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Improvements in In-Flight Entertainment

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Jan. 5th, 2007 | 10:52 am
location: Auckland, NZ

I love Air New Zealand. I mean this very seriously. The staff is friendly, the food is ... well, unlike most airline food, at least it resembles food, they serve very yummy New Zealand wines, and they have the most incredible in-flight entertainment system I've ever seen.

I do not say this lightly, having been on flights with in-flight entertainment ranging from the practically nonexistant (one airline showed the same terrible movie a few times over and insisted that I was not allowed to use my CD player, even though it didn't have anything resembling radio transmission capabilities and was approved by all of the relevant aviation groups) to the pretty fancy and impressive (DirectTV on JetBlue or the new system on some Delta planes, which, for coast-to-coast domestic flights includes a few albums, a few movies and 4 or 5 games, all of which can be controlled from your seat, and none of which are terribly impressive or up-to-date). On this flight, we had our choice of probably 30 or more movies, more albums than I bothered to count (which you could listen to in full or pick and choose select songs to add to a personal "playlist" that would be saved by the system for the duration of the flight), several television shows, destination advertisement/informational videos and a number of games. Between watching two films (Little Miss Sunshine which was bizarre and funny and cute and which I had been meaning to see since I saw a preview for it last May; and The Illusionist which was cinematographically beautiful and dramatic and had a series of truly delightful plot tricks and also bizarre), and having dinner and breakfast and sleeping some, the 13 hours we spent in flight passed quickly. And the books that I'd intended to read remained neatly tucked in my backpack.

We arrived in Auckland to meet the most talkative customs officers I have ever seen, people who are eager to welcome you to their country and tell you all about it. "Oh, it's your first time here? You must visit _______." After which they proceed to list off a long list of things to see and do that leave you longing to return, knowing that howevermuch you can see and do in this one trip, it probably won't be enough.

I had to declare my hiking boots as part of a 'potential biosecurity hazard' which meant a manual search of my luggage. Since the woman inspecting them found a bit of spider web on one sole, they were whisked off, dipped in antiviral solution and returned with a smile. I've never seen such friendly people working in airports. It's nice.

Now, planning to catch maybe an hour or so of sleep before I'm off on my first adventure, a canyoning trip down Blue Canyon in the Waitekare Rainforest.

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from: lillianz
date: Jan. 8th, 2007 03:30 am (UTC)

hi for some reason that escapes me you are on my friends list and I just read your entry and I have to say:
Welcome to New Zealand.
Wow, from California aye? you'll prolly find our mexican cuisine here terrible but otherwise lots of seafood and asian cuisine for offer. Don't forgot to try some kiwifruit (although actually originate from China), pavlova, pies, L&P, ANZAC biscuits, Afghan biscuits, HokeyPokey (ice cream or in Crunchie cholocate bar), marmite or vegemites (which I personally hate...)
I'm just starting a PhD this year in biomedical sciences at University of Auckland.
Hope you enjoy your trip and don't forget to post what you like about here. I have a friend visiting here for the firsttime in 2 weeks time so I have to plan something exciting and unique for her.
About the airline, I quite like Emirates Airline and Qantas too. Although I think the entertainment you get on board is largely depends on the aircraft. Obviously older and/or smaller ones won't have individual screens, and whether you get a small airplane would depend on how many other people is travelling too, or how long the flight is and how many people is travelling in first/business class, etc

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