessary 20 minute xrays queues, no holding pens and more queues to board, no sitting around for five minutes after landing before the doors are opened, nor long baggage waits amidst the sun-glasses topped cell-phone bawlers. Instead we drove to the Wellington hangar, threw our bags on board and were immediately off. So too on our return as we landed and taxied straight into our hangar where my car awaited. Two horrific hours saved. I should have done this years ago. And if I change my mind and return an hour or a day earlier, there's still no distasteful extortionate repricing.
The Air New Zealand management’s mindset is still in the 1970s. Auckland-Wellington is simply a commuter flight. There’s no need of the palaver, the xray queues, the intercom earbashing, the tea and coffee and so on. Just have one uniformed hefty bloke to deal with improbable events and leave the passengers alone. And if you must, then emulate the American airlines and flash a sign to straighten the seat up and put away the tray as you come in to land, and not insultingly pestering people twenty minutes before.
Sir Bob came in at No 15 on the recently published NBR Rich List 2015, with an estimated wealth of $620 million. His company's new Cessna Citation Mustang 12 metres long, has a wingspan of 13 metres and cruises along at 630kmh, with a top speed of 772kmh. It has a list price of $US2.75m – Editor.
Robert Jones Holdings' new company vehicle