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Wellington Apprehension

RailFlyer

Intern
Joined
Jul 26, 2008
Messages
68
I am scheduled to fly from AKL to WLG at 7am tomorrow morning on Jetstar. There have been a few news reports today about an incoming "big storm" with mentions of 140km/h gusts expected in Wellington area. Now as I am about to go to bed I see that AirNZ have already cancelled all their AKL-WLG flights for tomorrow morning .

So what would others do if I get to airport in the morning and Jetstar haven't decided to follow suit? Trust that the weather hasn't turned out as bad as forecast and give the rollercoaster a go, or give it a miss? My boss won't care at all if I cancel flights but I do have a customer meeting in Wellington which is fairly urgent.

Despite Jetstar normally being my preferred intra-NZ airline, last year I was on the opposite end of this situation, when flying AirNZ AKL-WLG. I was waiting at the airport as all AirNZ flights before mine from AKL-WLG were cancelled due to weather there, but mine kept getting pushed back. In the end mine was the first one not to be cancelled (about 4 hours late). We got on the plane and then the captain announced that we couldn't leave as Wellington airport had been struck by lightning and the runway lights had gone out and they had to call a technician in to reset them (it was about 9pm at this stage!). 30mins later the Captain came into the cabin to say it had been fixed and they were planning to go. He then asked if anybody would prefer to get off before we left... not something I have ever experienced before or after! I would have jumped at the chance to get off, but as luck would have it I was seated next to an important customer (purely by chance) who was offloading heaps of useful info, so it seemed rude to chicken out. When we got down to Wellington the Captain announced that there was a storm cell over the runway so we circled for about 15mins (through what felt like another storm cell!) then we finally made an approach. Quite near the ground the plane dropped suddenly and the Captain executed a go-around and then headed straight back to Auckland as had no fuel left for another attempt. Why do I tell this... well during the whole afternoon on FlightRadar I watched as all the Jetstar flights between AKL and WLG completed their trips on schedule with no missed approaches etc.

Can two airlines operating domestically in the same 1st world country really have such different go/no-go standards? And should I be worried?

Maybe this should be in the Ask the Pilots Thread?
 
Last edited:

Cessna 180

Member
Joined
Feb 11, 2013
Messages
251
TAF has northerlies 35 gusting 60 knots at your arrival time. Could be a bit bumpy.

Just remember the pilots want a safe flight more than you do so they won’t take anything on that is not safe.
 

RailFlyer

Intern
Joined
Jul 26, 2008
Messages
68
An update. Just landed in Wellington. A bit of a 7/10 rollercoaster (10/10 being worse I have experienced coming in to land - at Bilbao) but final 30s was pretty smooth as is often the case in Wellington. All AirNZ flights to/from WLG remain grounded. No PA from from Captain until after decent commenced and his only comment about the weather was "I'm sure you've all read about the winds in Wellington today".... not sure where that rates on the normal "we expect a smooth flight" to "there is a x knot wind at [destination airport] so expect a few bumps" scale of PA's!?

Thunderstorms forecast for Auckland this afternoon, so might be fun on the way back too (AirNZ).
 
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RailFlyer

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Joined
Jul 26, 2008
Messages
68
So sat in AirNZ A320 about to leave WLG. Captain just gave PA to inform that they will be doing a full power take off so they can "punch through turbulence" on way out. That's another PA first for me!
 

jb747

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You use full power in reported wind shear. Getting you out of it sooner might be part of the reason, but it also means the aircraft's performance will be much more resilient if you run into an airspeed loss due to shear.

Perhaps counter intuitive, but Wellington is almost always windy, so you expect that. It's also short, so the wind helps. It's more 'interesting' on those few days when it's wet and calm, or even worse, has a slight downwind at both ends.
 

RailFlyer

Intern
Joined
Jul 26, 2008
Messages
68
Made it home. As predicted by the pilot it was a very smooth flight after first few minutes. I took a video.

Coming in this morning was a lot more sporty but didn't video that.
 

suze2000

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Oct 30, 2011
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I'd swear that VA did that once on a flight I was on coming out of MEL. The plane fairly leapt off the ground and we were above the clouds in seconds. The pilot mentioned something about it in his PA announcement, but TBH I anticipated a terrifying takeoff, so I was a little drunk before we boarded. :D
 

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