I like to get to airports early. That’s because when I was a kid, my Dad used to take me to Sydney’s Kingsford Smith airport on Sundays to watch planes land and take off (remember he was an Air Force pilot). This was in the days when you could go up on the roof to watch and plane travel was a more luxurious affair without the circus of security checks.

I’ve never missed a flight in my life, largely because of my paranoia over missing one. The only time I was ever close to missing a flight (and was practically having kittens I was so worried) was when I travelled in the United States for a technology company. I was flying American Airlines into Chicago’s O’Hare airport to get a connecting British Airways flight to London. I think I was coming from Houston – anyway, the flight was LATE and I had to dash from the domestic terminal to the international terminal. There were two reasons I didn’t want to miss this flight – I was going to the UK to spend my birthday at Stonehenge (yep, weird I know) and, even more importantly, I was flying First Class. The technology company I was doing a road show for had money and this was going to be the first time I had ever flown at the pointy-end of the plane. No way in hell was I going to miss that plane. American Airlines were fantastic and rushed me through the enormous space that is O’Hare and the British Airways flight was held-up for a few minutes whilst I was dashing. Yeah, I’m sure the toffee-nosed Brits already sitting in First Class were impressed with the delay.

Where was I? Oh yeah – so I was at Christchurch airport about 2 hours earlier than I needed to be for my flight to Wellington to Chair the conference. Given that there were ongoing aftershocks in Christchurch, this may not have been the smartest of moves. I steadied any nerves with a Chai Latte and settled in to enjoy the free WiFi.

I then mosied along to sit near the gate and became slightly worried when I saw the Air New Zealand plane on the tarmac. It had propellers. I’ve never liked flying in planes with propellers. They just give me the impression of being like flying tin cans. To my right, was a much sturdier looking jet so I started praying to the Plane Gods that it was my ride to Wellington.

Then, sauntering down the runway on its way to a nearby gate, was the sleek plane that is the all-black A320. This is a plane with attitude. I momentarily forgot about the propellers as I admired this all-black beauty with a dramatic silver fern climbing up its tail. I remember waiting at Zimbabwe’s Harare airport late at night for the Qantas flight out to Sydney. I watched with some degree of pride as the big jet made its way to the gate with the large red kangaroo on the plane’s tail lit up. I have to say I had the same feeling for this Air New Zealand jet with its stunning black livery that was especially done to show support for NZ’s All-Blacks.

On the plane to Wellington (which thankfully wasn’t the propeller thing) I read that painting the plane black was an interesting design exercise. Obviously, a black plane is harder to spot so Air NZ got around that by painting the outline of doors and windows in white.With layers of black paint there was some concern too about the plane conducting heat and they had special blacks and silvers sent out from Singapore to trial on the plane so they would get the right black and silver paint. Apparently, the aircraft cabin is decked out with black seats and mood lighting – dying to get on one of these planes. I reckon Air NZ should simply paint all its planes black and silver. Ditch the current boring teal colour that is reminiscent of the 1960s.

What was absolutely hilarious was the in-flight safety video called Crazy About Rugby – very clever. It reminds me a bit of that Betty White ad for Snickers.

I was enjoying my Chai Latte until I spotted....

an Air New Zealand plane with propellers.

Thankfully this turned out to be the plane for my 45 min flight to Welly.

The stunning All-Black plane of Air New Zealand.

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