Monday, August 9, 2010

20 March 2010 - Timaru

The mighty Timaru airport was next on the list thanks to a cheap $39 each way.  This quick turnaround was slightly different as I took my son (20 months old) along with me.
Air NZ allowed me to add him after a phone and no cost as he will be sitting on my lap for the flights.  As my wife was tied up with a prior engagment, my son and I set off for the airport using the shuttle bus service ($25) for a 8.55am departure.
We saw a celebrity in the Koru Lounge that morning, namely Kevin Milne, presenter of Fair Go.  He seemed pretty relaxed chatting with a few "fans".
Our flight was called and we made our way to the B1900 gates (4-9).  I had 3A as my pre-selected seat, my favourite.  My son enjoys flying, although it is a long flight for a small plane (over 1hour) and he got a little wriggly...
Timaru airport, also known as Richard Pearse Airport, is quite small, with quite low traffic passing through it daily.  The airport lounge (no Koru!) is essentially one large room with the normal check in desk for Air NZ.  I even found a FREE coffee machine dispensing what could only vaguely be called coffee (becoming a coffee snob living in Welly!).
This airport is typical of some of the small provincial ones that Air NZ operate from - one man does most of the duties.  Check-in, baggage retrieval and loading, checking tickets and refuelling etc etc...

With an M-Pass stuck to the back of my Frequent Flyer card, I am able to turn up at the gate and flash it past the machine, that duly spits out my boarding pass.  Most people in regional / provincial airports do not or don't have this service and thus most check in as you would "normally".  My son and I sat in the lounge whilst it filled up with people catching the plane back to Welly.  I could overhear the one man chap talking to a trainee that the flight had a no show....It dawned on me that he was probably refering to me as I had booked the tickets seperately (due to minimum connection time not allowing ticketing on one PNR).  I saw him do a scan of the lounge and then come over to us.
Conversation went a little like this:
  • man: are you flying on the wellington flight sir?
  • me: yes.
  • man: didn't you just arrive from Wellington?
  • me: yes.
  • Man: and now you are going back to Wellington now?
  • me: yes
  • Man: So you are staying in Timaru for less than an hour?
  • me: yes.  Its a long story, but yes I am flying back to Wellington
  • Man: Oh, I see...ok (puzzled look)

He went back to his station and loaded me onto the system.  He was really quite dumb founded on why on earth someone would fly to Timaru only to fly back on the same plane in less than hour later...All in the name of ticking off the list.....

The flight back was uneventful, except wrestling a small child!

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