Air New Zealand has received the first of its new-look B787-9 Dreamliners, the same day that it has begun its rollout of in-flight wifi across its international fleet.
The delivery of the new Dreamliner – the airline’s 10th overall – is good news for business travellers as Air New Zealand has configured these with additional premium seating. Business Premier has gone from 18 to 27 seats, while premium economy now has 33 seats compared to the previous 21. In total, the airline will take delivery of four aircraft utilising this new configuration.
“Since we introduced the Dreamliner, we have seen strong customer demand for our award-winning Business Premier and premium economy cabins and the products and service that come with these,” said Mike Tod, the airline’s chief marketing and customer officer. Air New Zealand was the launch customer for the B787-9 Dreamliner in 2014.
The aircraft is scheduled to begin flying starting this Sunday, October 15, flying to Sydney from Auckland, though this will only last for a few months. Starting December, the aircraft will fly Air New Zealand’s Houston route.
Long-haul travellers flying on the airline’s B777-300 aircraft, meanwhile, can also look forward to new features in the form of in-flight wifi. Air New Zealand will be rolling out the facility across its international fleet, though at the moment this is just taking the form of a trial on a single B777-300 aircraft. Additional jets will be receiving the facility over the next couple of months.
“We’re launching inflight wifi as a trial initially in order to gather customer feedback and ensure it meets the needs of our customers before we roll it our across our international jet fleet,” said Avi Golan, chief digital officer for the airline. Golan added that full wifi rollout across the B777-300 fleet is expected to be completed by June next year, while its B777-200s will begin rolling out the service next April.
No price point has yet been established for the service – Golan notes that the trial will “gather feedback on pricing options” in addition to testing the feature’s technical aspects. However, travellers will be able to choose between a few different time frames, and Airpoints Dollars can be used to pay for the service.
Golan Added: “Looking ahead, we’re keen to actively explore new content opportunities and will also make Air New Zealand’s friendly chatbot, Oscar, available to help assist passengers to resolve any travel related questions during their journey.”