Revealed: Air New Zealand’s New Business Class Seat

Revealed: Air New Zealand’s New Business Class Seat

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For a couple of years now we’ve known that Air New Zealand was working on developing a new business class product, and the airline has finally revealed the details of these cabins today. 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.

Air New Zealand’s new Business Premier seats

Air New Zealand has formally unveiled its 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).

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.

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 will be installing these new cabins as of 2024, so we’ll have to be patient:

  • Air New Zealand Boeing 787s delivered as of 2024 will feature these new cabins
  • Air New Zealand will retrofit existing Boeing 787s between 2024 and 2026
  • Air New Zealand won’t install these new cabins on Boeing 777s

So unfortunately this isn’t one of those cases where a cabin is announced and enters service within weeks. Rather we’ll have to be patient, and it’ll be a couple of years before we see any planes with these.

For context, Air New Zealand has a fleet of 14 Boeing 787s, with a further eight of these jets on order. I would imagine that Air New Zealand will prioritize these cabins for its longest flights, to Chicago and New York.

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)

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 has revealed the details of its new business class product, which represents 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. Unfortunately we’ll have to be patient, as it’ll be 2024 before the first aircraft features these seats, and it’ll only be in 2026 when all 787s have these cabins. At least that’s a pretty quick rollout once it gets underway.

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

Conversations (22)
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  1. IAN ASSUMPTION Guest

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

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. AyL Guest

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

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. DavidM Guest

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

    1. EBWaa Guest

      I believe they are from Safran.

  8. TravelCat2 Member

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

  9. 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.

  10. 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.....

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. 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?

  16. 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.

  17. KATA Member

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

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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.

2
TravelCat2 Member

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

1
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
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