Recently flew from Melbourne to Christchurch and then a return a few days later from Christchurch to Sydney on Air New Zealand. While there are very few times these days a passenger can say air travel is a pleasure, these flights came close.
Check in was accomplished fairly quickly, with friendly and polite service from the counter agent. Boarding began later than the time stated on the boarding pass but only because, as an agent explained, it doesn't take them that long to load up an airplane! The boarding process went smoothly, mostly because most people seemed to have left their kitchen sinks at home and just brought along what was necessary for the flight--no struggles to try and cram overstuffed bags into the overhead lockers. Push back was a few minutes early, and we arrived on time on both flights.
Service from the FAs was very good, with a hot meal and drinks being served efficiently and with good humor. The in-flight entertainment system worked. Checked baggage appeared in the claims area in a very reasonable amount of time, although the bags with the priority tags were among some of the last to appear. All in all, given the state of air travel today, this was almost too good to be true; at least having the seats in economy class still being too cramped for my tall husband made us realize we had not just made all of this up!
Kudos to Air New Zealand, at least for two flights. Probably won't we travelling on them again, more's the pity, so this was a great first and last experience for us.