I flew from Zurich to Auckland… this flight was in connection with my Zurich-Shanghai flight (and following a full day lay-over in Shanghai).
Check-in and Airport:
I had already check-in in Zurich but since I like to have the boarding pass issued by the operating airline, I went to the check-in counter to have it re-printed. Lucky I did so as one of my 2 bags had to be "checked" for some stupid security reason (I had a sailing life-vest packed which they wanted to see). Once done, I could get my new boarding pass (and be sure both my checked bag would be on the flight).
Security and immigration was… well… quite standard. The only draw back is the lack of a "fast track" lane for premium passenger
Air New Zealand premium passengers are invited to use the Air China Business Class lounge (near gate 71). Although the Lounge is quite large the look and design of it feels very cold. Food on offering acceptable but drink choice quite poor.
Smooth and quite fast as premium passengers (Business Premier and Premium Economy + Star Alliance Gold) are called first.
The configuration of Business Premier on the brand new 787-9 is 6 row of 1/1-1. Due to herringbone configuration, people seating in A seats are "facing" the back of the J seats. J-seast and K-seats are "facing" each other.
The seat comfort (while seated) is quite good and there's plenty of space to stow your little items. the ottoman also makes a perfect foot rest. My only worry while seated was the dining table which could not be adjusted in height.
Once diner was over, it was "bed time". To change the seat into a bed one has to stand up (which may annoy some) as the seat back flings forward to create a fully lie flat (180°) bed. this process take about 30 seconds by a simple press of a button. A foam mattress (2-3cm thick) is provided and this makes for the (probably) most comfortable "bed" in the sky.
The on demand IFE has a very large choice of movie and TV show on offer. The touch screen makes it very easy to use. Screen width and high definition makes for an enjoyable experience.
Food & Drinks:
With a choice of 2 starter, 3 main dish and 2 desserts or cheese plate there something for everyone. Fresh and tasty servings were quite large. There's also a large choice of wine (New Zealand wine of course) and other beverage.
For breakfast there's plenty of choice of cold or hot meal, all served individually.
As we landed in Auckland roughly at the same time as 3 of Emirates A380, the arrival process took a little longer than I'm used too. Long queues at immigration but, the most noticeable drawback, very crowded baggage claim area.
I only noticed the difference with after the following long-haul (on a 777) but the brand new 787-9 and its higher cabin temperature and humidity makes for a very comfortable flight. Add to that the comfort of the seat/bed and it becomes very challenging to find alternative for a more restful flight.
On this specific flight Air New Zealand operates with a mixed crew and all of the Business Premier crew seemed to be chinese. Although they were helpful and kind the service was only "smart and international" and it lacked the famous "kiwi attitude" one would expect.
The second (biggest) draw back is the lack of amenities in the washroom. not even a paper cup for those wishing to brush their teeth.
If you have a chance to fly on Air New Zealand's 787-9… go for it!