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I don’t want to blame that nice young man with the perfectly parted white hair…but.


I am writing this somewhere over the Tasman and somewhere back in time I missed the news that Trans- Tasman Air New Zealand flights are now to be treated like Auckland to Nelson trips, but with better biscuits.

Go back a few years, and a trip across the ditch was an event. On the plane you got ‘things’. Eye masks, face cream no one wanted, lip gloss you gave to your nieces, alcoholic drinks were free and you got a meal of some sort. My dad always wore a tie.

This does not happen anymore. You get a seat. No movies, no free air New Zealand magazine they used to insist you take home, and no happy sound of a drinks trolley coming down the aisle. These things are no longer part of the ticket price. All you get is the seat.

Now, I suspect however, that the decision makers had good mothers, because you still get a free cup of tea or coffee. My theory is that is the Air New Zealand man’s mother knew that had her son done away with that most iconic of kiwi events the ‘ cuppa’, then she’d have to ‘have a word’

There was one ‘class’ of seat. I can tell you it was not Business or First, or Premier Economy ( whatever that is these days) though to be fair it was comfy enough.

But then it got tricky. Some people did get a meal, drinks and smiles. Others got drinks and smiles but had to pay for them. I think I got a smile. I have not checked my credit card yet. I wondered if the Air NZ man had at one time worked at McDonalds, and was applying the ‘do you want fries with that’ principle?

At least with Jetstar you know they will try to part you from your money, but somehow it seems wrong on our carrier. Didn’t we pay for the airline at some point? I am trying to be gracious here because I see Air NZ as ‘my ‘ airline. I have a frequent flier card and when asked to fill in surveys I always faithfully say that I love them. I still remember after living in Europe  then getting on an Air NZ plane  to come home and hearing a kiwi accent had me wanting to hug the hostess. I felt I was home . Now ‘home’ is not going to feed me after years of telling me that they loved feeding me.

Was it something I said. Do they find out I flirted with Singapore Airlines because of the satay sticks?. Please forgive me. I won’t do that again.

What happened to that nice young man who was in charge. I think he had the white hair? I liked him, and I felt he liked me. Was it the cost of hiring those models to do the In-flight safety briefing that tipped the cost over the top? It couldn’t have been Bear Grylls, the man eats worms for goodness sake.

I tried to listen to the music. Even the words had gone and I felt I was stuck in a department store lift. When eventually a song came on that had words they were in a language I didn’t understand. In the old days there used to be an announcer who said nice things between the songs. Somewhere along the way he went the way of the meals.

So back to food. Even the pilots did not get a meal, although I thought I saw the nice lady disappear into the cockpit with an icecream, but don’t quote me.

The man in 1B must have ordered the ‘meal deal’. He got everything like the good old days. I bet he also got extra bags. He toiled on his laptop all the way over, barely drawing breath to eat the ‘beef’ ( the other option for the paying guests was a chicken penne, which looked great…and looking was as close as I got)

I sensed however a degree of embarrassment from the cabin staff. It must have been tough going down the aisle with, what years ago, was the free trolley, but now charging silly prices for a Gin.

At this stage of writing we are still 60 minutes from Brissy. I would not be surprised if someone passes around the hat. I will put in a couple of bucks. Why? Because I remember the good old days and to be fair, hard times can befall us all.

The man in 1B also used the loo. By that time I remain convinced that had I used the loo that I’d have needed coins to get the toilet paper. But perhaps that is a tad harsh.

Landing soon. I need to fill in my arrival form. But I need a pen. I am scared to ask. Maybe I’ll ask the guy in 1B.