Who'd fly the State Airline?

Let me tell you a little story about a person I know and his weekend sojourn to Melbourne.

He was attending along with his wife the wedding of a long time family friends son in Melbourne. Out of the habit of a lifetime he booked with Air New Zealand.

Everything was going swimmingly until they were all sitting on the plane awaiting departure. They waited and waited and finally they were told that the 313 passengers on board were being delayed by difficulty in loading a cat and a dog in the hold. They were delayed for over 30 minutes because of a fricken cat and a dog. I mean how hard can it be to shove a couple of crates in the hold, or for the benefit of the passengers leave the stupid things behind, but oh no, Air New Zealand had to delay a flight for a cat and a dog.

Inflight things didn't get much better. It turns out that several staff members were flying to Melbourne.

How do we know they were staff?, well they were being feted by the other staff, nay, crawling and fawning all over them would be a better description. They were plyed with champagne in the face of all the other passengers who were served nothing of the sort. When questioned about the free flowing champagne they were politley informed that they were staff travelling. From the time the plane arrived till the time he got his bags from the rotunda was 50 minutes, but at least he had been warned by the champagne drinking staff members that this was the norm because Qantas ground staff slow things down and make life difficult for Air New Zealand.

The return leg wasn't much better. Upon checking in at Melbourne my friend was told that his pre-allocatted and confirmed seats were no longer available and he would now be travelling in the rear with the gear. Understandably he was not to happy about this and asked for a supervisor. Eventually the supervisor moved them further forward but still nowhere near the pre-allocatted and confirmed seats. When presseed the Air New Zealand supervisor retorted "What are you complaining about, you paid for two seats and you've got two seats", to which my friend replied, "Oh I suppose you need those seats for staff huh?"

Arrival in New Zealand wasn't much better than in Melbourne. With four plane loads arriving Customs and immigration saw fit to have a total of 4 people on to process all the passengers. It seems Qantas may have infiltrated New Zealand government departments as well.

So I ask you why would you travel with the state airline. I don't think my friend will, he has a choice, luckily, between between Emirates, Qantas and Pacific Blue.Air New Zealand will very much be at the bottom of his list.