Review of Air New Zealand flight Melbourne Auckland in Business

Airline Air New Zealand
Flight NZ124
Class Business
Seat 1A
Aircraft Boeing 777-300ER
Flight time 2:30
Take-off 24 Aug 16, 12:30
Arrival at 24 Aug 16, 17:00
NZ   #18 out of 106 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 57 reviews
Rewardflying
By 1431
Published on 7th October 2016
photo nz124 cover

I've always wanted to fly on Air New Zealand. This desire goes back years when I'd see NZ 1 at LAX on it's way back from London. Those days it was a 747. Today the 747 is long gone replaced by a 777. More recently Air New Zealand has stabled the new 787-9. Could it be this photo that heightened my interest even more?

photo air new zealand plane

With only 3 gateway cities in North America; Houston, San Francisco and Los Angeles combined with stingy reward inventory, the task seemed hopeless. So I jumped at the chance to try out their business class product on both the 777-300 and new 787-9 down under on some regional flights across the Tasman sea. Were expectations fulfilled or was I in for a let down?

Arriving from an overnight flight my first order of business was to take a shower. The Air New Zealand lounge is being refurbished so the facilities were certainly not what they will become. Checking into the club there is a single shower room, with a shower and sink but no toilet. The only amenities were shampoo, conditioner, body wash, shaving cream but no razors and a couple towels.

I've experienced more lavish facilities.
photo nz124 lounge 1photo nz124 lounge 2

Feeling new and after the disappointing SQ breakfast it was time for some food. A look at the "lounge".

photo nz124 lounge 8

It's being remodeled, they get a pass.

Some fruit, muesli or maybe a blueberry smoothie?
photo nz124 lounge 3

Or some seeds, nuts and jam to go with your yogurt.
photo nz124 lounge 5

Don't be greedy with the pasties now.
photo nz124 lounge 6

Ok, the chef is on duty.
photo nz124 lounge 7

The wi-fi worked in the lounge so all is well. I used the time to call United to complain about the new security questions and the fact I'd been locked out of my account while traveling overseas on their ticket.

Time to board. Apparently they were expecting a crowd.
photo nz124 borading gate

Gorgeous plane.
photo nz124 plane 1

Yes it is a gorgeous cabin too. But this is the high mark and things deteriorate somewhat from here. Let's have a look.
photo nz124 cabin 1
(Purple/Lilac is their accent color, FA's wear it too.)

The original herringbone design introduced by Virgin Atlantic, whom NZ licenses these seats from.
photo nz124 cabin 3

The 777 is configured 1x2x1 for zero privacy from any seat.
photo nz124 cabin 2

A painted chandelier on the lavatory wall.
photo nz124 cabin 7

While seating might be squeezed together no such problem in the front galley. Party anyone?
photo nz124 cabin 6

Seat 1A. If you are a window gazer you might want to visit the chiropractor to get loosened up before you board.
photo nz124 seat 1

The seat itself is actually comfortable. The problem is you are, well in a coffin. Could that be why they call this the "coffin class"? Hmm.
photo nz124 cabin 5

This is your ottoman for those tiny feet of yours. There is a storage area underneath for something, well, small.
photo nz124 seat 2

In 1A on your left side is the drink tray which is not accessible using the left arm.

When the word turbulence comes to mind, what do you envision?
photo nz124 seat 3

Also by deftly using your right arm you can drink from the supplied bottle of water, plug in your headphones, pop out the audio controller or release the tray.
photo nz124 seat 4

Somewhere down there they managed to put the electronics in as well.
photo nz124 seat 5

As you can see by some of these photos the materials used to make these pods are anything but high quality. There were lots of chips, scratches and abrasions on the pods.

After all the wisecracks and quips the seat itself is comfortable for a few hour flight. Yes it's confined but for sitting comfort it was good. The problem is you get to watch the person across the aisle.

Out of respect for the person sitting there I took this photo when he got up. This is your view.
photo nz124 cabin 4

And if you want to sit in that front seat so you are stared at but not staring yourself, you get to deal with your feet being in the aisle where flight attendants constantly enter into the cabin. The ottoman is almost halfway into the aisle. (Amazed the safety regulators allowed this.)
photo nz124 cabin 8

One of the highlights on this trip was the flight attendant who took care of me. His name was Paul and he was a delight to be around. Friendly, conversational and attentive, he was great.

I asked him if I could see what the bed looks like. These seats must be flipped over to turn them into a bed. He agreed and was about to show me when the seat belt sign came on as we hit some turbulence. No worries, the champagne was long gone.

The seat belt sign didn't go off until initial descent and of course by then he was busy. When we landed he came to my seat and asked if I wanted to wait, he'd show me the seat once the passengers exited. I call that above and beyond.

The Air New Zealand bed is very nice. First of all it doesn't have the lump in the middle of your back that most fold down seats have. It's a smooth surface with the fold up where your neck is. When in bed mode there is plenty of room for your head and arms. On overnight flights they provide a mattress and duvet along with these pillows.
photo nz124 seat bed 1photo nz124 seat bed 2

Paul, the flight attendant, was enthusiastic over these beds, calling them "game changers" for Air New Zealand. He said customer response has been excellent and while I take him for his word given the chance it's doubtful he would speak negatively about them. I laid down on it, it was comfortable even without the mattress pad.

So while I thought I'd be able to make a full judgement on Air New Zealand, that's not possible until taking a long flight where you can try out the bed. But not on a 777! (Virgin Atlantic, Cathay Pacific A340s, some Air Canada A330s, and a few other airlines have this type of seats as well.)

As a regional 3 hour day time flight there was no amenity kit provide or expected.

photo nz124 menu 1

Champagne was offered, and accepted, upon boarding. The brand offered was Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve, the same offered by Singapore Airlines.

photo nz124 menu 5

Wanting to try a local wine I selected a Waiheke Island blend which was recommended by one of the crew. It must be popular in New Zealand as it was available at the hotel, for good reason. (Notice my view of 1B.)

photo nz124 wine 1

The food menu inspired by a gourmet donut chef.
photo nz124 menu 2photo nz124 menu 3

Notice the beef selection has a "rocket and almond pesto" while the hapuka (fish) has "tomato mango chilli ketchup" for their respective sauces.

While the seating compartment may be small, when you pull out the serving table it is anything but small.
photo nz124 food 1

The obligatory bowl of nuts to begin.
photo nz124 wine 2

I chose the tea smoked duck breast to start and it was quite good.
photo nz124 food 2

For the main I choose the beef short rib and it was delicious, even tho….
photo nz124 food 4

In a festive mood, or nearly delirious after 24 hours of travel I chose to have some cheese.
photo nz124 food 7

Only to finish a very nice meal with the chocolate mousse, not knowing what Anzac cookies are. (Australian/New Zealand cookies. Tried one in New Zealand, crunchy without a distinct flavor, pretty good.)
photo nz124 food 6

Compliments to the donut chef and Paul. (Paul to follow.)

As you can see in some of the food photos my iPad was active. This is not a coincidence.

Let's start out with the safety video. In an effort to make these mundane announcements more entertaining, some airlines have tried to inject humor. In my opinion Air New Zealand has failed unless you like, how do I say, corny?

photo nz124 ife 5

The Air New Zealand " Safety in Hollywood " video.
vs.
United Airlines " Global II " safety video.

This is a touch screen monitor, with the same arm restrictions as your beverage.
photo nz124 ife4

Nice monitor isn't it. I bleed sarcasm sometimes.

My headphones remained in the plastic wrap. (But the tray is huge!)
photo nz124 ife 2

As mentioned, Paul and the rest of the crew were outstanding and made this flight special.

Did you notice anything about the short rib meal I ordered? Something maybe doesn't look right?
photo nz124 food 3

While standing in the oversized galley waiting for the lavatory, I observed Paul making a meal for someone who must have requested a later serving or maybe a crew member. He was preparing the beef dish I had and was placing the tomato mango chilli ketchup sauce on it. Another flight attendant was in the galley as well. She stopped him and told him he was putting the wrong sauce on the dish. Turns out he had served the whole cabin the wrong sauce!

We laughed, at least Paul and I did. The other attendant wasn't amused. But what goes better with beef, ketchup or pesto? And what goes better with fish, ketchup or pesto? I think Paul got it right and the donut guy should stick to sugar.

Air New Zealand 777 #ZK-OKM was delivered in 2007. It was clean and of course 777's are outstanding aircraft but the interiors on this plane were starting to show some wear and tear.
photo nz124 plane 2photo nz124 flight path


Reward Flying full report
See more

Verdict

Air New Zealand

6.5/10
Cabin7.0
Cabin crew9.0
Entertainment3.0
meal/catering7.0

Air New Zealand Koru Lounge - Star Alliance Gold

4.3/10
Comfort4.0
meal/catering4.0
Entertainment4.0
Services5.0

Melbourne - MEL

6.8/10
Efficiency7.0
Access5.0
Services7.0
Cleanliness8.0

Auckland - AKL

5.5/10
Efficiency6.0
Access5.0
Services5.0
Cleanliness6.0

Conclusion

This flight was full of great and not so great impressions. The cabin is beautiful. The food was excellent. The crew was over the top nice. The seats are confined. The IFE is terrible. But I'd be flying them again in a few days, this time on their 787.

Related

4 Comments

  • Comment 369705 by
    K2World 1166 Comments

    Thank your for this report
    A pretty good flight overall
    NZ is also flying to YVR

      0
  • Comment 369833 by
    757Fan 310 Comments

    It looks like you had a good flight with Air New Zealand! The food looks tasty, but I'd agree that the seats look very narrow, and quite cramped.

    Thank you for sharing!

      0
  • Comment 370203 by
    KévinDC TEAM 3931 Comments

    Always nice to have a widebody with long-haul business class product on the relatively short trans-Tasman flights. NZ is really inconsistent with the aircraft and products flying across the Tasman sea--some routes are flying with narrowbodies that have no Business class and all, and other have a mix of widebodies with real Business class alongside narrowbodies. NZ's 77W Business class cabin looks good, as you mention, but the outward facing traditional herringbone configuration is really outdated in 2016. Completely agree with you that these types of seats are confined as they are coffin-like with the walls so close in on either side, while at the same time not offering as high a level of privacy as reverse herringbone since you are facing the aisle. Overall, I think NZ is a great little airline, but they really need to introduce a new flagship Business class product.

    Thanks for sharing!

      0
    • Comment 370272 by
      Rewardflying AUTHOR 134 Comments

      Hi KevinDC, thanks for reading. I wondered myself why most flights between the two countries are on smaller aircraft. QF only flies 737's. But it appears NZ is committed. The schedule shows 3 or 4 daily 777 or 787 flights. I've booked myself on another one next year.

      My guess is chances are slim on a different business class seat, although I agree with you 100%. When they pull out the really nice economy plus seats for the not so really nice economy plus seats it gives an indication of their thinking. One good thing about this experience for me is now I'm not in a hurry to fly Virgin Atlantic upper class. Thanks again, 787 flight posted.

        0

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