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 seat, though the airline has publicly revealed almost no details. We now finally have a sense of what to expect, thanks to a regulatory filing from the airline, as first noted by paxex.aero.

Air New Zealand’s new Business Premier seats

There’s a lot that goes into developing a new seat, and Air New Zealand has just filed with the United States Department of Transportation regarding its new seat. Specifically, the airline is seeking approval for the accessibility features of its new seats prior to installing these seats. And interestingly this filing contains all kinds of (low resolution) pictures of the seats. So we now know what to expect.

To start, here is a seatmap of Air New Zealand’s new business class cabin on the Boeing 787-9, which will feature 42 seats in a 1-2-1 configuration.

According to the filing, seats will be 20.5″ wide, and will turn into 80.25″ flat beds. Furthermore, seat pitch will be 45″, with each seat being aligned at a 24 degree angle to the aircraft fuselage. It doesn’t appear that the standard business class seats will have doors.

I’m really confused, because it would appear that Air New Zealand has selected herringbone seats (meaning all seats face away from the windows and toward the aisles), which is a puzzling choice.

Air New Zealand’s new Business Premier seat

Based on what we know so far, I can’t quite make out what seat manufacturer Air New Zealand will be using. Is this some sort of modified Adient Ascent seat, similar to Qatar Airways’ new 787-9 business class, and what Hawaiian Airlines will introduce on its 787-9s? That’s my best guess…

Air New Zealand’s new Business Premier Luxe seats

Here’s another interesting angle. We’ve known that Air New Zealand plans to introduce a “premium” business class in the first row of the cabin, as frequent flyers had been surveyed about a potential name for this going as far back as 2020.

It seems that this is happening, and that there will be four Business Premier Luxe seats, located in the first row of the cabin. The seats will be in a 1-2-1 configuration, but will feature more space. According to the filing, the first row of seats will feature more space, a door, and a larger ottoman.

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

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 requesting approval for the accessibility features of these new seats by April 2022, so it sounds like we should expect these seats to be installed on planes in the coming months, based on that timeline.

The filing refers specifically to Boeing 787-9s, so it would appear that Air New Zealand’s plan is to first reconfigure existing planes with these new seats. Air New Zealand has a fleet of 14 Boeing 787-9s, so who knows, maybe it’s not out of the question that the new cabins could debut in time for the September 2022 launch of Auckland to New York flights.

Air New Zealand also has eight Boeing 787-10s on order, which should be delivered starting in 2024. I would imagine that these planes will also get the new seats, though they won’t be used for ultra long haul flights (as the 787-10 has less range than the 787-9).

Air New Zealand has Boeing 787-10s on order

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.

That being said, I’m rather underwhelmed by what we’ve seen so far about Air New Zealand’s new business class. Let me of course acknowledge that all we’ve seen so far are small pictures with a prototype of the product, so I imagine the cabin finishes will likely be more interesting in reality, and perhaps higher quality pictures will reveal more features.

A few thoughts:

  • Air New Zealand plans to significantly increase premium capacity; currently 787-9s feature up to 27 business class seats, while in the future the airline plans to have 42 business class seats
  • I’m puzzled by Air New Zealand’s choice to seemingly exclusively introduce herringbone seats (meaning all passengers will face the aisle), when reverse herringbone seats are much more popular with consumers
  • I’m surprised that Air New Zealand won’t be installing doors in business class seats, except in the first row

So while I do think Air New Zealand’s new business class product looks like an improvement, it’s not exactly an impressive product, considering that this is only starting to be rolled out in 2022 at the earliest.

Bottom line

Air New Zealand is inching closer to introducing its new business class product. In regulatory filings, the airline has revealed details of its new business class, which could debut on select Boeing 787-9s as early as this year.

With this new product, Air New Zealand will significantly be increasing premium capacity, and we can expect 42 business class seats per aircraft, compared to the current 18-27 business class seats.

Based on what we know so far, Air New Zealand’s new business class will consist of herringbone seats, with the first row of four seats being special seats known as Business Premier Luxe. Only those four seats are expected to feature doors.

It seems like Air New Zealand won’t really be revolutionizing with these new cabins, but it should still represent a nice improvement.

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

Conversations (25)
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  1. Rachel Guest

    I can't stand the current layout of business class seats with the seats facing the aisle plus you can't see out the window as you are seated away from the window, plus no privacy, you are basically looking at the person in the next seat as well as across the aisle from you. Also couples traveling together who want to sit together can't with this layout. I have instructed my travel agent to never book...

    I can't stand the current layout of business class seats with the seats facing the aisle plus you can't see out the window as you are seated away from the window, plus no privacy, you are basically looking at the person in the next seat as well as across the aisle from you. Also couples traveling together who want to sit together can't with this layout. I have instructed my travel agent to never book air new zealand for this very reason. We are traveling from New Zealand back to the west coast early in 2024. Let's hope that air new zealand makes some positive changes to their business class cabins before then because they have the most nonstop connections from auckland to West coast. Maybe we will reconsider if changes are made for the better.

  2. Gabriel Guest

    China Eastern has the same concept, where their 787's "first class" is essentially an extra large business seat with a bit more length and not having another seat protruding into your space.

  3. Steven E Guest

    NZ loves seats facing this way , Im wondering whether they researched clients because I dont think Ive ever read a positive remark about their existing seats, a new seat which seems almost outdated already, this would have been a great chance for something really outstanding because they are a great airline

  4. James Guest

    Interesting how many negative comments there are about facing away from the windows and towards the aisle, reading the article it appears to have a 24 degree angle. I just turned my body away from a window to roughly 24 degrees, personally I felt it to be fine compared to other angle business class seats I have flown on.

    Look forward to hearing and seeing more of this new offer.

  5. AyL Guest

    this airline is seriously overrated and overhyped

  6. Kyalo Guest

    Maybe NZ is the launch customer of the 787-10ER... They wanted to fly the -10s to JFK

  7. Chucky Guest

    Won’t there by 8 business premiere luxe seats (not just 4)? 4 in the front cabin behind the first set of doors and then another 4 behind the second set of doors?

    1. Gabriel Guest

      If you look at the seat map, only the window bulkhead seats has the extra space.

  8. Andy Guest

    i thought this was an early April Fool's joke based off the pictures in this post

  9. FR Guest

    I much prefer facing the aisle to that I am close to the window (better view) and IMO doors in business class are just a gimmick. Don't really add much.

  10. Steve Diamond

    Doors seem like a cool idea but every review i see theres always something wrong with the door or a complaint that it doesnt close all the way.

    Also who is NZ competing with, you either want to go to New Zealand or you dont, its not like they have to have a revolutionary product to attract people to their country and use their airline, you dont really have a choice, so this seems a perfectly reasonable seat.

    1. Never In Doubt Guest

      “Also who is NZ competing with”

      You read a points & miles blog. You cannot possibly be that ignorant.

      From SFO they compete nonstop with United. From LAX, American. Other cities, other competition.

    2. vbscript2 Guest

      ANZ doesn't really 'compete' with United, per se. Their USA-NZ routes are operated as a joint venture.

  11. Frederik Guest

    It is very unoriginal, and by 2030 despite now being a new product it might well be showing it’s age. Am I the only one who likes backward facing window business class seats. Loved these on Korean and BA on the 747s. Do American or Delta also do any backward facing business class seats?

    1. 305 Guest

      AA does and they're a MUST avoid. Not because they're rear facing, but due to the seat design where every front-back pair is attached to one another. If you neighbor is moving in their seat, you feel every motion. Impossible to get a decent sleep in those seats.

    2. Aggie57 Guest

      American uses 787-9’s to NZ, individual reverse herringbone seats. Much better than the Air NZ product.

    3. vbscript2 Guest

      Delta doesn't have any rear-facing business-class seats (and hasn't for at least many years.) I don't think they have any rear-facing seats at all, aside from crew jump seats.

    4. Chris Topher New Member

      I also enjoy backward facing seats; I always get much more sleep when facing backwards. AA has backward facing seats on some 777-200 & 787-8s, called Zodiac. However, you won't typically know which config a flight has until the seatmap is updated a day or two before departure. As 305 mentioned, some are linked to adjoining seats, but some in first & last rows don't have this setup.

  12. pstm91 Diamond

    I've just thought of a really great name for that "premium" first row of seats. It's a little out-of-the-box, so please ponder it over...

    First Class.

    1. Clem Diamond

      I think it's because it will likely have the same food/service as the other business class seats (kind of like JetBlue with the Mint Studio). The premium is just for the extra space.

  13. John T Guest

    You'd think they would learn from their mistake with their current generation seats that window passengers don't want to face away from the aisle. I cannot fathom what seat designer ever thought that would be popular with passengers. Why bother having windows??

  14. Peter Guest

    Only worthwhile if they bring back Rico as entertainment.

  15. Drew Guest

    Continued use of herringbone seating that leaves you exposed to the aisles for the whole flight and requires you to crane your neck to see out the window will keep me on AC and UA. Very disappointed.

  16. UK Guest

    Herringbone? Ugh. What an awkward arrangement. Been there done that on a long AKL-ORD flight. Blech.

  17. Markus Guest

    Seems to be on of only a few of the newer business class seats where you can transfer from an aisle chair. So thumbs up!

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Clem Diamond

I think it's because it will likely have the same food/service as the other business class seats (kind of like JetBlue with the Mint Studio). The premium is just for the extra space.

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Never In Doubt Guest

“Also who is NZ competing with” You read a points & miles blog. You cannot possibly be that ignorant. From SFO they compete nonstop with United. From LAX, American. Other cities, other competition.

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Frederik Guest

It is very unoriginal, and by 2030 despite now being a new product it might well be showing it’s age. Am I the only one who likes backward facing window business class seats. Loved these on Korean and BA on the 747s. Do American or Delta also do any backward facing business class seats?

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