Browsing Tag: Air New Zealand

Start 'em early! Author's son planespotting at SFO. Photo: David Delagarza

Start ’em early! Author’s son planespotting at SFO. Photo: David Delagarza

’œThat’s insane.’  That seemed to be the reaction most people, many of whom were seasoned fliers, had to our plan.  My wife and I had schemed it up over a year ago while she was pregnant with our first child.  We had always enjoyed traveling, and I had gotten into collecting miles and points when we found out that we would be adding a baby to the mix.  We didn’t want to stop traveling once the baby was born, so we booked one of the most ambitious itineraries we could think of – flying to New Zealand, with stopovers in Japan and Australia. And, yes, we would be taking the baby with us.

11 months prior to the trip, we had the miles saved up. We had accumulated enough to book the trip in business class (at least prior to the recent United Airlines MileagePlus devaluation.)  After diligently researching and waiting for availability to open up, I finally found a business class route that would work – at least until I saw the infant fare. United charges 10% of the cabin fare for lap infants on international flights.  For economy cabins, this can add up to a couple hundred dollars.  However, for the premium cabins, we were looking at paying nearly $1,000 each way.  Although I did briefly consider footing that bill, we decided to go in economy and use the extra miles to put our son in his own seat (when we could find the award space) and stay in some nicer hotels along the way.

Routing - Image: GCMapper

Routing – Image: www.gcmap.com

Our outbound itinerary ended up beginning with Denver to Tokyo Narita on United’s 787 Dreamliner.  We had a 20-hour overnight stopover before continuing onto Singapore aboard Singapore Airlines’ A380.  The final leg took us from Singapore to Christchurch, New Zealand on Singapore’s 777-220ER.   50 hours, four countries, and 14,000 miles just to get there.

Our return trip was a bit easier – Christchurch to Sydney on an Air New Zealand A320, followed by a 23-hour stopover in Sydney before continuing onto San Francisco on a United 747-400, connecting to Denver on a United A319.  The only hitch was that I was unable to find any kind of routing that made sense for the return trip once my son was born, so he was going to fly home as a lap infant.  It was sure to be quite the adventure.

ZK-NZE on the Boeing compass rose at KPAE - Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter

ZK-NZE on the Boeing compass rose at KPAE – Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter

What beats a photograph on the ground of Air New Zealand’s first Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner in “All Blacks” style livery? One from the air, when it is not pouring rain.

The first ANZ 787-9 was rolled out of the paint hangar to a dark and rainy night, making it a bit difficult to see. This morning provides a bit better opportunity to highlight this unique black livery design — especially when viewed from a helicopter.

“It’s great to see the Koru and the beautiful New Zealand fern emblazoned on this aircraft.  This will soon be the first 787-9 aircraft anywhere in the world to operate commercially and I think it will instill a sense of pride in Kiwis and turn heads when it touches down at airports throughout Asia and the Pacific,” said Capt. David Morgan, Air New Zealand Chief Flight Operations and Safety Officer.

Their first 787-9 to be delivered will sport this black design, while the white version of this same design has already started to be incorporated into the fleet.

 

Air New Zealand's first 787-9 rolling out of the paint hangar. Photo - Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter.com

Air New Zealand’s first 787-9 rolling out of the paint hangar. Photo – Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter.com

Unsurprisingly, given the time (9:00pm) at Paine Field, it was dark. Even with that, and the incipient precipitation- there was good reason to be on the Boeing Commercial aircraft ramp.

ZK-NZE under tow from the paint shop. Photo - Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter.com

ZK-NZE under tow from the paint shop. Photo – Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter.com

Boeing had chosen 9:00pm to roll Air New Zealand’s first 787-9 (ZK-NZE) out of their paint shop – and invited AirlineReporter along!