By Trishna Patel

Have you ever been on a flight, looked at the passenger to your right or left and thought, “Wish I could putt some balls with this guy?” Well, now you can.

It’s not what you think. So before inappropriate minds start to wander, let me explain.

I’m referring to Air New Zealand’s 30,000ft In-Flight Putting Challenge for selected flights from Auckland to Queenstown. In celebration of the airline’s sponsorship of the NZ PGA Championship taking place March 29 to April 1st 2012, the airline is bringing in-flight entertainment to a whole new level by providing its passengers with a fun and social game of golf, down the aisles of the A320 jet.

James Gibson, the Head of Sponsorship for Air New Zealand says the purpose of the “quirky” shared experience is to garner excitement, provide some thrills and showcase the airline’s support for the fast-approaching championship held at The Hills Golf Course in Arrowtown. “We’re crazy about rugby on the outside of our planes and about golf on the inside,” he says. “We can’t wait for customers to get a slice of the PGA Championship before they even set foot on the ground.”

From March 22 through March 26, four passengers will be selected from each flight to putt a golfball down the aisle. The best “putter” wins a variety of fun golfing prizes and the overall champ chosen from all the flights gets… wait for it…. a VIP trip for two for the final day of the PGA Pro-Am Championship. The package also includes flights, hotel accommodations and a set of “custom-fitted” Callaway RAZR golf clubs (supplied by another tournament sponsor).

Not a bad upside for sitting middle row, across from the lavatory, right? Our very own Johnny Jet says the idea is brilliant. “It gets passengers to do something fun and interact with each other,” he says, as he recalls his own experience. “And of course it helps pass the time of a long flight.”

The winner (announced next Tuesday, March 27)- will join an expected 20,000 attendees-sprinkled with a few celebs and professional golfers from across the country. All the more reason to forget the mile-high club and strive for that hole-in-one.

Air New Zealand is proud to be a member of Star Alliance. The Star Alliance network was established in 1997 as the first truly global airline alliance to offer worldwide reach, recognition and seamless service to the international traveller. Its acceptance by the market has been recognised by numerous awards, including the Air Transport World Market Leadership Award and Best Airline Alliance by both Business Traveller Magazine and Skytrax. 

Air New Zealand flies daily to New Zealand from Los Angeles, San Francisco and Vancouver, visit <>  for schedules.

Trishna Patel

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