Air New Zealand’s Subpar 787 Business Class

Air New Zealand’s Subpar 787 Business Class

107

To finish off my review trip, I flew Air New Zealand’s Boeing 787-9 business class from Auckland (AKL) to Los Angeles (LAX), which I managed to book using Virgin Atlantic points. The experience was not great, which is kind of what I was expecting.

Air New Zealand’s business class hard product is bad

Air New Zealand has first generation herringbone seats in business class, which are oh-so-outdated. These seats all face the aisle, and really provide no privacy.

Air New Zealand Boeing 787 business class cabin
Air New Zealand Boeing 787 business class cabin

This flight was really a reminder of how far business class seats have otherwise come, and also of how I’m getting old(er). These seats were great in the early 2000s when other airlines primarily had angled seats on long haul flights, but nowadays these seats are simply uncompetitive.

Air New Zealand Boeing 787 business class seats

The seats have virtually no storage, it’s so easy to accidentally knock things over, so many of the seat controls are poorly positioned, you’ll pull some muscles you didn’t know you had while trying to look out the window or plug something into an outlet, etc. Never mind that you can’t easily get up during the meal service (when the tray is out), and extending the entertainment screen with something on your tray table is also no small task.

Speaking of the entertainment screen, it’s 11″. While there are some contexts in which that number might impress, inflight entertainment screens in long haul business class isn’t among them.

Air New Zealand Boeing 787 business class seats

Never mind that my seat’s ottoman just kind of came apart midflight, and couldn’t be snapped back in place.

Air New Zealand Boeing 787 business class seat issues

My flight also didn’t have Wi-Fi. While Air New Zealand is progressively installing Wi-Fi on its Boeing 787 fleet, there’s no way to know in advance if you’ll get it, and the majority of the 787 fleet still doesn’t have it.

What a disappointing product. In fairness, Air New Zealand will start to install a new business class product as of 2024. However, it’ll likely be a long time before all long haul planes feature those seats, and on top of that it’s not actually a terribly impressive-looking product.

Air New Zealand’s business class soft product is decent

I’d say Air New Zealand’s business class soft product is fairly good (but not amazing), with some elements that are above average, and others that are below average.

For example, there was a pretty basic amenity kit, but no slippers or pajamas.

Air New Zealand business class amenity kit

The noise canceling headphones were low quality and flimsy.

Air New Zealand business class headphones

I’d say the meal service was fine, perhaps a bit above average? There was a nice selection of wines from New Zealand, so I enjoyed a sauvignon blanc with some cashews.

Air New Zealand business class meal service

There was the choice of two starters, and I selected the smoked moki with fried capers, shaved fennel and orange salad, green olive salsa, and pine nuts. This was probably the best dish of the meal, and Air New Zealand also has a tasty bread selection.

Air New Zealand business class meal service

Then for the main course I had the baked salmon with lemon couscous, green beans, and tomato red pepper sauce. This was maybe a bit above average for airplane salmon, but nothing memorable.

Air New Zealand business class meal service

For dessert there was a triple chocolate ice cream with caramel sauce and hokey pokey crumble.

Air New Zealand business class meal service

Somehow I can’t decide if the service was mostly friendly or kind of stand offish. At times the flight attendants were nice, while at times they came across as arrogant (at least to me), though on some level I think it may just be a difference in how some Americans and Kiwis communicate.

Then there was the flight attendant who kept commenting on my picture taking. I’m not sure if she was annoyed or trying to be funny, but the constant references to it made me feel kind of uncomfortable in a way that almost never happens (and I both fly and take pictures a lot, for obvious reasons).

Air New Zealand is such a strange airline to me

Air New Zealand is an odd airline to me.

On the one hand, the airline is incredibly innovative. Air New Zealand has amazing marketing, and is known for its awesome safety videos. Air New Zealand has also introduced all kinds of innovative products over the years, from the Skycouch to the new Skynest, which is a concept we’ve never seen before in commercial aviation.

Yet at the same time, it’s 2022, and the best business class product the airline has is herringbone seats, which were first launched by Virgin Atlantic in 2003. Having a nearly two decade old business class product as your “flagship” business class is underwhelming, to say the least. And while this will start to change in 2024, even Air New Zealand’s new business class doesn’t look revolutionary.

I suppose ultimately Air New Zealand feels it doesn’t have to invest that much in its premium product. New Zealand is largely a leisure destination, and most markets Air New Zealand operates in aren’t as competitive as New York to London, for example.

If I were to fly to New Zealand again and the current product were still in place, I’d instead choose Air Canada, American Airlines, or United Airlines, since they all have significantly better hard products.

Maybe Air New Zealand is doing all of us a favor with the stingy award availability, as it encourages us to fly other (better) airlines.

Bottom line

I’m happy I had the chance to fly Air New Zealand’s Boeing 787 business class, but I don’t need to do it again for a long time. Herringbone seats and no Wi-Fi aren’t exactly what you’d expect from a solid airline in 2022. Beyond those two points, I’d say the experience was fine, but that’s about it.

This has to be one of the least memorable flights I’ve taken in a long time. New Zealand is an incredible country to visit, though I’ll get there on another airline next time.

If you’ve flown Air New Zealand business class, what was your experience like?

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  1. Ric Fermi Guest

    I can't do it. Sitting back to the window. They'd better have cargo planes which is more suitable to their idea if air travel.

  2. Fergus Guest

    I have flown ANZ business long haul and really don't like it and now actively avoid it. The seat is super narrow, so unprivate - you can be facing a row of people, if the person opposite has their reading light on it's in your face, there is nowhere to put ANYTHING, the seat is very uncomfortable to sleep on, and your feet get constantly bumped because they stick into the aisle. Food generally is...

    I have flown ANZ business long haul and really don't like it and now actively avoid it. The seat is super narrow, so unprivate - you can be facing a row of people, if the person opposite has their reading light on it's in your face, there is nowhere to put ANYTHING, the seat is very uncomfortable to sleep on, and your feet get constantly bumped because they stick into the aisle. Food generally is ok.

    Crew can be variable, my experience is it's generally a mix of snappy and happy; and some with very thuck NZ eccents can be unintelligble when they speak very quickly, as many do. My partner, who is fluent in 6 languages, and whose English is pretty much perfect despite not being a native English speaker, could not understand a single word with some crew. Appeals to slow down were ignored.

    Their proposed new seats still face away from the window, which is bizarre given many better options.

    They give a good impression of a weird provincial airline that has little contact with the rest of the world

  3. Mirza Guest

    Much better to fly Hawaiian Airlines to Auckland

  4. Garry Hibbert Guest

    Why you would block off the windows is beyond me .privacy is vey poor .if this is new .it dosnt look any different than the last retrofit shambles.

  5. Jill Guest

    Thanks for the warning. And yes their points system is meager to say the least. Sad really as have always strongly promoted Air NZ as a great airline.
    Time for a change for my next trip as I certainly won't be losing much in air points.

  6. Grant Guest

    Can only afford to fly CATTLE CLASS

  7. Lawnin Guest

    I flew the Cathay Pacific herringbone several times and quite enjoyed it ( many years ago ) The open configuration allowed a bit of interaction with fellow passengers which was nice when traveling with friends or coworkers or spouse

    But I agree with a couple of comments. It would be like “huh? whaaaat is dis?“ if I not knowing the seating set up before boarding

    And most likely it wouldn’t matter a bit after the beverage service started

  8. Anita Guest

    I agree. They need to up their game. One of the worst and most expensive business class i have flown in a while.

  9. Cheryl Turner Guest

    You go ahead and book on Air Canada. Rather than a pad on the seat that ANZ provides, you will be sleeping right on the seat itself where countless others have sat. When you go to sleep, the tray table will be over your knees so that you can't turn over. ANZ has that nifty system of the tray table disappearing into the wall. We fly ANZ from YVR to AKL by preference. The staff is so friendly, and the food is amazing.

  10. Steve Paine Guest

    I agree entirely. Premium Economy is a far cheaper and better product. I flew Business Class once and swore I would never spend a flight looking at other passengers disgusting toenails and feet again,

  11. Sharron McCormack Guest

    I am from NZ so like to support Air NZ however I agree with most things in the post. Value for money comparative for space and comfort, Air NZ business class does not meet standards. We are looking to go to Vancouver soon and I won't be flying Air NZ simply because of layout and lack of space.

  12. Courtney Edmonds Guest

    AirNZ is updating business class with a new product. Starting with the 787 fleet. As a long haul frequent flier and quadriplegic, I was invited to be part of the trial project involving various different products. New business premier will be similar to United Airlines new business product and will be available first on Akl to JFK flights first.
    The old business premier you reviewed is a chore if you're unable to walk or...

    AirNZ is updating business class with a new product. Starting with the 787 fleet. As a long haul frequent flier and quadriplegic, I was invited to be part of the trial project involving various different products. New business premier will be similar to United Airlines new business product and will be available first on Akl to JFK flights first.
    The old business premier you reviewed is a chore if you're unable to walk or stand and offers no privacy. Consequently, Premium economy is a better choice.
    https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/travel/2022/06/the-future-of-flying-air-new-zealand-s-new-business-premium-and-economy-class-revealed.html

    You will also be able to book time in a bed in economy on long distance flights.

    Maybe review the new product once a few jets have been refitted.

  13. Lori Perry Guest

    I flew ANZ r/t from Melbourne, AUS to LAX, business class a couple of months ago. You hit the nail on the head! Zero privacy, awkward configuration, and a lingering regret that I didn’t fly a different airline. When sitting upright, it felt like I was on a school bus as I was able to see the head and shoulders of every other passenger in my section. I can’t think of a reason to fly this airline long haul again.

  14. John Doe Guest

    Are you just sour you didn't get invited to the inaugural like Sam Chi?

  15. Joel Guest

    Sorry, but you review smacks of arrogance and privilege more than it informs. ANZ is my favourite airline by far and their on board staff is fantastic. If the author didn't like the service, he should look in the mirror.
    I think they have the best safety record in the world and I'm ok with investing $ in safety instead of better noise-cancelling headphones.

    1. Kevin Brownhill Guest

      I'm with you Joel. I recently flew business on a Air NZ 787 Dreamliner Sydney to Auckland return. The cabin crew were wonderful, they tried so hard to make it such a pleasurable experience. The food and beverages were very, very good. I really liked the seating layout, i didnt have to share my space with anyone and at 7 miles or so high, there's not much to see out of the window. Full marks...

      I'm with you Joel. I recently flew business on a Air NZ 787 Dreamliner Sydney to Auckland return. The cabin crew were wonderful, they tried so hard to make it such a pleasurable experience. The food and beverages were very, very good. I really liked the seating layout, i didnt have to share my space with anyone and at 7 miles or so high, there's not much to see out of the window. Full marks to Air NZ. The writers comments were very arrogant and smacked of privilege. He or she or they must be a very sad and lonely individual

    2. Dave Guest

      Qantas have the best safety record, maybe be you are not old enough to know the Phrase
      " Orchestrated Litany of Lies "
      Try Emirates Business Class, makes Air NZ's look like a cattle truck.

    3. Alister Grigg Guest

      I’m a Kiwi living in the US and regularly fly LAX-AKL. The AirNZ business product is terrible for all the reasons mentioned in the article; 2 weeks ago we did a return trip and on the way down the couple immediately behind me decided to share dinner just as I was heading off to sleep; they were like literally right on top of me. Thank god for decent earplugs.

      Before covid we would always...

      I’m a Kiwi living in the US and regularly fly LAX-AKL. The AirNZ business product is terrible for all the reasons mentioned in the article; 2 weeks ago we did a return trip and on the way down the couple immediately behind me decided to share dinner just as I was heading off to sleep; they were like literally right on top of me. Thank god for decent earplugs.

      Before covid we would always use American if we could. AirNZ really should have used Covid to refit their 787’s at least with a modern reverse herringbone setup.

  16. Peter Guest

    Not really impressed with the article. How comes the experts voted ANZ the second best airline in 22 (airline ratings). They definitely have the best Premium Economy on the market and one of the best Economy products (all the big American airlines don't even get close to that). I agree the current Business class is outdated, but you attack already the new business class which is a bit weird.

  17. Ronny Guest

    Seriously? Watching a movie in an angle and not having much of a privacy is "innovative??
    Save tour pennies and fly business on United, Lufthansa or Turkish, and enjoy a real business class.

    1. Kevin Brownhill Guest

      Book a seat on left side facing front and you're not facing anyone. The screens pull out at the same angle as your seat, so they can be square in front of you or any angle you choose. The writers critique is garbage, don't believe it

  18. Haha! Guest

    "Speaking of the entertainment screen, it’s 11″. While there are some contexts in which that number might impress, inflight entertainment screens in long haul business class isn’t among them."

    haha

  19. jb Guest

    totally agree with this review, as a regular Elite Kiwi AirNZ flyer. seat is binary - bed or upright.. nothing in-between - v annoying. and also the crew - v accurate- don’t call me by first name and the wrong name when you have my preferred name in my profile. (what’s the point??!) and as a non-meat eater, the food is appalling. even United does better on that front - and i prefer Polaris seat....

    totally agree with this review, as a regular Elite Kiwi AirNZ flyer. seat is binary - bed or upright.. nothing in-between - v annoying. and also the crew - v accurate- don’t call me by first name and the wrong name when you have my preferred name in my profile. (what’s the point??!) and as a non-meat eater, the food is appalling. even United does better on that front - and i prefer Polaris seat. sadly next gen ANZ won’t be much better. only good thing is i buy PE and usually get upgraded to Biz using points, but on just-completed RTW trip, actually cancelled upgrade as PE is better in many regards. crazy.

    1. Kevin Brownhill Guest

      Maybe your seat controls were faulty, but on the 787 there are 2 sets of controls. One set for the lie flat bed and another set for the seat recline angle. If your comments are regarding the 787 seating, then they are inaccurate

  20. Ziwei Guest

    I took the same seats on Cathy Pacific a couple of years before Pandemic. Surprisingly it provides (seemingly) very good privacy, if you don’t mind your feet sticking into the aisle, watched by everyone. It should be easy to add some storage but I think the so-called safety rules prohibited airline doing so

  21. Kathy W Guest

    My husband and I flew Air New Zealand business this year May 2022 from Lax to Melbourne. We were very disappointed with the herringbone lay out. Just so weird to be facing each other and no privacy. We won’t fly ANZ business again until they improve their seat layout. The flight attendants and the service were amazing though.

  22. Harry Schat Guest

    I don't like the herringbone seat configuration either I am 6.4 and your feet stick into the isle and everyone bumps into you.

  23. Dr.ZzzZ Guest

    I'll take that seat any day compared to AC, when the try dig a hole in your side(if you are a side sleeper).
    Most people are minding their own business, so big deal of Privacy comparison to slide sleep, I'll take solid sleep every time.
    Thanks for for your reviews, all of them are thoroughly appreciated and thought provoking

    Keep well and stay safe

  24. RM Guest

    I have flown many airlines and find ANZ to have a consistently better product. Their food and wines are always of good quality, staff are attentive and I have always slept well in business class. Pyjamas! Goodness I would never wear them. Seems you are intent on "putting the boot in" without disclosing why. Did they not give you the reverence that you think you deserve? Even your positive comments are conveyed as part negative....

    I have flown many airlines and find ANZ to have a consistently better product. Their food and wines are always of good quality, staff are attentive and I have always slept well in business class. Pyjamas! Goodness I would never wear them. Seems you are intent on "putting the boot in" without disclosing why. Did they not give you the reverence that you think you deserve? Even your positive comments are conveyed as part negative. A fair assessment is what we want to read. Not an assessment where you clearly have an undisclosed issue.

  25. tom mullen Guest

    Thank you. There is NO WAY I would appreciate the design of the business class seats facing the aisle. Who the hell wants to see people feet from the aisle view. I old them as much on one of their FB posts/ads. I said I would rather fly Singapore Air, on a connection flight to Auckland.

  26. CK Guest

    Kinda rough on Air NZ. I still prefer to fly on a country's airline of the destination when on leisure trips. Too bad about not having wifi on such a long journey. I trust that ANZ will work out their issues. I still enjoy flying ANZ.

  27. Dayanna Varney Guest

    I had the same disappointing experience and won't use ANZ business class again.

  28. Alan Hamilton Guest

    My wife and I are flying ANZ from LA to Auk next Feb but we are booked on a 777.

    Is the experience/ seating different?

    1. Matt Guest

      No its the same product across the 777 & 787 unfortunately

    2. Nelson Knight Guest

      I have found the angle of the 777 seating much better than Dreamliner. At least you can see out the window without wrenching your back and neck.

  29. Pmcc Guest

    I’d agree regarding Business- not that I’ve flown it (in recent years) but I truly love Premium Economy. 40 inch pitch, effectively Business food, reasonable fares. I flew the original “space seat” and whilst the concept was great the comfort was sadly minimal. Far better seats today. And their advertising? Check out the current twitter war between ANZ and Emirates about geese!

  30. Martin Guest

    I flew Air NZ first class some years back and they had just installed the “latest” in flight entertainment. Well it was the inflight entertainment system British Airways binned when they moved to the single fold flat seats.

    I have always found Air NZ have always lagged behind other airlines, I have tried to avoid them where possible.

    1. SteveY Guest

      Air New Zealand has not had a first class for many years -at least 15,-on the old 747s.Please try to maintain a modicum of accuracy when commenting.

  31. BJ Guest

    I had an almost identical experience going AKL to HNL. Seat was terrible especially if you’re over 6 and a bit feet, food was okish, crew were polite but not engaging, and we needed to wake well before landing to have the seats converted. I see too many reviews based on reputation rather than experience.

  32. Ben May Guest

    I find it a very underwhelming product. Getting folksy crew is tiresome and doesn't really do it for me. I'm not that tall and I can't ever get comfortable in the seat.

    AirNZ is the worst business trans pacific route IMO (comparing Qantas, Virgin (once upon a time), AirNZ, American, United, Delta, Fiji Airways)

    1. Jay Guest

      Flew business, probably similar to premium economy on other airlines.

  33. Brett Fruin Guest

    Its crap.....trying to fit as manu business class passengers in 1 cabin.

    I flew on Qatar and their business class is amazing...completely isolated suites.

    Fly someone else...forget Air NZ

    1. Nelson Knight Guest

      I'm not sure your comment about fitting as many business class seats in one cabin is correct. The current configuration is 1,1,1. If they changed the seats to the current accepted standard they would get a 1,2,1 configuration and more passengers.

  34. Anthony Yuen Guest

    I just recently flew Air NZ business class. I have exactly the same experience, which wasn't a pleasurable one.
    I am lucky that I wouldn't go to NZ in the foreseeable future. Hopefully, by the time I have to go again, it has improved.

  35. Karen Jacka Guest

    Enjoyed Business Class with Air New Zealand recently on a trip to Honolulu. Great service on both flights. For more privacy choose the seats with an 'A'. I did find the entrees were better than the mains, and the garlic bread is delicious. Their choice of champagne (Laurent-Perrier) is very smooth!

  36. Graeme Guest

    I agree with the main story about the BC seats . Woeful and lacking privacy which really is why I willingly pay for BC for any flights over 4-5 hours. I’ve recently flown to Europe from Perth BC on Emirates and NZ from Perth with Qantas.Both airlines have far superior BC seating and service and the AKL to Sydney to Auckland was $1200 cheaper than direct with AirNZ…..and I’ll add that on the qantas A330...

    I agree with the main story about the BC seats . Woeful and lacking privacy which really is why I willingly pay for BC for any flights over 4-5 hours. I’ve recently flown to Europe from Perth BC on Emirates and NZ from Perth with Qantas.Both airlines have far superior BC seating and service and the AKL to Sydney to Auckland was $1200 cheaper than direct with AirNZ…..and I’ll add that on the qantas A330 the privacy and seat are very good and worthy of praise. I wouldn’t waste time and money on a long haul with AirNZ until they up their game .

  37. george Guest

    What's the point of having windows?

  38. Mamoun Guest

    Attention please: Air New Zealand try to copycat as same as Qatar Airways interior design ✈️
    They must be penalized ASAP .

  39. Marco Guest

    I've noticed when Etihad flew the Airbus A350-1000 you had something to say about the then CEO Tony Douglas not wearing a mask on the Inaugural flight to Paris.

    Now with Air New Zealand doing their inaugural JFK-AKL you fly their Business class and complain about the product.

    Does not being invited to the Inaugural flights upset you? Not that it should but the timing of your negative views when airlines should having been...

    I've noticed when Etihad flew the Airbus A350-1000 you had something to say about the then CEO Tony Douglas not wearing a mask on the Inaugural flight to Paris.

    Now with Air New Zealand doing their inaugural JFK-AKL you fly their Business class and complain about the product.

    Does not being invited to the Inaugural flights upset you? Not that it should but the timing of your negative views when airlines should having been wooing you with an invite but never did does make one wonder regarding your negativity which is not often though. Just a thought.

    Even TheDesignAir (hope I got the name right) was on both these sectors and even has videos. I guess social media is more interested in videos these days and blogs are becoming a thing of the past and yet here I am daily to read your blog lol. Time to get some videos out Ben, but I know you prefer to do things discretely hence photos as soon as you get onboard as opposed to having a camera in one's face lol.

  40. philelltt Member

    Ben,
    During the last couple of years you have written many negative articles about New Zealand (and Australia for that matter) . The articles got heaps of responses, and you even wrote an article during covid about how for financial reasons why you do this type of article. You had mentioned that you had no pressing interest or plans to visit in the forseeable future. Yet there you are flying Air NZ from NZ...

    Ben,
    During the last couple of years you have written many negative articles about New Zealand (and Australia for that matter) . The articles got heaps of responses, and you even wrote an article during covid about how for financial reasons why you do this type of article. You had mentioned that you had no pressing interest or plans to visit in the forseeable future. Yet there you are flying Air NZ from NZ and surprise, surprise you were unimpressed. Before you booked this trip you would have known exactly the seating arrangments so had plenty time to get this article ready with the trigger words so it would attract lots of click bait. Perhaps the airline staff treated you as they did in response to your attitude towards them.

    1. ecco New Member

      I would have been interested to hear how well he slept.

    2. Antman Guest

      Bang on. Some passengers board a plane seemingly determined to find fault with everything from the seat, to the food, to the crew. Yes the seat is outdated. Air NZ know that and were doing something about that just before Covid decimated their business. And they are doing something about that right now. Shall I start slagging US airlines if we are talking about arrogance, some very ancient planes, bad food. And all that from...

      Bang on. Some passengers board a plane seemingly determined to find fault with everything from the seat, to the food, to the crew. Yes the seat is outdated. Air NZ know that and were doing something about that just before Covid decimated their business. And they are doing something about that right now. Shall I start slagging US airlines if we are talking about arrogance, some very ancient planes, bad food. And all that from a country of 360 million plus and matching resources (versus airline from isolated country of 5 million, with limited resource). This review sounds down right prattish. Don't like NZ? We'll happily survive without this reviewer and his entitled 'tude. And as for the comments about his camera? Perhaps he was making a nuisance of himself onboard. Or interferring while the particular crew member was performing their duties. Just try that in the US and see where that lands one.

  41. Michele Miller Guest

    It wouldn't be as bad as Quantas, their new business class seats are horrible and the service is budget at best.

    1. NathanJ Gold

      Do you perhaps mean Qantas, Michele? I haven’t heard of a ‘Quantas’…

  42. John Guest

    I will never understand the obsession here with Air NZ. Sub-par budget airline charging extra premium prices (their PE is more expensive than some Js). Economy seats are narrow and cramped. Service hit and miss. And agree with you - their J is awful, and their new J is just J on other airlines from 10 years ago.

  43. Tim Guest

    I live in NZ and for me Air New Zealand is the airline of last resort. Travelling to SE Asia it will be SIA for me everythime. Travelling to Australia or US then it is QANTAS. Air New Zealand is a small airline in every way.

  44. Will Guest

    And their tickets are more expensive than more superior airlines like Singapore Airlines. Probably just the patriotic Kiwis who are their die hard fans who fly them. They are at the bottom of my preferred airlines list (if they ever make the list).

  45. Alease Guest

    Uncomfortable business class seats. Average meals. EXTREMELY EXTREMELY overpriced for the product available. $1355nzd Rarotonga to Auckland one way in Business. 3.5hour flight.

    Fiji Airways or Air Tahiti Nui need to add Rarotonga to their stops.

  46. Leigh Gold

    Yup, hate the product due to lack off privacy and the awkward set-up of the bed. However I have enjoyed the service and food one my trips, although I've only flown them a few times across the Pacific.

  47. Nathan Guest

    Did you at least get to enjoy the new PH Auckland?

  48. Explore Guest

    Kiwi women can be brusque…it isn’t just you.

  49. John S Guest

    What a shame, Air NZ was at one time (years ago) Industry leading. This looks terrible ☹️

  50. Julius Guest

    Kiwi's are different, Ben. I'm Aussie. ANZ is one of my fav airlines for the crew, the food and wine, and for the whole soft product experience.

  51. Richard Kittelty Guest

    As a Kiwi I agree with most of what you have said. The seat arrangement- I try and book a seat in the aisle where there is just a single line of seats. I still prefer this seat to the ones where you always have someone next to you who has to climb over you to get to toilet or whatever.
    Air NZ I understand was going to have new business seats by this time but COVID put paid to that

  52. Steven E Guest

    Totally agree with the review - it’s a shame because it’s really a good carrier but with a sub par soft product

    1. Bob R Guest

      What's the definition of a "good" carrier?

  53. Derew Osborne Guest

    “While there are some contexts in which that number might impress, inflight entertainment screens in long haul business class isn’t among them.”

    You’ve always written in a witty and engaging style; however, this sentence shook loose the day’s first chuckle. Very. Well. Done.

  54. Roundtree New Member

    Great review. Will definitely avoid Air New Zealand.

  55. NedsKid Member

    Ben, it is nice to read a level-head review. It also sounds like you're having fun on these review flights which is awesome.

    Travel "blogger" Sam Chui just dropped a video review of Air NZ 787 Business Class two days ago. Probably they had to block off that seat for cleaning on the next sector. Typical bought and paid review as this is the greatest thing ever. But I guess if you have a helicopter deliver you to the flight....

  56. chasgoose Guest

    I flew NZ from LAX to LHR back in 2009 in the nose of a 744. Back then it was one of the few fully flatbed products from US-Europe (I think it was just BA and VS at the time, and the NZ/VS product was superior to BA's) so it was great, and just like now it was still kind of a unicorn mileage redemption (through ANA Mileage Club) so I was pretty happy with...

    I flew NZ from LAX to LHR back in 2009 in the nose of a 744. Back then it was one of the few fully flatbed products from US-Europe (I think it was just BA and VS at the time, and the NZ/VS product was superior to BA's) so it was great, and just like now it was still kind of a unicorn mileage redemption (through ANA Mileage Club) so I was pretty happy with it. That said, it's pretty shocking to see that aside from a couple cosmetic touchups the seat is still fundamentally the same 13 years later.

  57. Alian Guest

    I believe CX used to have this an it was called the “coffin class” sat on this from SYD to AKL once and VS one over the pond. Sleep is not bad actually but the rest is so undesirable.

  58. C C Guest

    Flown B-Class many times with Air NZ. Gold Elite status. Couldn't agree more with your review.....on all points. At 6'3" it is juuuust able to fit me when sleeping....and juuuust able is not too great.

    1. Mark Guest

      I fly a lot with Air NZ and agree the seat config is very dated. I hate looking at the line of passengers feet on the ottomans as you look down the plane, there is absolutely no privacy.

      Food is good, wine is great, service is good. Much better than Cathay although not as good as Turkish Airlines.

      And I like how they give you a mattress with sheets to make your bed. Haven’t seen that with other business class beds.

  59. brianna hoffner Member

    "While there are some contexts in which that number might impress" lolololol nice one :)

  60. Kiwi Guest

    It was NZ who introduced this seating type and licensed it to VS actually. The two airlines had a long standing partnership pre delta.

    Personally I prefer not having my feet squeezed into a tiny box in a reverse hearingbone layout and honestly how much looking out the window do you think you’re doing over the pacific?

    1. EK_engineer Guest

      @Kiwi

      I always thought of myself as a window gazer (I certainly was as a kid); and that such seats were an inconvenience. However, when I really thought about it, I realized that I now barely even gaze at cruising altitude! Most of the time, I simply watch the 'moving map'. This is why inward-facing seats or backward-facing seats don't bother me at all. It's only for reasons of privacy that I don't like this kind of fully exposed seat.

    2. Will in SJC Guest

      It was the other way around. VS launched it. They then licensed it to NZ.

      The seat was subject to long running court action that went all the way to the UK Supreme Court. VS started court action against the seat manufacturer, Contour, as they offered a similar seat to AC, Jet Airways and DL, who didn't have the license, for infringement of various Virgin patents which were granted when they designed the seat....

      It was the other way around. VS launched it. They then licensed it to NZ.

      The seat was subject to long running court action that went all the way to the UK Supreme Court. VS started court action against the seat manufacturer, Contour, as they offered a similar seat to AC, Jet Airways and DL, who didn't have the license, for infringement of various Virgin patents which were granted when they designed the seat. There are numerous articles and case summaries online.

      VS even started direct action against DL which is kind of ironic given five years later the VS/DL relationship started.

      https://www.bailii.org/cgi-bin/markup.cgi?doc=/ew/cases/EWHC/Patents/2012/2153.html&query=virgin+and+contour&method=boolean

  61. Mike1977 Guest

    I love the phrase “airplane salmon”! I appreciate the pink tone and all of the photographs, it made me feel like I was right there on the plane experiencing the meal with that airplane mood lighting or whatever they call it.

  62. Icarus Guest

    Looks positively awful. No possibility to look out of the window and facing the aisle, and other customers, with almost no privacy.

    1. Eskimo Guest

      Still better than flying in coach, debatable on those restricted legroom coffins.

  63. Alvin | YTHK Diamond

    "Maybe Air New Zealand is doing all of us a favor with the stingy award availability, as it encourages us to fly other (better) airlines."

    I was looking forward to this post – one of the USPs on your blog is your one-liners when you're underwhelmed.

  64. Steven Guest

    Thoroughly unimpressed with ANZ. Charged me for overweight baggage despite paying for 4 full fare business class seats. (Not charged by Qantas, Singapore on same trip). Business class cabin full of loud and chatty deadheading flight attendants.

    1. Speedbird Guest

      Was your bag overweight? If so, of course you’re getting charged! You paid for the privilege of 2 32kg bags and not a gram more, you aren’t entitled to anything else

    2. SC Guest

      Actually if Air NZ allowance, it would've been 3x23kg PER PERSON. For 4 pax that's 12 x 23kgs. I am wondering how anyone would need more than that, and have overweight luggage!

  65. Joey Diamond

    I flew Air New Zealand business class back in 2015 and overall I liked it. For me, the big pro of the Air New Zealand bed is the legroom. For other airlines, the legroom when the bed is setup is soooo tiny to the point where your feet feels stuck in that cubbyhole. Anyways, Air New Zealand is a different kind of airline and that's ok. They know their market and I'm fine with that. I just wish they'd open more award space.

  66. The Grim Corsair Guest

    I honestly thought this was a joke. No views out the window, but you can see everyone's feet. Absolutely ridiculous. Love the country. Hate the seats. Will never book these.

  67. Jason Guest

    I mean, this is still the business class configuration on the majority of the Virgin Atlantic fleet, even though with their new deliveries they have a new product. For the vast majority of their fleet, this is what Virgin has, for now.

    1. Never In Doubt Guest

      Is this supposed to make ANZ’s outdated product seem better?

  68. Ed Guest

    If the only "view" is seeing an isle filled with peoples' feet, socks or barefoot, I'd find the flight utterly disgusting. In some cultures, pointing the bottom of your feet at someone is considered an insult. I'd rather sit in Premium Economy - strangely that offers a greater sense of privacy.

  69. Donna Diamond

    Yuck! Beyond the sardine can appearance, lack of space and storage and general shabbiness of the cabin, this can only be described as the only arrangement with no window seats, especially sad for a 787 which has those big beautiful windows with dimmers that are pretty much a waste here. I can’t recall the last flight I’ve taken without Wi-Fi. For all you soft product lovers, enjoy that seat. Frankly, caviar and Krug wouldn’t be...

    Yuck! Beyond the sardine can appearance, lack of space and storage and general shabbiness of the cabin, this can only be described as the only arrangement with no window seats, especially sad for a 787 which has those big beautiful windows with dimmers that are pretty much a waste here. I can’t recall the last flight I’ve taken without Wi-Fi. For all you soft product lovers, enjoy that seat. Frankly, caviar and Krug wouldn’t be enough to entice me to spend a red cent on this mess.

  70. Patrick Guest

    Windows! Or lack of viewing opportunities. Sheesh. What a dreadful idea.

  71. Steve Guest

    Lucky,
    At least you GOT an amenity kit. I few SQ SYD-SIN-SFO back in July...ZILCH!

    1. Jason. Guest

      It's pretty well known that SQ doesnt provide amenity kits.

    2. JW Guest

      They do now in J, you just have to ask. It's even on the flight screen telling you to request it if you want it. Penhaligons product but nothing spectacular.

  72. Christopher Rupp Guest

    Ben, I flew ANZ in summer 2019 from AKL to LAX on the 777-300. While I didn't like that the seat faced away from the window and the cabin felt tight, the bed was extremely comfortable, more so than any other business class I've flown except SQ A380. It was wide, spacious, and had decent foot room. I don't understand why the seat gets so much hate. Sure, its not as good as the reverse herringbone, but looks a hell of a lot better than what united offers.

    1. Matt R Guest

      Agree! I had the best sleep because of the way the bed folds down and doesn't have any bumpy mechanics to it.
      They also promote this as a way to have meals with your travel companion, and we tried it out. It was nice to have breakfast together and say hello, and they were happy to plate the meals for us to use the tray as a table.
      I loved the airline and would happily take them over a more private seat but a YMMV soft product, like United.

    2. E Don Guest

      You are out of your mind, or you very clearly have not flown Polaris as you said, "ANZ *looks* a lot better..."

      This is the most comically embarrassing biz seat. Everyone's shoeless (or sock-less) feet in the aisle, zero privacy, no window.

      I'd rather fly Lufthansa in a 2-2-2 config and that says a lot.

    1. jb Guest

      wtf is this doing in an aviation blog. jumped the shark……

    2. Sam Guest

      Clutch your pearls somewhere else. It's a bit of fun. Thanks for policing the comments thoug. I'm sure Ben is greatful for your help making the experience overly serious & not fun :-/

  73. Niko_jas Guest

    11 inches impresses me too!

  74. ladyolives Guest

    I'd agree the seats and layout on the Air New Zealand 787 is strange, not private, and not ideal for an ultra-long haul flight, for sure, but your assessment of Air New Zealand is frankly, over the top and unfair. The service on board, catering, and the vibe is quite good and far exceeds anything you're likely to find on Air Canada or one of the US3 where each have a pretty good seat but terrible food and unpolished service.

    1. Cedric Guest

      If your standard is AC and the US3...then you will be easily impressed!

  75. Glen Guest

    Wait until you check out the Airpoints program where all members can only redeem points on revenue NZ flights, the kind that any savvy frequent flyer would never do.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Alvin | YTHK Diamond

"Maybe Air New Zealand is doing all of us a favor with the stingy award availability, as it encourages us to fly other (better) airlines." I was looking forward to this post – one of the USPs on your blog is your one-liners when you're underwhelmed.

5
Never In Doubt Guest

Is this supposed to make ANZ’s outdated product seem better?

4
Ken Guest

You guys both from NZ?

2
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