Thursday, June 19, 2008

Air New Zealand service was lousy

"Air New Zealand has tied for third-best carrier in the world, trailing winner Singapore Airlines and Indian carrier Jet Airways," the New Zealand Press Association reported today.

It's a report I can't allow to pass without comment. When I flew from Auckland to Melbourne in January 2007, all Air New Zealand could offer me for lunch was a greasy meat pie. I refused it, with appropriate disgust.

Four days later, I flew from Melbourne to Wellington on Qantas, which was much better. But Wellington Airport had been fog-bound that morning, and the congestion at check-in resulted in my missing my flight to Palmerston North.

That was my fault, Air New Zealand told me. I should have pushed my way to the front of the queue - as though a civilized person could do such a thing. I was offered a seat on a flight the next day. Needless to say, I didn't take it. I returned to Palmerston North by bus.

In today's report, NZPA said the airlines were chosen on the basis of a survey by British consumer magazine Which?

Singapore Airlines, which carries 18 million passengers a year, won top prize, while India's Jet Airways, which carries about 10 million passengers, was runner-up.

Air New Zealand, which carries 12 million passengers, shared third place with Palmair, which operates only one plane, a 34-year-old Boeing 737, that carries 70,000 passengers a year.

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