I’ve been up in Auckland this week having fun working with centralised authentication solutions for customers – after extinguishing my sanity, I returned to Wellington, by means of one of the new AirNZ A320 domestic jets.
I managed to score a fantastically clear day and a window seat and got to enjoy a view of the entire country, which is pretty rare – I don’t recall a time I’ve had a clear view the entire way before….. I also managed to time the flight just right for wine and cheese, so all and all, much more win that my Monday flight which involved me sleeping past departure time and having to buy a new ticket. :-/
I’ve flown on older Airbus A320s to/from AU, but this new model feels quite a bit more spacious with shiny new interior and much quieter engines.
They also appear to handle a fair bit differently, during take off I was surprised at what speed we lifted up at – it didn’t feel as fast as the older planes tended to go, although this could also partially be due to the fact that the engines don’t make as much noise getting the plane moving.
The way AirNZ is flying them is interesting as well – we climbed rapidly at the start, cruised for a while, but on the descent, we tended to descend in short bursts of large drops which were somewhat noticeable – apparently from talking to a couple plane geeks this is something to do with the efficiency options of the engine so this method of flying is intentional.
On the plus side, the quietness of the engines makes for a nicer flight, I suspect they will be great for the trans-tasman trips, but they do make a few more weird aircraft sounds that you otherwise wouldn’t hear more noticeable.
I tended to find the plane shudders a bit more that what I’m used to, particularly during decent which might be a little unnerving to infrequent flyers, but nothing too alarming.
Overall I think they’re an improvement and the leg room did feel a bit better, but they just have a few interesting quirks. I noted that @ajobbins also had a similar experience, although he got to try out the new in air cellphone service which is only in one plane ATM.