Sitting in the aisle seat aboard flight NZ126 to Auckland, New Zealand I realised I was happy. Or maybe I mistook 'happy' with 'slightly intoxicated' due to the two extra large glasses of sauvignon blanc I had at Cafe Vue before boarding.
Whatever the reason, I was in a place where I was happy enough I could even watch and at times even enjoy, watching Paul McCartney perform on Later with Jools Holland on the small inflight entertainment system. Yes, I was in that good a mood.
I always arrive early at airports where at all possible and today had been no exception. Checking in and processing through customs had been smooth enough - seems not many people were departing Melbourne on an early evening, mid-week flight so I had plenty of time to stop and experience Cafe Vue before boarding my plane.
Cafe Vue is an up-market airport cafe selling top-end takeaway food boxes designed to take on planes. With Air New Zealand's new fare structure had come a drop in quality of their on-board meal service - so I've stopped paying for it. The last few flights I've just shoved a few muesli bars into my bag, but now, with Cafe Vue's meal boxes, I can enjoy a far superior meal to my fellow passengers for the same price as I'd pay for the meal upgrade on the flight.
And it's sensationally presented; really delicious and plenty of food. For 2 course/$30 I received a gorgeous box with duck terrine, chicken breast on broadbeans, with a dijon mustard potato salad and a syrupy rum baba to finish off. The box also included a bottle of juice to wash everything down with. While the menu is set (for the week?) I did get to decide which of the delectable desserts on offer, and whichever beverage I preferred.
Recall the last meal you had on a plane - it was probably okay, but would you really pay $30 for it? I sure wouldn't. I'd rather take the discount on my fare and bring my own Cafe Vue food box on board.
Of course you can eat at Cafe Vue before boarding the plane too, their menu is interesting and so far from airport fare I'm sure airlines are going to start kicking up a stink when they notice they've got left over meals when they land at their destination.