We might get critical over the upcoming uniforms, but the service on Air New Zealand that I experienced was very good. The staff was brilliant (deserving of whatever award was given to them), and the personal screens remain a lifesaver for in-air boredom. (I was surprised that Lufthansa, an airline I used to enjoy ﬂying, still has not caught up with what must be seven- or eight-year-old technology on any of the aircraft I ﬂew.) Thank goodness, too, that we international travellers did not have to put up with the ghastly nude safety video (which is mostly distracting and not at all helpful).
But it was not without problems. On the Auckland–Hong Kong leg, I had to ponder the following:
• why were the announcements in English and Mandarin, when most Cantonese-speaking Hong Kong people do not understand Mandarin? (How different are Mandarin and Cantonese? Ask yourself: how different are Danish and Italian? Same idea.) On a ﬂight in 2008, I speciﬁcally had to ask the Air New Zealand ﬂight crew to do announcements in the correct dialect for the destination. I managed to get two out of them before they reverted back to Mandarin. (Compare this to Lufthansa, which provided English, German and Cantonese on the Hong Kong–Frankfurt ﬂight.) Now, if I were ﬂying to Beijing or Taipei, I would get the fact that Mandarin was spoken. But to Hong Kong, where you might get stuck-up, proud southerners like me? I remain puzzled, because I have now taken enough ﬂights to know the 2008 experience was not anomalous;
• why did the subtitles on the safety video switch from Chinese to Japanese three-quarters of the way through? (Let’s not even bring up the war on this one);
• why was a Korean ﬁlm labelled as ‘Chinese’ in the menu, when it clearly was not? Apart from the actors’ names, the credits were clearly in Korean script. Unless Air New Zealand believes ‘Asia’ is one place. (On a related note, I am told that it is impossible to search for ﬂights to New Delhi via the Air New Zealand website: India is not considered an important enough nation.)
There are enough travellers going between the two countries for this to be very important to Air New Zealand.
I’ll write to the airline today. I reckon the above needs addressing.