Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Saturday, June 25, 2011
Friday, June 24, 2011
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
I hate public transport. It is what other people should do. My recent three weeks in London being a commuter have only reinforced this position. Overpowered motor cars are the way to go and bugger the expense and the planet.
However one has to go through life with a measure of pragmatism and when just over a year ago my employment changed a tad and I had to work two days a week 400 miles from Obald acres even I had to accept that using the twin turbo charged V6 diesel was not going to work. Bus and train (and ferry I would think) are out of the question and so I found myself looking at a weekly airline commute.
I like aeroplanes and I like airports so we must put some strategies in place so that this affection does not turn into hatred. If I am to be a regular plane user I have to do it right and over the last year I have honed the recipe to perfection.
How to fly from Auckland to Wellington and back - cooking time about three hours
One aeroplane Airbus A320 preferred, Boeing 737-300 acceptable
Air New Zealand Airpoints membership
Tutto cabin bag
One motor car Jaguar is the best brand here.
Lounge Membership Initially Koru Club required, as you progress this is no longer necessary and vaporises
Taxi card These can be found in the terms of employment; if not then complain
Large vat of Jetstar repellant
Spare vat of Jetstar repellant You can't be too careful
Make sure that bookings are made well in advance by whoever does this for you. This is to ensure that the next step has a good chance of success. Under no circumstances perform step one yourself as you will stuff it up; this is dangerous work best left to the experts. Next check that the itinerary has no mention of Jetstar. Anywhere. The slightest hint of Jetstar anywhere in this recipe will mean that the whole thing will not work. You will end up in the airport where you start from, you will miss meetings, you will be angry and you will have to buy coffee with money.
Next use your internet connection and Airpoints Membership and mix well together. Find your flight bookings and select your seat. This only works well if you have followed the instructions in the first step to the letter and in particular have paid attention to the timings. If your booking wallah leaves it too late you will end up in 13B. This ruins the whole dish. There are only about eight seats on the plane that will work. Any seat with a number greater than 2 is not acceptable. 1D is probably the best seat on the plane but 1F is good. 1A, 1B and 1C have their own special charm on the A320 (more of this later) but do not exist on the 737-300. 2A and 2C are good here; 1E and 2B are also acceptable.
Whilst you are still connected to the interweb you need to book the car parking for the Jaguar. Air New Zealand parking is the way to go and don't bother with the facilty at the Terminal; the Freight Place/shuttle bus is fine and half the price.
Pack your bag. I was put onto the Tutto cabin bag by a colleague and have only had mine for three weeks. Bloody marvelous but with the downside that you have to send your daughter to New York to get one and I will not deny that this puts the price up a tad. Used to have a Delsey prior to the new acquisition which I thought was good but the Tutto makes it look and perform like a steamer trunk.
Leave home. Now this may seem obvious but there is more to it than meets the eye. I live on the other side of Auckland from the Airport and therefore the Auckland traffic can ruin the dish. The answer is to leave absurdly early and get to 3 Freight PLace before the rest of Auckland have tumbled what you are up to. Time arrival at 3 Freight Place for just after 0600 so that the shuttle gets you to the Domestic Terminal after Roy, the oddly named female Koru Lounge barista, has started work.
Now take the iPhone you have prepared earlier. This you do by downloading the Air New Zealand App mPass and loading all your flights up.There is a caveat here as the most recent version of the App doesn't work as it doesn't generate the barcodes you will be needing in a moment. Try and get the first version. Walk up to the Koru Lounge, swipe the iPhone barcode on the barcode swiper bizzo and you are ushered in to the next most important part of this recipe after avoiding Jetstar at all costs.
The Koru Lounge is the key to all this. No milling round with the great unwashed queueing up for McDonalds for you. No its three black doris plums and a bowel of yogurt, a cup or two of double shot long black and as much free wifi as you can eat. Even the necessity of paying for Koru Club membership disappears after a while as you inexorably gain enough Airpoints to gain Gold and then Gold Elite status. Sit there with a healthy breakfast (or one designed to send you to an early coronary grave if you so desire) and read the paper, do some work, watch the world go by or write your blog. I love Koru Lounges and have now been to every one in New Zealand and they deserve and will get a post to themselves.
Flight time and you use what is left of the previously prepared iPhone to get a boarding pass; ensure you do this in the first wave of boarders. If you don't the overhead locker above rows 1 and 2 will be full and the Tutto will have to go in the next locker back - a dreadful inconvenience as I'm sure you'll agree. If you have seat 1A, 1B or 1C on the A320 there is an extra treat in store. There are no video screens in front of these seats (meaning you unfortunately miss the inflight Trivia Quiz) and so you can't watch the Richard Simmons aerobics. For safety reasons (see last post) you have to have the the safety spiel so a hostie sits in front of you and does a private show (not that, you with open sewers for minds) for just the three of you. This is even more amusing if you can persuade her to do the dance - they all know it off by heart. All you have to do now is sit back and go to Wellington.
At the other end if you are not first off the plane you are not paying attention. Use the taxi card and go to work; fresh as a daisy and in a ripper of a good mood. Coming back is much the same but remember to get your loyalty card at AirNew Zealand parking punched with the little aeroplane cut out so that they will wash your Jaguar for you for nothing every nine weeks.
Remember the key points; the Koru Lounge and no Jetstar. Got it? NO Jetstar. Nothing, nix, nada, zero, not a trace, not a mention. It is a poisonous company that has every bit earned its evil reputation and will leave you where you don't want to be, grumpy, late for everything and scarred for life. Ignore this piece of advice at your peril.
There is no reason not to travel like this - all you need is a little planning. I have got to the state where public transport moulded to my liking is a real pleasure. You still won't catch me on a bus though - they don't have 600nm of torque at 1500rpm