Air New Zealand Unveils Refreshed Long-Haul Cabins

Air New Zealand's new Boeing 787 Business Class will arrive in 2024
Air New Zealand’s new Boeing 787 Business Class will arrive in 2024. Photo: Air New Zealand.

Air New Zealand has revealed the new Business Class and Premium Economy seats that it will install on its long-haul fleet of Boeing 787 aircraft from 2024. The new cabins are set to offer a markedly better experience for passengers, particularly in “Business Premier”. The airline is also proceeding with plans to install bunk beds for use by Economy passengers on ultra long-haul flights.

The new aircraft interiors are designed to help Air New Zealand customers maximise their sleep on long-haul flights.

As well as destinations in Australia, Asia and the Pacific, Air New Zealand currently flies Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners from Auckland to North American destinations including Los Angeles, San Francisco and Vancouver. The airline will restart direct flights to Houston next week, to Chicago in October, and will launch non-stop Auckland-New York flights from 17 September 2022.

The Star Alliance member also has eight new Boeing 787-10 Dreamliners on order from Boeing, which are due to arrive from 2024 and will be fitted with the new, upgraded interiors. Air New Zealand will also progressively retrofit its current 787-9 fleet with the new seats.

Once the cabin upgrades are completed, Air New Zealand will have two Boeing 787 cabin configurations. The ultra-longhaul version will feature more premium seats and Skynest sleep pods with the following configuration:

  • 8 Business Premier Luxe suites
  • 42 Business Premier seats
  • 52 Premium Economy seats
  • 125 Economy seats
  • 6 Skynest sleep pods

The mid-haul configuration, which is more commonly used on flights from New Zealand to Australia and Pacific Island destinations, will feature the following configuration:

  • 4 Business Premier Luxe suites
  • 22 Business Premier seats
  • 33 Premium Economy seats
  • 213 Economy seats

Air New Zealand also has Boeing 777-300s in its fleet but retired its other wide-body aircraft type, the Boeing 777-200, during the pandemic.

Air New Zealand’s new Business Class

From 2024, Air New Zealand will offer a significantly improved Business Class seat with increased space, privacy and direct aisle access for all passengers. The seats will be laid out in a staggered 1-2-1 configuration, with the option for couples sitting in some of the middle seat pairs to lower the privacy divider in order to share their onboard experience.

Air New Zealand's new Business Class seat
Air New Zealand’s new Business Premier seat. Photo: Air New Zealand.

This new product should be a significant improvement over Air New Zealand’s current herringbone Business Premier product, which lacks privacy, space and faces away from the windows.

Air New Zealand 787 Business Premier seat
Air New Zealand’s current Boeing 787 Business Premier seat. Photo: Matt Graham.

The first row in each Business cabin will be designated as Business Premier Luxe and will presumably be available to select for an additional charge. The actual seat and service will be the same in Business Premier Luxe as in Business Premier, but there will be a sliding door for extra privacy and additional space due to the bulkhead in front.

These seats will also be able to accommodate couples wishing to dine together – similar to the current Qantas A380 First Class suites or JetBlue’s A321 Mint Studio product on its trans-Atlantic flights.

Air NZ CEO Greg Foran and Chief Customer and Sales Officer Leanne Geraghty in the new Business Premier Suite.
Air NZ CEO Greg Foran and Chief Customer and Sales Officer Leanne Geraghty in the new Business Premier Suite. Photo: Air New Zealand.

Air New Zealand’s new Premium Economy

Air New Zealand has also overhauled its Premium Economy seat with a new design that the airline says offers more privacy. The seats will have a new design where reclining the seat will not interfere with the passenger seated in the row behind. (In practice, this doesn’t always work well as it often just means that reclining your seat merely slides your seat cushion forward, reducing your own space – but it could be a good thing if designed properly.)

Air New Zealand's new Premium Economy Class
Air New Zealand’s new Premium Economy Class. Photo: Air New Zealand.

Air New Zealand’s current Premium Economy product is already pretty solid.

New Economy Skynest

Air New Zealand previously unveiled its unique Skynest concept just before the pandemic. attracting global headlines. This is now set to become a reality for Economy passengers on ultra long-haul flights from 2024.

For an additional fee, Economy passengers on Air New Zealand will be able to book a time slot in one of the six Economy Skynest bunk beds at the back of the Economy cabin.

Air New Zealand Skynest with passengers
Air New Zealand Skynest with passengers. Photo: Air New Zealand.

Air New Zealand will also continue to offer extra legroom and Economy Skycouch seats on its Boeing 787. However, with a 3-3-3 configuration on the Boeing 787, these seats will still be quite narrow.

The airline is also introducing a “Sky Pantry” with self-service snacks for customers in Economy and Premium Economy.

 

Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: New AirNZ Cabins

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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]

Community Comments

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Business class still faces in. What are they thinking??

Reply 4 Likes

A bunch of new offerings that won't be available for at least 2 years.

Skynest - book up to 4 hours in a sleep pod.
Economy stretch - rebranded exit row.
Economy - wider screen, new seatback pocket.
Economy plus - hard shell so recline by sliding seat bottom forward. No more invading space of pax behind you.
Sky pantry - self service snacks and drinks.
Business Premiere - reduced angle seat with privacy screen.
Business Luxe - small suite with door.

Reply Like

Business class still faces in. What are they thinking??

It looks like an alternating in-out angle. The seats in front and behind the one posted look like the face towards the window?

Reply Like

Oh look, an actual Mini-First Class™

Reply 1 Like

Im curious about the Y Skynest but read you can only book 4hrs at a time. Screw that, I'll pay for the entire flight if I couldnt get J 🤣

View image at the forums

Reply Like

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Im curious about the Y Skynest but read you can only book 4hrs at a time. Screw that, I'll pay for the entire flight if I couldnt get J 🤣

Wonder if you booked 2 seats you'd get 2 sessions?

Given I'd rarely get more than 3 hrs sleep on a plane in J, the permanent economy-beds look a better option than a coverted J bed, esp with one of my mini-mattresses!

There's a video of the set-up amongst the 'sharefile' download in the OP.

Reply Like

It looks like an alternating in-out angle. The seats in front and behind the one posted look like the face towards the window?

More pictures on Exective Traveller. Looks like they all face outwards to me, an evolution on the herringbone concept, but with additional space. Some of which was created through the use of foot cubbies. Revealed: Air New Zealand Boeing 787 Business Premier Luxe suites

Maybe a variant of VantageSolo? VantageSolo | Thompson Aero

Reply 2 Likes

Im curious about the Y Skynest but read you can only book 4hrs at a time. Screw that, I'll pay for the entire flight if I couldnt get J 🤣

View attachment 283335

Yeah, no. This will get ripped out to be replaced with more seats soon enough.

Reply 2 Likes

click to expand...

More pictures on Exective Traveller. Looks like they all face outwards to me, an evolution on the herringbone concept, but with additional space. Some of which was created through the use of foot cubbies. Revealed: Air New Zealand Boeing 787 Business Premier Luxe suites

Maybe a variant of VantageSolo? VantageSolo | Thompson Aero

👍

Haha… love the ‘customer feedback’ that doesn’t want a wardrobe or mini bar! The front suite/seat is plenty big enough for both.

Reply Like

click to expand...

Im curious about the Y Skynest but read you can only book 4hrs at a time. Screw that, I'll pay for the entire flight if I couldnt get J 🤣

View attachment 283335

Look disturbingly close to other randoms …. Mmmm no thanks

Reply 1 Like

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