Flying from Narita Airport, Tokyo, to Auckland aboard Air New Zealand

Neil Porten flies aboard Air NZ flight NZ94 from Narita Airport, Tokyo, to Auckland.


A 787-9 Dreamliner.

Class: Economy.

Price: The second leg of a $1550 return trip.

Flight time: Scheduled at 10h 35m, departing 9.35pm, arriving 12.10pm. We were more or less on time.

My seat: 62C, an aisle seat a couple of rows back from the tail. I’ve got long limbs, but the legroom was just adequate. But there’s no denying the seats are narrow, and a bit more padding might’ve been crucial if the flight was longer.

Fellow passengers: A few returning Kiwis and what appeared to be plenty of Japanese tourists, several of whom were clearly excited to see the black sand of the West Coast beaches and the green of the south Auckland paddocks.

How full: Almost completely. The Japanese couple next to me were quick to move to two vacant aisle seats nearby the first time I got up to stretch, leaving me with a row to myself. The hours I spent souvenir-hunting in warm, crowded Tokyo shops might’ve contributed to their decision.

Entertainment: Plenty of TV shows and movies I hadn’t seen. For me, the Air new Zealand trivia quiz takes too long to give you the answers.

Service: Pleasant, efficient.

Food and drink: Two meals — a late dinner to put us to sleep and a late breakfast to see us on our way. For dinner, the beef stew was tender and succulent and the cheese, crackers and dessert filled me up; Asahi beer to wash it down, arigato. At breakfast, the omelette with sausage and ratatouille tasted fine, along with the fresh fruit and yoghurt, juice and coffee.

Toilets: It was clean when I went in there halfway through the flight. Just don’t tell my lepidopterophobic daughter about the butterfly wallpaper.

Luggage: 1 bag, 23kg.

Airport experience: Getting there from the heart of Tokyo is easy on the Narita Express train that takes an hour from Tokyo Station. Once there, I was in a small queue for check-in. There are shops and eateries on both sides of security, including flash brands like Cartier, Gucci and Hermes. Take your last chance to plunder the ubiquitous Japanese vending machines. At gate 42 there are power outlets and USB ports.

Bottom line: No drama, bringing it home, like always.

Would I fly again: Sure would, if it means I’ll get more time in Tokyo.

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