Many years ago my wife and I arrived at Auckland Airport for our long-awaited trip to Hong Kong, flying direct on Air New Zealand. We had planned, skimped and saved for this trip for years, having previously been to Hong Kong many years earlier, and were eagerly anticipating our flight and holiday ahead of us. Upon checking in at the Air NZ terminal counter, we were told rather gruffly to “Go to the Qantas counter!” So we hauled bags and suitcases across the terminal area to the Qantas counter, waited in a queue for what seemed forever, and then were each given an envelope with $200 NZ in it and told to “Go back to the Air NZ counter.”
Upon arriving at the Air NZ counter, a very friendly Air NZ staffer explained that there had been an unexpected and short notice strike by ground crew and catering staff (Qantas must have been the catering provider), and there would be no food and beverage service on our flight! The $200 was to compensate for the lack of food on the flight. So after checking in and passing airside, we simply purchased a few filled rolls, snacks and drinks, feeling quite smug that we had saved about $150 dollars each into the bargain. As we went down the airbridge to board the plane, we were assailed by the very strong odour of good old Kentucky Fried Chicken. Sure enough there were pallets of KFC, fruit packs, drink trays and biscuit packs, and we were simply told to “Help yourself.” So we did, and loaded up with a 6 pack each of KFC and as many drinks as we could carry.
The plane was only one-third full, so we had plenty of room to stretch out and relax. The crew made a quick trip around to explain the situation, told us where the drink trolleys were located, and that we could help ourselves to whatever we so wished!!! They then disappeared and were not seen for the rest of the flight, which bothered no one as we had unlimited drinks and all soon found that every KFC pack contained 6 breast pieces.
The flight passed without any further drama. The crew even returned from hibernation before landing with giant plastic bags to collect up all the rubbish; so kind of them. After 2 weeks in Hong Kong, as we boarded the Air NZ flight home, the CEO of Air NZ was watching as we went down the airbridge and, sure enough, some wag had to yell out, “Are we getting KFC for dinner tonight?”
When we arrived home, a neighbour called over with a newspaper cutting – there we were on the front page of the National newspaper under the heading, “Air NZ Flight has KFC for Dinner.”