Back in February this year, I was invited to attend the Aeroflot A350 delivery ceremony in Europe. I was in LA at that time and was looking to try a new airline to Europe. Air New Zealand came to my mind, as they were operating fifth freedom flights from LAX to London. Air New Zealand had also announced that they will be closing the LA to London route at the end of October, after 40 years of service. Therefore, this was probably a good last opportunity to try out the Air New Zealand Trans-Atlantic route.
Longest One Stop Flight in the World
The flight NZ2 originated from Auckland and arrived at LAX at around 13:55, it continued onto London Heathrow at 16:00. It is the longest one stop flight in the world, with a total distance just short of 12,000 miles! Air New Zealand use the Star Alliance Lounge at LAX.
Video of my Air New Zealand Flight
All Blacks B777-300/ER
My flight was operated by the special All Blacks B777-300/ER, registration ZK-OKQ. The livery is one of most striking ones that I have seen! The tail logo features the Koru, which is a symbol in Māori art, it symbolises new life, growth, strength and peace.
I was among the first to board flight NZ2 and had a quick glimpse of all the cabins. The Seat map of the Air New Zealand B777-300/ER can be found here.
|Class||Configuration||Seat pitch *|
|Business Premier||Rows 1 to 12 (44 seats)||Fully lie-flat bed|
|Premium Economy||Rows 23 to 30 (54 seats)||41 - 42” (104 - 106cm)|
|Economy||Rows 34 to 60 (244 seats)||31 - 33” (78 - 83cm)|
|Economy Skycouch™||Rows 37 to 46, seats ABC and HJK||32 - 33” (81 - 83cm)|
Business Class features herringbone seats that face each other, the seat is the same design as on the first generation Virgin Atlantic Business Class. There are 12 rows across 2 cabins, the second cabin is quieter with just 4 rows.
Premium Economy comes with a 2-4-2 configuration, with better leg room (41" seat pitch) than most other airlines Premium Economy (38" seat pitch).
Economy Class has standard leg room in a 10 abreast seat configuration (3-4-3).
My seat, 12K, was in the last row of Business Class. As the picture shows, the biggest problem on these original herringbone seats is privacy; when you are seated in the up right position, you face your neighbour from the other side. Other than that, the seat was very comfortable. It didn't feel tight across my (wide) shoulders.
We took off on-time, flying out of LAX on a nice sunny SoCal day. We departed runway 24L of LAX. Flight time to London was just under 10 hours; flying over Las Vegas, State of Utah, Canada and over the North Atlantic.
The service was very attentive Kara, the flight attendant on my aisle, took her time to chat with every passenger. The mood was excellent during the flight. About 1/3 of the passengers originated from Auckland, New Zealand and 2/3 from LA. My flight had 320 passengers in total.
Food and Beverage
Air New Zealand proudly serve New Zealand wine on their flight. I enjoyed a glass of Wairau River Chardonnay. Dinner was served in restaurant dining style, without the use of a tray.
There was a chef, in a black chef uniform, he took the food orders and recommend the lamb shank or the salmon.
I also checked out the meals being served in Premium Economy. It turned out that they had the same choice and quality as Business Class. The lamb shank dish looked particularly good; the colour on the salmon dish was also amazing. The food on Air New Zealand did not disappoint.
Not only was the internet complimentary, but the download speed was also very fast.
I went to Economy to check out the set up of Skycouch bed. The flight attendant pulled the lower leg rest up to form the bed basin. The Skycouch bed comes with its own bedding, blanket, pillow and seat belts. It can accommodate one adult and one child together.
I was particularly interested in the pricing of Skycouch, as it is somewhere between Economy and Premium Economy. The price of Economy one way, from LA to London, was $560 in advance booking, the Skycouch was $1,100; this was below Premium Economy which came in at $1,500. I think the price of the Skycouch is excellent for an entire row, especially on a busy flight.
My seat in Business Class could be converted into flat bed by flipping the seat back. Air New Zealand have some of the thickest and most comfortable mattress to go with the bed. I found that the bed was just long enough for my height (6"1 or 185cm). When I got to full flat on the bed, I could only see the overhead bins and the ceiling; I couldn't see any of the other passengers, like I could in the upright position.
It is interesting that on Air New Zealand both Business and Economy offer a flat bed option. Which one do you prefer?
Rest of The Flight
Breakfast was served about 2 hours before arriving into London. I particularly liked the fresh fruit yogurt, served in front of me.
My flight was very good in general on Air New Zealand. Here are some pros and cons from my own observations.
- The service was fantastic, the flight attendants paid good attention to every passenger and showed genuine spirit in delivering their service
- The food was of good quality. Premium Economy seems to have the same main courses as Business Class. NZ produced wine is fantastic!
- Free and Fast Wi-Fi
- Fantastic creativity on the safety video and product innovation like Skycouch
- The Business seats obvious lack of privacy. Also if you enjoy a window view, you would have to turn your head to see out the window like I often did throughout the flight
A sad note: The flight attendants on my flight were all based in the UK. Since Air New Zealand are terminating their London route in October, their days of flying this trip are very limited. I recently found out that the entire UK based cabin crew got terminated early due to the COVID-19 situation. My flight on Feb 26th was Kara's last flight (on the far right in the below shot).