Rotorua Regional Airport

Skip the TSA routine with these flying experiences

Getting to the airport, going through the security line, and waiting with a herd of other travelers to board a plane takes all the fun of out of air travel, doesn’t it? Wouldn’t you rather get right to the thrilling part – flying?

For a story that went live on Bing Travel today, I found 10 small airports and flying experiences where you get to skip the TSA routine.  Here are a few photos we didn’t get to use in Easy Flier: 10 Airports that Reduce the Hassle.

For a tiny airport, the New Bedford Regional Airport in Massachusetts offers some surprising options.

(Courtesy Greg Cormier)

The only Ben & Jerry’s ice cream vending machine at an airport is located here, along with the Airport Grille, which has a pretty snazzy logo and, we hear, great food.  Learn about the airport’s candy-blue chairs and the routes-served here.

At the Rotorua Airport in New Zealand, you can usually skip security screening if you’re flying on a regional jet with fewer than 90 passengers. So you can spend your time instead learning about the life of Rotorua-born aviatrix Jean Gardner Batten and getting your picture taken with one of the 10 6-foot tall Maori-style carvings in the terminal.

The Easy Flier slide show has more information about 10 small “no-hassle” airports and flying experiences, including the King County International Airport/Boeing Field in Seattle, the Trail Regional Airport in Trail, British Columbia, which doubles as the clubhouse of a local flying club, and the Lake Hood Seaplane Base in Anchorage, AK.

Have a favorite small “no-hassle” airport? Share details of your find here.

Meeting Aviation Pioneer Jean Batten in Rotorua, New Zealand

Rotorua  - blue gree statue

Earlier this week, my short flight from New Zealand’s Rotorua Regional Airport to Auckland was canceled, so I ended up stuck at that tiny airport for a while. Good thing.  The delay gave me a chance to look around.  In addition to finding more than a half-dozen giant statues, I was able to learn a bit about Jean Gardner Batten, a famous New Zealand aviatrix from the 1930’s who was born in Rotorua in 1909 and made a number of record-breaking solo flights across the world,  including the first direct flight from England to New Zealand

Rotorua - jane batten

( Photo: Jean Batten at Rongotai Airport, Wellington, circa 1930s, Photographic Archive, Alexander Turnbull Library).
Unfortunately, when Batten stopped flying she disappeared from public view and later became a reclusive. She died in November 1982 in Palma, Majorca after refusing treatment for a dog bite that had turned septic. She was buried anonymously in a mass grave and for five years, no one even knew she had died.

Later, it was discovered that Batten wanted to have her ashes interred at Auckland International Airport and today, that airport’s international terminal is named in her honor.   I’m going to poke around and see if I can find the spot where they’ve put her ashes.

Rotorua - Jean Batten statue

Jean Batten exhibit at Rotorua Regional Airport