By Daniel Rutledge
Someone at Air New Zealand’s Grabaseat thought it was a good idea to get a large group of South Island metal fans together, give them free Woodstock bourbon & colas, fire them up on loud metal and stick them on a plane.
And it was.
It was an awesome Metallica pre-party that started early and featured a number of completely outrageous moments.
They started in the departure lounge where a Metallica themed area had been set up. There was free booze and snacks, Metallica blasting loudly through an impressive temporary speaker system and a glorious array of bogans – mostly wearing Metallica t-shirts.
There were further giveaways and an air guitar competition, and all the while non-Metallica fans walked past and peered in with various looks of surprise, amusement, concern and something like panic.
I got to meet the captain and co-pilot in the departure lounge; they fitted in well and even took part in the air-guitar competition. You can see them in the picture attached to this article. I understand if you don’t believe me, but seriously, that’s them.
As we boarded the plane, it was blatantly clear who was onboard for Metallica and who was not. I felt sorry for the people that weren’t, one of whom was an elderly lady in front of me.
“Do you like heavy metal?” the cabin crew member, dressed all in black with a long-hair wig and fake tattoos, asked her.
There was a long pause before she said “yes” and nodded enthusiastically, even though the true answer would’ve clearly been “no”. What a gal!
So we took our seats as one of the flight attendants started talking over the speakers… but it was absolutely nothing like the standard flight-safety briefing.
“Right so siddown, grab a Woody and drink up, we gotta show you all that safety bullshit in a minute so pay attention. As far as the snacks go – you’ll, get what you’re given – if you don’t like it, shut up.
“If you get too intoxicated, you’ll be asked to leave…
“If you’re not a Metallica fan and you’re on this flight we apologise as things may potentially get pretty f**ked.”
I couldn’t believe my ears and I was laughing like crazy.
Things just kept getting more ridiculous.
How so? Well, the pilot did a little skid as the plane started moving. Think about that. An Air New Zealand pilot doing a skid in a plane, as drunk South Island metal heads cheer and laugh inside.
I’ve forgotten to mention that all the little TVs on the plane were playing Metallica videos with the volume loud. Brilliant.
Shortly after the plane was in the sky, they started another air guitar competition – but this one was different to the one in the departure lounge.
Firstly, the only people that were able to enter were those who won a Metallica trivia competition. The questions were “Name all four Metallica bass players”, “Name the composer of the orchestra on S&M” and a third I can’t quite remember.
Secondly, it was in the sky, on a moving plane. Which is not often a place where feral bogans are allowed to do whatever they want. But this was no normal flight.
The first bloke, Steve, was the craziest. He leapt up onto the armrests of the aisle seats and ran down them, head-banging and air-guitaring, before jumping off and doing a forward roll.
Steve scored extra points for having one of the most disgusting mullets I’ve ever seen. I sincerely hope he keeps it as-is and grows a foul little moustache to go with it.
Next up was Jason who basically flicked his impressive mop of hair all over the plane, Norwegian Viking metal band Amon Amarth style. There wasn’t much air-guitaring going on, but he did hit quite a few people’s seats pretty hard as his head flopped about. One business-looking dude on a laptop seemed highly unimpressed when his seat received a mighty wack.
Lastly, there was Wayne, a younger bloke who clearly plays guitar or bass himself and very realistically played the notes we were hearing on an invisible guitar.
Steve took out the top prize in the end – a PS3 with Guitar Hero: Metallica. Nice.
Shortly after that competition, a voice came over the speaker system, interrupting the Metallica music with a truly amazing message: “Ladies and gentlemen we have some great news – there are two passengers in the rear toilet making a Metallica baby!”
Everyone cheered again. I really, really hope some foreigners were on this plane and thought this was a normal New Zealand experience.
Later, another message came over the speakers telling us the young couple were leaving the toilet and everyone turned to see them. Were they shamefully hiding their faces and slinking back to their seats?
Nope. No shame.
They threw up the horns and cheered along with the other passengers, some of whom by this stage were particularly hammered.
As the tyres hit the tarmac in Auckland, a final cheer went through the plane.
And that was it – the most amazing flight I’ve ever been on and a great lead-up of anticipation to the Metallica concert that night.
Good on ya, Air New Zealand. Thanks heaps.
If you missed it, watch the Campbell Live story on the Metallica flight here.