Review of Air New Zealand flight Auckland Sydney in Business

Airline Air New Zealand
Flight NZ119
Class Business
Seat 6A
Aircraft Boeing 787-9
Flight time 04:30
Take-off 27 Aug 16, 13:00
Arrival at 27 Aug 16, 15:30
NZ 85 reviews
Published on 14th October 2016
photo nz119 cover 2

Yes I was hoping for the first Air New Zealand all black 787, but if not getting that plane was my biggest disappointment then this was a great flight. Besides, you can't see the outside of the plane from the inside!

The stars aligned on this. Being way down in the southern hemisphere because of a desire to fly the Thai A350, which never happened, I needed to make a return to Singapore to continue with the original plan. Luckily I found a SQ flight back for 30,000 points. (I posted the ticket on my website as there are non-believers I got this reward using *A points.) Because my return to the states went through Europe I couldn't add it on to my existing ticket. But 30,000 points for an 8 hours flight is a great deal anyway. While doing some searches this AKL-SYD flight came up. Wow, I've been wanting to fly the NZ 787, here was my chance.

Except I was in Melbourne and the 787 left from Auckland, going to Sydney. Sydney sounds like fun to see. And the availability gods had; SQ 777 SYD-SIN, right date, right time, stars are looking good. You've read the MEL-ALK review so no surprise. My visit was to Auckland (it's recommended) instead of Melbourne and an overnight stay in Sydney, enough to have dinner on the Circular Quay. It's a plan. Melbourne can wait!

While the stars aligned for the flights, I wasn't so fortunate with the weather. Having told it had been beautiful lately in Auckland (it's winter there), those 100+MPH tailwinds that whisked me here from Melbourne brought lots of rain with them. It rained the whole time in Auckland, but was still worth the trip as it's beautiful.

photo nz119 auckland skyline-1

I arrived at the International Terminal via bus from downtown. No train service in Auckland. The domestic terminal is a shuttle bus ride away if you are connecting. And the rain had passed just in time to leave.

photo nz119 airport 2

Almost no agents, all kiosks.

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Kiosk monitors much bigger than J monitors.

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Slide your passport in and viola! Weigh your carry-on, no cheating allowed and off to immigration/security where there was no line.

photo nz119 boarding pass 1

Inside typical shops. Who buys all this stuff?

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Some familiar faces.

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And the ride to Sydney.

A 787 haven.

photo nz119 plane 1

Except for the behemoth that dwarfs the airport.

photo nz119 other planes 6

Sorry, can't resist showing more of Air New Zealand's aircraft.
photo nz119 other planes 1

The international Air New Zealand lounge is a beautiful facility. Large by any standards, with multiple rooms of various decor, has a large selection of food, full bar with bartender and barista along with shower rooms off to the side.

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A room almost like a sun porch where you could view the runway, great for plane watching.

photo nz119 lounge 1

My spot.

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My time in the lounge was between breakfast and lunch. They were breaking down a breakfast station. Probably some made to order items were available. Plenty of food was available as it seems those Kiwi's are a hungry lot.

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The famous Anzac cookie, a chocolate version!

photo nz119 lounge 4

Lemon slices, so good.
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Side bar for beverages.
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Time to go. Off to the gate which was in a single level concourse. International passengers are confined to a glass enclosed exit to immigration. AKL is showing its age.

photo nz119 airport 8

The 787's are configure 1x1x1 with the middle seat pointing to the right side making seat selection undeniable.
photo nz119 seatguru

Solo travelers take an A seat, window left side. No staring at someone. Couples take the middle and right side window. You can chat across the aisle, and look at the person in front of you unless you snag row 1, where row 2 will stare at you.

photo nz119 cabin 1photo nz119 cabin 2photo nz119 cabin 3

The cabin has six rows. I chose the back seat and would definitely take it again. (In fact I have.)
photo nz119 cabin 4

Large 787 overhead bins. Row A seats get extra storage with bins on both sides. Too bad they weigh your carry-on.
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Small 787 lavatory, not particular well stocked.

photo nz119 cabin lav 1

Triple 7 flight attendants get claustrophobic in the galley.
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A peak in the cockpit. I asked if I could see it and was granted the wish, after the flight. Decided to pass and get to Sydney. A regrettable decision.
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Three of 5 window settings. 1 clear, 3 medium and 5 dark, almost.
photo nz119 window 3photo nz119 window 4photo nz119 window 5

If only the seat was as great as it looks.
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Perspective on the ottoman size. Compared to some cubby holes it's open and roomy, just in the aisle.
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Employed as storage, oops, not allowed on takeoff.
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No champagne for me today.
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Today's menu.
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A nice presentation. Salt and pepper anyone?

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I chose the prawns to start. These aren't prawns! There are missing the single defining word that separates them from shrimp. LARGE. Actually the prawn in Australia is a shrimp in the USA. Apologies. Maybe these are USA shrimp?

photo nz119 food 2

Fish is always a preparation risk on a plane, well most things are, but they did a masterful job. And the sauce was right. It was a sizeable portion and delicious.

photo nz119 food 5

Finished off with Tiramisu and very impressed with Air New Zealand catering. They aren't DO&CO, but pretty good.

photo nz119 food 7

The monitors didn't get bigger in the few days I was in Auckland.
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Air Show, with destination information for various cities. This airshow was better than the 777 airshow as it provided more information. The screen is interactive as you can resize like on an iPhone.

photo nz119 ife 2photo nz119 ife 3

Lots of content if one is not enjoying the view or the food.

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I had another great flight crew. Every flight attendant (on both NZ flights) introduced themselves by name at the beginning of the flight. New Zealanders are a very friendly people.

A parting treat.

photo nz119 candy

Air New Zealand's 787 was a joy to ride in. Quite and comfortable my only complaint was the flight was too short.



photo nz119 cabin 9

Turn it up!

photo nz119 cabin 10

Notice the crew rest area above the front two middle row seats. Don't expect to use those luggage bins.

We approached Sydney from the east then made a turn back to the airport. Once out of a thin cloud cover the views of Sydney were spectacular.

Downtown Sydney and Opera House.

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Sydney Harbour Bridge

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Making the turn.

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Dinner will be down there.

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Downtown Sydney.

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Sydney Tower.

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I'll be back.
photo nz119 sydney 11photo nz119 flight path

For a full review and ratings see
See more


Air New Zealand

Cabin crew8.0

Air New Zealand International Business Class Koru Club Lounge


Auckland - AKL


Sydney - SYD



I thoroughly enjoyed my two flights on Air New Zealand and hope to revisit their skies some time soon. That said, it will be on the 787 and not the 777.

Information on the route Auckland (AKL) Sydney (SYD)

The contributors of Flight-Report published 14 reviews of 5 airlines on the route Auckland (AKL) → Sydney (SYD).


The airline with the best average rating is Emirates with 8.4/10.

The average flight time is 3 hours and 34 minutes.

  More information


If you liked this review or if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to post a comment below !
  • Comment 370279 by
    Razza_Pr 216 Comments

    Thank you, rewardflying for a once again entertaining FR!

    Is that paper boarding pass I see? I'm a tad bit surprised, if I'm honest.

    I feel that 787s in Air NZ's livery look somewhat longer than they do in other liveries. This isn't the first time I suspected that Air NZ already operates the 787-10 before I had to remind myself it isn't yet in operation. I don't know, it's just funny :p

    The Air NZ's lounge looks pretty good, and the food offering definitely isn't short. Were there any hot food or any main course food available? Or just the light bites that you've taken the photos of?

    Catering on board looks pretty nice, and what's on the menu doesn't sound half bad either. No wrong sauce this time around? :P

    Thanks again, and happy flying!

    • Comment 370280 by
      Rewardflying AUTHOR 493 Comments

      Hi Razza_Pr, LOL, no wrong sauce. Ketchup would definitely not be good on this selection!

      I'm pretty sure at proper meal times they have some hot foods out. It was transition time, I guess I'll have to go back to make sure! But it was a lovely lounge with a great view of the airfield.

      Thanks for reading and next time I'm determined to get that black 787!

    • Comment 370281 by
      Rewardflying AUTHOR 493 Comments

      And yes a paper ticket which I collected on all flights. I can't remember if I used the NZ app to check in or if I used the email. Probably the email as I have a returned email with boarding pass but it said its only valid if printed. I forgot to carry my printer. Did not have an option to add to wallet.

  • Comment 370312 by
    757Fan 616 Comments

    Nice report! It looks like you had a good flight with Air New Zealand. Great to get on a 787! The J cabin looks quite cramped, but the food looks tasty.

    Thanks for sharing.

  • Comment 370839 by
    Rewardflying AUTHOR 493 Comments

    Thanks 757Fan, yes. I'd fly them again short haul and would consider AKL-PVG, which is a route they open often for point redemption, or any other 787 long haul route. Not interested in the 777. Plus their FA's are really friendly people.

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