Video: Onboard Air New Zealand's 'party gras' flight to 2020 Sydney Mardi Gras

Some Aussies say there are already too many Kiwis in their country, but on Mardi Gras weekend, an entire planeload of New Zealanders landed in Sydney to take part in one of Australia's largest events.

After an absence of nine years, Air New Zealand has gloriously put the queer back in the air, operating a 'Party Gras' flight to the 2020 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Festival on February 28.

Nearly 200 Kiwis headed to Australia for Sydney Mardi Gras.
Nearly 200 Kiwis headed to Australia for Sydney Mardi Gras. Photo credit: Newshub.

Before the aircraft had even left the ground, those who had booked a seat were entertained by iconic drag artists Buckwheat and Tess Tickle in the departure lounge. 

The duo took charge onboard the flight too as the Airbus A321 sashayed its way to Sydney. They were joined by inflight service manager Liam Connolly, who was more stand-up comedian than cabin crew on this particular service.

"The pilots are just updating their paperwork because you bitches are heavy," he told passengers over the PA.

The safety briefing was old-fashioned in that it was done by the crew rather than playing a video, but it's script was anything but traditional.

"I got you gurl."
"I got you gurl." Photo credit: Newshub

"Make sure you fit your own mask before helping the queen next to you," Liam announced.

"I got you gurl," a passenger replied.

"If I come through the cabin and your phone isn't on flight mode, there will be consequences," Liam added. 

Reading out passengers' Grindr conversations could have made for a suitable punishment.

With pre-flight drinks proving a hit, the crew served up more entertainment than champagne, including bingo (or 'bing-gay') with the winner taking home a free holiday to any of the Pacific Islands.

"The pilots are just updating their paperwork because you bitches are heavy," Liam Connolly told passengers over the PA.
"The pilots are just updating their paperwork because you bitches are heavy," Liam Connolly told passengers over the PA. Photo credit: Newshub

People had travelled from all over Aotearoa to make the flight with people from the West Coast of the South Island, Christchurch and Hastings. The entire row in front of me had come from Hastings, and in typical Kiwi fashion they lived about two minutes walk from where I grew up.

As is often the case, the flight had to circle Sydney for a while before finally landing. The light from the sunset gave the city a golden glow, and had first-time visitors mesmerised. 

For some, touchdown in Sydney marked the beginning of a weekend-long party, while for others the flight itself was the main event.

The return of Air NZ's Party Gras flight, previously known as the 'Pink Flight', may have been a test-run for future services. I'm sure I speak for everyone onboard in hoping for its bigger and better return in 2021.

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