Air New Zealand flies 5 times per day between Auckland and Sydney. Four of these daily flights are on wide-body aircraft featuring Economy, Premium Economy and Business Class. In this review, we check out Air New Zealand’s Boeing 777 Premium Economy Class across the Tasman.
|Route||Auckland (AKL) to Sydney (SYD)|
|Aircraft type||Boeing 777-200|
|Class of travel||Premium Economy|
|Route on-time performance||78% (my flight arrived on time)|
This flight cost $270 one-way for an Economy ticket. I placed a bid of $95, which was the minimum amount, to upgrade to Premium Economy using Air New Zealand’s OneUp upgrade bidding system and my offer was accepted.
Normally as a Premium Economy passenger, you wouldn’t be entitled to lounge access. However, thanks to my Star Alliance Gold status, I was able to use the Air New Zealand Lounge and the premium check-in service in Auckland. So, admittedly, my opinion of the Air New Zealand airport experience might be a little biased.
Air New Zealand’s premium check-in area, located at the far end of the hall near International Arrivals, is fantastic. Upon entering the room, an Air New Zealand staff member immediately checks me in and takes my suitcase. From there, I can take an elevator directly to the immigration express lane and I’m through immigration & security in no time.
The Air New Zealand international lounge in Auckland is very quiet when I arrive at 5.30am, but quickly fills up. It’s a very nice lounge with some good food and drink options and plenty of different seating areas, as well as shower suites. My personal favourite place to sit is the covered outdoor terrace.
There is some great plane-spotting available from this lounge, and I can see the all-black Boeing 777 that will operate my flight to Sydney.
In this lounge I particularly like the barista coffee ordering system and the “plate of the day” that is prepared in front of you by a chef.
The Hard Product
I find the Air New Zealand Premium Economy seat on the Boeing 777-200 to be very good. The comfortable leather seats are laid out in a 2-4-2 configuration and the seat is sufficiently wide, with plenty of legroom.
Free wifi is available on this aircraft and the Air New Zealand in-flight entertainment selection is fantastic. There is an impressive variety of movies, TV and music content from all over the world, as well as some classic Kiwi TV shows like The Brokenwood Mysteries. I love the many music playlists, which I’m able to listen to using the airline-provided noise-cancelling headphones.
At the start of the flight, the audio on my in-flight entertainment system wasn’t working. But this was promptly fixed by the crew with a system reset.
The Soft Product
Speaking of the crew, they were great too! There were two dedicated cabin crew members looking after Premium Economy and they were friendly and engaging.
No amenity kits are provided on this 3-hour flight, but hot towels and menus were handout out before take-off. Here’s the breakfast menu for today’s flight:
After take-off, a welcome drink was offered of orange juice or – despite the early hour – sparkling wine. Breakfast was then served.
As far as breakfast on airplanes goes, this was pretty good. There was a fruit bowl and cereal to start…
This was followed by warm waffles and a croissant…
The crew offered tea and coffee later in the flight, and I’m sure they would have been happy to provide anything else I wanted if I’d asked.
Air New Zealand Boeing 777 Premium Economy
I find it difficult to fault Air New Zealand’s Premium Economy service. The seat was comfortable, the food was good and the crew were engaging. This was a very nice flight.