Flying like a Conchord

Dryers are free in the USA

On my 12-hour flight to San Francisco, Air New Zealand offered a plethora of inflight entertainment including a grumpy hostess, movies, music and computer games.

I’m one of those people who feels overwhelmed by too many choices when visiting a record store or bookshop. The Air NZ inflight entertainment system made me feel the same way. It didn’t help that the navigation system was clunky – this made the experience of browsing the titles slow. They did offer the ability to sort content by content type (movie, music, audiobook etc) and genre (comedy, drama, arthouse etc) but that was it.

What I really wanted to know was what other people on the plane were watching. I took a nosey at the person beside me and in front. Interestingly they were all watching the same movie – the one with that doctor from Grays Anatomy. Incase you’re interested I ended up watching Flight of the Conchords.

It made me think : When will social networking come to the airline industry? What if I could see the ratings of movies from previous travellers? What if I could see how many were watching ‘movie x’ right now? What if I could play Mario against the person in seat 36F?

My 12 hours could have been a lot more entertaining.

So despite my unusual name (or perhaps because of it) customs let me into the USA no problemo and even commented on the sandflies in Fiordland. I had to agree that they were a key reason NZ remains a sparsely populated backwater

San Francisco on the other hand is teeming with people (and no sandflies in sight).

My first cafe experience in the Latin quarter became pure entertainment when the waiter asked my name then asked if I was Bret from the Conchords. I don’t know how “Zef” can sound like “Bret” – obviously to some Americans it does. So he obviously picked my accent as “Kiwi”. I soon noticed they changed the music to The Black Seeds, and later, didn’t charge me for the espresso (Kiwi translation – in the US this is like a single-shot short black).

So, it looks like The Flight of Conchords have done for 30-something roughly-shaven Kiwis what Lord of the Rings did for tourism.

Thanks Bret, I owe you a short-black.

Backstage in San Francisco
Backstage in San Francisco