Flew this trip from London to LA (and then on to Auckland).
Overall, the experience was very good. The staff were on the first leg were very attentive and friendly (from LA to Auckland they seemed somewhat less attentive and, if I may say, rather sullen… but this was an overnight flight, so maybe they just expected everyone to sleep and so leave them alone).
This flight featured their new lie-flat business class seat which was set up in a 1-2-1 configuration with the seats at a diagonal angle pointing into the aisles (much like Virgin’s Upper Class). Unlike the BA business seat this converts into a fully-flat bed by by bringing the back of the seat forward so you lie on the reverse of the seat back (whereas BA reclines so you lie on the same part of the seat as you back rests while sitting).
This appeared to make no difference to the sleeping comfort, buit I founfd it damn awkward for sitting. One of the great things with a reclining seat (like BA) is that you can raise the seat slightly from flat to give you that ‘reading in bed’ position; however with this seat you have a recline similar to an old business seat and then a complete shift to fully flat.
The ‘seated’ part of the chair is also rather narrow so the overall experience feess rather tight – though not to much of an issue when lying donw. Also, rather oddly, the little tray to hold drinks is situated slightly behind your seated position, requiring you to contort your body to gat access to it (or what’s on it). There’s also limited in-seat storeage – enough for a book and a pair of shoes. Not a bad seat, but there’s better in the market.
Amenities were fine. They included moisturiser, eye cream and lip balm, all by La Prarie. Theres an eye mask (with rather fun prints on the front; on my flights I got the eyes of the Mona Lisa and also an image of sliced cucumbers – all said, it put a smile on my face!). some rather funky striped socks as well, though these seemed a bit small (I’m a UK size 10). All of these were presented in a branded cardboard box; ANZ having done away with the amentiy bags; which I’m not sure I like or not.
The food and drinks were lovely. There’s a lovely booklet given to you on NEw Zealand wines and indicating where the flight’s wines have come from and information about the region and the winery. Unfortunately the booklet indicates a much wider range of wines than are available on your flight and there’s no information telling you what your flight has in available… so I ended up salivating at the thought of 2 wines, neither of which were available (though the ones I got were very good).
Food was well presented, cooked well and of a decent portion size. THey also provided an ‘english cream tea’ with sandwiched, scones, cream and jam… which made my day (how come a NZ flight comes up with an English tea?)
Not the best out there, but very good. One thing that annoyed my was that the headphones given used the 2-pin socket, so I couldn’t use my own noise cancelling headphones. That said, there’s were perfectly adequate. The screen is a decent size and there was a good selection of films and TV programmes; some of which offered you multiple episondes, others only one… there was no reason given as to why some were limited to one or two episodes, so that was a bit of a diasppointment.
The music section was good, however, if you chose to listen to something and then switched to the map service, you’re music choice was replaced by their ‘preferred channel’. I found this frustrating, as I like to listen to music while reading a book and tend to keep a track of progress on the map (and this couldn’t be done).
As mentioned, this was very good on leg one, and less so on leg two. Saying that, the services was not bad on either leg.
I’d rate this about 7/10. It’s not the best business serivce I have experienced, and a long way from the worst (return journey via SFO, I had to switch to a United Airlines flight to LHR… another review on that later – but not very good). It’s a comfortable, if not practical or flexible, seat with a decent on demand entertainment system and good food. I’d fly them again and a great chjoice to californias if your alternative is a US airline.