Details: Air New Zealand’s New Business Class Seat

Details: Air New Zealand’s New Business Class Seat

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In June 2022, Air New Zealand formally revealed the details of its new business class product, after teasing it for a couple of years. Air New Zealand is actually refreshing all of its cabins on the Boeing 787 (including introducing the innovative Skynest), but in this post I’ll be focusing specifically on business class.

With the product due to be introduced later this year, I wanted to take an updated look at what we can expect, especially since this will be introduced differently than initially expected, due to delays with newly delivered Boeing 787 Dreamliners.

Air New Zealand’s new Business Premier seats

In late 2024, Air New Zealand will be introducing new Business Premier seats. Boeing 787s will feature either 42 or 22 of these seats, depending on the configuration (there are different configurations depending on demand in various markets).

Air New Zealand’s premium 787 layout

Here are some of the basic features to be aware of:

  • Seats will be in a 1-2-1 configuration, and will be herringbone, meaning that all seats face toward the aisles, rather than away from them; they’ll be at a 24 degree angle to the aircraft fuselage
  • Seats will be 20.5″ wide, and will turn into 80.25″ flat beds
  • Seats will have 24″ personal televisions, USB-A, USB-C, and AC power outlets, and bluetooth audio
  • Business Premier seats won’t have doors, but they will have a shield that can be extended to provide some extra privacy
Air New Zealand’s new Business Premier seats
Air New Zealand’s new Business Premier seats
Air New Zealand’s new Business Premier seats
Air New Zealand’s new Business Premier seats

Air New Zealand’s new Business Premier Luxe seats

Air New Zealand isn’t just introducing a new Business Premier product, but the airline is also adding a new Business Premier Luxe seat. Think of it as a premium business class. Boeing 787s will feature either four or eight of these seats, depending on the configuration (since these are at bulkheads, it comes down to whether there’s one or two business class cabins).

These will feature more space, an ottoman, and a privacy door. The tray table will be larger, and it will be possible to dine with another passenger at these seats.

Essentially Air New Zealand is just creatively utilizing the space at the bulkhead. The other business class seats use some of the space to the side of the seat in front to maximize efficiency, but of course there’s no seat in front of the bulkhead row.

So Air New Zealand is giving those passengers extra space, and is marketing it as a separate product. Think of it as being along the lines of the JetBlue Mint Studio on the A321LR, the Virgin Atlantic Retreat Suite on the A330-900neo, the the Condor Prime Seats on the A330-900neo, etc.

Air New Zealand’s new Business Premier Luxe seats
Air New Zealand’s new Business Premier Luxe seats
Air New Zealand’s new Business Premier Luxe seats
Air New Zealand’s new Business Premier Luxe seats

There’s no indication yet of how pricing will work for this. Will there be a special fare class for these seats, or will there just be a consistent upcharge to select Business Premier Luxe, regardless of how you book your ticket?

When will Air New Zealand install its new business class?

Air New Zealand is expected to introduce its first Boeing 787 with new cabins as of late 2024, most likely around October.

However, it won’t happen as initially planned. Air New Zealand’s new batch of Boeing 787s with new cabins were supposed to be introduced as of 2024. However, these have now been delayed until 2026. Air New Zealand still plans to reconfigure its first Boeing 787s as of later this year, meaning the new product will debut on retrofitted Boeing 787s, rather than newly delivered ones.

Air New Zealand’s goal is to reconfigure all 787s by 2026, so it could very well be that all existing 787s are reconfigured before the first new 787 is delivered. Note that Air New Zealand won’t install this product on Boeing 777s. For context, Air New Zealand has a fleet of 14 Boeing 787s, with a further eight of these jets on order.

The wait here sure has been long, especially when you consider that the airline was already teasing this product before the pandemic.

All Air New Zealand Boeing 787s will get these new cabins

My take on Air New Zealand’s new business class

Air New Zealand desperately needs a new business class product. Currently the airline has a standard herringbone product in business class, in a 1-1-1 configuration, which was first introduced back in 2005. This was an exciting product 15+ years ago, but at this point is outdated.

I’ve gotta be honest, at first glance I’m really confused by the new Business Premier product, and am wondering what I’m missing:

  • Reverse herringbone seats are considered more desirable than herringbone seats, given that they feature more privacy and have views out the window, so I have to wonder why Air New Zealand would choose to maintain a herringbone configuration
  • It’s odd to see Air New Zealand not introducing doors on a new business class product introduced now, when that’s the direction the industry is headed
  • There are several “generic” seats out there that on the surface seem superior to this, like the Adient Ascent seat (which Qatar Airways’ new Boeing 787-9s have)

Among the new business class products in development, this is probably the product that looks least impressive to me.

In fairness to Air New Zealand, the seat does look reasonably spacious in terms of the size of the footwell and the space around the seat, so that’s good. It’s also nice to see Air New Zealand drastically increase premium seat capacity. Previously Air New Zealand’s planes had up to 27 business class seats, while now we’ll see some 787s with up to 50 business class seats, between Business Premier and Business Premier Luxe.

Business Premier Luxe looks great, and it looks like a significant step up over your average business class product, and also like a significant improvement over Business Premier. The big question is what pricing will be like.

Bottom line

Air New Zealand should be introducing its new business class product later this year, and it will represent a significant improvement over what’s currently being offered. The airline is introducing a new Business Premier, which I’d say looks reasonably good, but not cutting edge. Meanwhile Business Premier Luxe is the biggest change, as these seats will have doors and ottomans.

Equally interesting is the extent to which Air New Zealand is increasing premium capacity, as there will be a lot more business class seats than before. We can expect the first retrofitted 787 with this new product to enter service in late 2024, while the first newly delivered 787 with this product will be delivered in 2026.

What do you make of Air New Zealand’s new business class?

Conversations (54)
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  1. Rob Guest

    I just got off the current biz seat from AKL to SFO on 777 and did the YVR to AKL run 3 weeks ago on a 787. Yes, the current seat is an uncommon design: it is a bit far to turn ones head to look out the window, there is no shoulder harness despite that significant angle one sits in with regards to the direction of travel of the aircraft (not sure how safe...

    I just got off the current biz seat from AKL to SFO on 777 and did the YVR to AKL run 3 weeks ago on a 787. Yes, the current seat is an uncommon design: it is a bit far to turn ones head to look out the window, there is no shoulder harness despite that significant angle one sits in with regards to the direction of travel of the aircraft (not sure how safe that is), there is not much storage, and the screen is not as big as the current options. But, everything was well fitted and maintained and in good condition, and in sleep mode I found the seat to be the best that I have slept on, very comfortable, ample width, length (I am 183 cm) and space around the footwell. I have been on UA, AC, LX, LH, TK international biz product, and the current NZ was the best for sleeping. So, no complaints from me. Plus the service and food was very good, too.

    I am the odd one out here. I will miss the current seat.

  2. Reuben Guest

    I have to disagree with some of the analysis. Yes, the herringbone has gone out of style but I feel as if the design wasn't played around with enough, we never saw any airline release a herringbone configuration with a seat on an angle like what Air NZ has gone with.
    The herringbone also had the benefit of having greater perceived space, by having passengers head away from the aisle it increased the amount...

    I have to disagree with some of the analysis. Yes, the herringbone has gone out of style but I feel as if the design wasn't played around with enough, we never saw any airline release a herringbone configuration with a seat on an angle like what Air NZ has gone with.
    The herringbone also had the benefit of having greater perceived space, by having passengers head away from the aisle it increased the amount of space people felt they had.
    I also believe that privacy won't be much of a compromise, looking at the configuration of the cabin's and the sliding screen I believe passenger's will get a reasonable level of privacy still.
    And the angle of the seat still allows for people to look out the window, and actually to a greater degree because with reverse herringbone yes your facing the window but your visual degree is limited.
    With this herringbone passengers are more or less positioned along side the window's but facing towards the aisle which gives them a greay field of view.
    The only issue I have with this design is yes they could have thrown in a door for full privacy, and the seats look........odd.
    But in terms of the position of the seat, I think it's pretty good.

  3. Kevin Guest

    All that research…for what is a pretty mediocre product in today’s market. The seat back looks awfully short, plus they’re still angled away from the windows and towards fellow travellers. This is typical Air New Zealand. All talk, vigorous self praise, and furiously patting themselves on the back…for what is a pretty average result. The product already looks like it’s aged 5-10 years.

  4. Aaron Guest

    Along with updating their Business Class seat, Air NZ needs to look hard at how it treats their customers and frequent fliers. We recently had recognition upgrades confirmed home from Chicago in July. When they temporarily stopped flying to Chicago, they cancelled the upgrades, and refuse to reissue them claiming they had expired. Look elsewhere for an airline to be loyal to is my advice.

  5. Williams Guest

    Booked to Fly MEL/AKL-IAH on ANZ 777 in seat 2A in new Premier Prefered.
    Is seat 1A any larger?

  6. Watson Diamond

    I need to see how spacious the footwell is before I judge.

  7. Grey Diamond

    I was initially excited that they planned to introduce a modern herringbone option. Personally I think herringbone seats have potential. However, this version is rubbish. It looks like someone just pulled a seat from a car and stuck it on a plane. It doesn't look particularly spacious. While there looks to be a raiseable armrest on the window side, the fact that they don't show it up raises questions (no pun intended) as to what...

    I was initially excited that they planned to introduce a modern herringbone option. Personally I think herringbone seats have potential. However, this version is rubbish. It looks like someone just pulled a seat from a car and stuck it on a plane. It doesn't look particularly spacious. While there looks to be a raiseable armrest on the window side, the fact that they don't show it up raises questions (no pun intended) as to what they are trying to hide. (Presumably a lack of space or an awkward height)
    Additionally, while I think doors are generally pointless, as another commentator mentioned, herringbone seats are seats where doors would actually be useful. People in the aisle can still see you, but at least it takes the rest of the plane out of your eyesight and reduces visual distractions. It could make for a very private experience as people can't see what you are reading/watching/working on and you don't really see other people.
    So yeah, while I think there is a lot of potential with a herringbone seat, this one surely misses the mark.

  8. Caelus Guest

    Does anyone notice just how short the seat back is? I mean that guy from the pic can't even rest his head against it.

    1. UncleRonnie Guest

      I suspect the headrest lifts up and down. Those standard herringbone seats appear to have much larger footwells than reverse herringbone seats. Great for restless sleepers.

  9. Mick Guest

    As long as their is a decent enclosure on a seat (eg lufthansa first) or AA biz I don’t need a door. Have to strain to see other passengers in these seats and that’s fine enough for me.

    Cramped seat with tiny footwells and a door enclosure make me a little antsy.

  10. NK3 Gold

    While I am not super impressed with these seats, I think the angled away from the window issue is overblown. These are mainly used for long haul flights. Their North America flights all leave in the evening and arrive in the morning. When I flew last year, my flight left SFO at 10pm and arrived at 6am. It was not that hard to look out the window, but there was not much to see. And the flight back left a little after 8pm, so again was mostly in the dark.

    1. LAXLonghorn Member

      Sorta agree, but I guess not...the fleet doesn't just fly to the USA, so have to consider other destinations with different flight schedules. And I also haven't looked up the JFK, IAH, HNL routes which likely have different schedules.

      Many of these same aircraft continue on to service the trans Tasman routes, which are substantially daytime, though I think PER is a red eye return if I recall correctly.

    2. NK3 Gold

      JFK, IAH, ORD all leave around 8pm, give or take. So not much daylight. And I did continue from AKL-BNE for a daytime trans Tasman route. It was not that hard to look out the window, but more than 90% of the time we were over open water, so it was not really great scenery, aside from takeoff.

  11. Bobo Bolinski Guest

    Seat looks quite narrow to me - notice the (tiny) model, awkwardly folding her hands in her lap to try and make the seat look more spacious.

    It also looks like the infamous "fart cushion" seats on Finnair - an uncomfortable Ikea reject.

  12. Morgan Diamond

    For those saying there is no armrest is complete garbage.

    You can see a cut out on the window side next to the seat that is clearly an armrest that goes up and down (as seen on several other business class products).

    And on the aisle side due to the angle of the photo the table is blocking what is sure to be a hidden recessed armrest. Does anyone really think an airline (especially a reputable and large-ish one) would introduce a seat without them?!?

  13. tom Guest

    Why?
    Why do airlines think they need to come up with a special product instead of just taking the latest off-the-shelf seat. Unless you intend to truly be innovative (Q-Suite, The Room) in almost every case the end product will be sub-par. Just like Allegris, this product is out of date before it has even been installed on one plane

  14. Jack Guest

    As with all things Air New Zealand, very disappointing.

    1. peter Guest

      I agree. The standards are set by QATAR, Emirates and Singapore Airlines. It should not have been too difficult to copy-paste

    2. Aaron Guest

      Yep, Greg has them on a slippery slope alright!

  15. Maxell Azaria Guest

    SOmeone in the comments mentioned the lack pf arm rests. Thats the most concerning thing here, not the herringbone config, or lack of privacy or color scheme. Where do they expect you to put ur arms? i see the woman in the promo pick has her hands on her lap...... amazing.

  16. Chris W Guest

    The fact that Air NZ did not realize or care in 20 years of the previous seat that passengers don't want to face away from the window does not bode well for the new product.

    Still an airline to avoid.

    I assume they gave up on London flights because they can't compete with the ME3 who actually care about what passengers want.

    1. LAXLonghorn Member

      Silly comment.

      NZ soft product is fantastic.

      And as for the herringbone config, it was NOT being able to see out the window comfortably as rationale to avoid the product, it was because of the lack of privacy - THAT was the issue. This looks to solve for that.

      And LHR was discontinued before the ME Big 2 ("3" is an exaggeration) became prominent. It was the yields and aircraft utilization required for the LAX-LHR and HKG-LHR sectors.

  17. shoeguy Guest

    Boring and dated. What's wrong with NZ? This is just a marginal improvement over the existing seat, which is absolutely terrible.

  18. Adrian Guest

    My parents just experienced the “herringbone” business class and said it was awful. Zero privacy and the guy they were facing barely fit into his seat. They showed us some photos of the cabin and it was laughable. I haven’t seen that config since Virgin Atlantic in 2007. Compare that to my recent flight on business class on JAL and it’s chalk and cheese. How Air NZ gets business (no pun intended) I’ll never know....

    My parents just experienced the “herringbone” business class and said it was awful. Zero privacy and the guy they were facing barely fit into his seat. They showed us some photos of the cabin and it was laughable. I haven’t seen that config since Virgin Atlantic in 2007. Compare that to my recent flight on business class on JAL and it’s chalk and cheese. How Air NZ gets business (no pun intended) I’ll never know. They will not fly them again. It’s not business class.

    1. Pete Guest

      Because in the same vein as Qantas in Sydney/Melbourne & British Airways in London, they have a rusted-on base of wealthy regular customers who are captives to the loyalty program & will fly with them by default even if the product isn't the best on the market.

  19. IAN ASSUMPTION Guest

    By the time the installation is complete it will already be "retro"
    An opportunity missed
    Very disappointing

  20. mkcol Gold

    Ben you've got the numbers wrong on the total quantity of business seats - it's up to 42 not up to 50. Check out the seat map you posted on the Skynest write up & you'll see it's 42 including the Premier front row business class seats.

    1. C-B New Member

      Looks like he double counted the Luxe seats.

  21. Jai Guest

    I had complained about the previous sardine can seats but it has not really achieved the desired requirement. The seat should be Fwd and aft facing with good view from the window and a better semblance of privacy. If you want to charge a lot money then you must provide the comfort and service. Presently ANZ can provide none adequately. Learn from SQ, ANA etc etc

  22. AyL Guest

    with a wide rollout they just might be worthy of their skytrax award minus the Neverending nickle-and-diming

  23. Steven E Guest

    I’m sure the hard product combined with their excellent soft product will be a hit - not everyone needs a door however to feel that they have sufficient privacy

  24. James C Guest

    These new seats are such a disappointment.

    But having said that, I think it is actually better for looking out the windows than standard reverse herringbone seats.
    You are seated right next to the windows and at this angle it's still very easy to look out of it.

    You are also seated further from the aisle than reverse herringbone, which surely is a good thing at this point of time

  25. DavidM Guest

    Ben, do you know who the manufacturer of the seat will be?

    1. EBWaa Guest

      I believe they are from Safran.

  26. TravelCat2 Diamond

    It doesn't look like these seats have armrests. I can't imagine enduring a long haul flight without armrests.

  27. Sam Guest

    Need a commitment toward partner availability or at least better value from their own program for this to mean anything to the Miles & Points group.

    1. glenn t Diamond

      Gotta agree with Sam on this! I really don't know why Star Alliance bothers with Air NZ since award availability is virtually zero. Total waste of time searching.
      On the positive side, ANZ has, or used to, special return Business fares to some locations.
      Pre-covid I had a return ADL-AKL-EZE J ticket booked at a sharp sale price. Sadly never happened due to borders slamming shut.
      Wasn't looking forward to the bizzare...

      Gotta agree with Sam on this! I really don't know why Star Alliance bothers with Air NZ since award availability is virtually zero. Total waste of time searching.
      On the positive side, ANZ has, or used to, special return Business fares to some locations.
      Pre-covid I had a return ADL-AKL-EZE J ticket booked at a sharp sale price. Sadly never happened due to borders slamming shut.
      Wasn't looking forward to the bizzare 777 J seating ANZ has though. The newer proposed conventional seats look heaps better.

    2. NK3 Gold

      @glenn t ANZ actually has had much better award availability within the past year or two. Using seats.aero, I see 36 different flights from North America to AKL with business seats available in the next 2 months. There is less availability on the return. Last June I was easily able to book roundtrip tickets on my preferred dates & routes, and was able to add on a leg from AKL-BNE.

    3. Franklyn Guest

      What airline points did you use to book. ANZ has been stingy releasing business premier seats to *A partners

    4. NK3 Gold

      @Franklyn I used Virgin Atlantic to book. Historically ANZ has been stingy, but this has not been true for the past year. Using seats.aero, you can see there is quite a bit of availability. This has been covered on this blog before (see article from 8/9/2023). Btw, I was able to add additional segments. I booked 2x SFO-AKL-BNE, and while VS charges miles by segment, I saved a decent amount of taxes booking it as one ticket.

  28. Reuben Guest

    In terms of being able to look out the window, Herringbone or Reverse it doesnt really matter because 95 percent of the time passangers dont even utilize such a feature and opt instead to just closing the window shades, the only times a window view is ever looked at is during takeoff and landing so in regards to that I dont see the issue.

    Now with privacy Air NZ is at a disadvantage with opting...

    In terms of being able to look out the window, Herringbone or Reverse it doesnt really matter because 95 percent of the time passangers dont even utilize such a feature and opt instead to just closing the window shades, the only times a window view is ever looked at is during takeoff and landing so in regards to that I dont see the issue.

    Now with privacy Air NZ is at a disadvantage with opting for this layout and I am not sure why they didnt impliment doors for every seat, but that is something they can add should they need to in future.

    In terms of seat design and colour schemes they did say there is still work to be done so perhaps we will see more updates when the product is completed.

    All in all Im still impressed with all the updates.

    1. glenn t Diamond

      What's with the purple 'ambient' lighting??
      Far from finding it relaxing, it reminds me of a 1960s disco (minus the mirror ball) or a giant tanning lounge.
      I notice Virgin is keen o this colour also. Yuk.....

  29. Bob Guest

    Actually, I have to disagree with the comments regarding the faults against going with herringbone rather than reverse herringbone; I think this sort of style of seat (including VS and QR new J class in the centre) combines the positive aspects of both styles with the added space and storage of a reverse herringbone.

    One of the main benefits of a herringbone which I prefer over a reverse herringbone is the privacy when working on...

    Actually, I have to disagree with the comments regarding the faults against going with herringbone rather than reverse herringbone; I think this sort of style of seat (including VS and QR new J class in the centre) combines the positive aspects of both styles with the added space and storage of a reverse herringbone.

    One of the main benefits of a herringbone which I prefer over a reverse herringbone is the privacy when working on the computer, knowing no one can peak at my screen from the aisle since it's facing away. It also seems that this seat isn't as angle as a typical herringbone which negates the difficulty of looking out the window

  30. reddargon Diamond

    Agree with the other comments regarding herringbone, I'm not sure why they just didn't go with reverse herringbone. As for lack of doors, while I would normally say doors are a borderline useless feature but herringbone seats are the one place that they might be nice given that you are positioned to stare straight into the aisle otherwise.

  31. MurrayF Member

    I guess they should get Lufthansa's % star rating now that Air NZ is promising a "great' new product in several years.

    Seriously why not just sign up for the apex seat, kiwis hate being in tight foot boxes for sleeping which is prob why we are happy enough with the current seat.

    What a waste of 170,000 hours and 5 years.

    1. MurrayF Member

      oops, 5 star not % star

  32. Alan1 Guest

    All that time studying and developing this new business seat….and they stick with regular herringbone???? Incredibly disappointing and a head scratcher. There’s a reason regular herringbone is rarely seen anymore nowadays.

    1. Diane elliott Guest

      It has to be better than the current coffin class,that, is truly awful staring at other people's feet ,and jammed in like a sardine.

    2. Stephen787_10 New Member

      Wait do people not like herringbone? Keep in mind this is not their old 1-1-1 coffin herringbone, this is 1-2-1, effectively just a reverse herringbone in reverse. Virgin Atlantic uses it and it doesn't look bad at all. Maybe they could add a door but otherwise it is pretty standard.

  33. Mantis Guest

    Great, another obscure product I'll never try because they never have award availability. Maybe change the blog title to one dollar at a time?

  34. Anthony Guest

    An EIS of 2024! That should be the headline here.

    Considering NZ started work on this in 2017, first viewed this off-the-shelf product in 2019 and is looking at finally rolling it out in 2024, one wonders what they've been doing. Seven years to install a product that is, for all intents and purposes, not bespoke is....not exactly agile. And to think their current J product will be 24 years old by then!

    Bizarre. But...

    An EIS of 2024! That should be the headline here.

    Considering NZ started work on this in 2017, first viewed this off-the-shelf product in 2019 and is looking at finally rolling it out in 2024, one wonders what they've been doing. Seven years to install a product that is, for all intents and purposes, not bespoke is....not exactly agile. And to think their current J product will be 24 years old by then!

    Bizarre. But then again, I think Air New Zealand is probably one of the most overrated airlines out there. They seem to spend most of their time indulging in self-congratulation rather than actually getting things done.

  35. KATA Gold

    It looks like JetBlue’s TATL cabin but without doors…

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.

Alan1 Guest

All that time studying and developing this new business seat….and they stick with regular herringbone???? Incredibly disappointing and a head scratcher. There’s a reason regular herringbone is rarely seen anymore nowadays.

5
Morgan Diamond

For those saying there is no armrest is complete garbage. You can see a cut out on the window side next to the seat that is clearly an armrest that goes up and down (as seen on several other business class products). And on the aisle side due to the angle of the photo the table is blocking what is sure to be a hidden recessed armrest. Does anyone really think an airline (especially a reputable and large-ish one) would introduce a seat without them?!?

3
TravelCat2 Diamond

It doesn't look like these seats have armrests. I can't imagine enduring a long haul flight without armrests.

3
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