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- Tried & Tested
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- Tried & Tested
I flew from Hong Kong to Auckland, and later (6 weeks later) Auckland to Los Angeles in premium economy.
I had come from London to HK on Virgin premium economy, and returned from LA – London on Virgin. This was my first experience flying Air NZ premium economy, having travelled business for the last few years on various carriers.
Overall I was very satisfied with the experience. The food was excellent (much better than Virgin), cabin staff were attentive but not intrusive, and the in-flight entertainment excellent. The seat was ok, with plenty of leg room, though perhaps not the most comfortable for sleeping.
The one drawback is perhaps cost. I am just looking to book for early next year, and the cost comes in only a few hundred pounds less than the cheapest business fares. I note with interest some of the negative reviews of the new space seat operating on some Air NZ services, so on balance may well end up paying the extra for a slightly more comfortable seat next year (i.e. business seat).
I would however say that premium economy offers a good alternative to those travelling long-haul whom want a more comfortable experience than economy, without wanting to pay the hefty extra of a business class fare.
Have to agree with you. With regards to the new SpaceSeat, it’s much better now Air NZ have removed a row of seating (previously it wasn’t really a premium seating experience unless you were under about 5’8”) but because it slides forward rather than reclining you still struggle to really stretch out if you are much over 6′ tall. I find it reasonably comfortable, if perhaps a bit firm for long haul flights. At least the new, more spacious seating layout (2x2x2) lends to a more premium experience.
The great food and new, superb entertainment system help take your mind off the seat whilst in the air. I’ve often found it’s a relatively cheap upgrade from Economy on LHR – LAX flights, very little more than United’s Economy Plus on that route (which doesn’t come with the premium check-in, upgraded seat, or upgraded food… or such good staff or in flight entertainment).
The only real problem is the cost on AKL – LAX or AKL – LHR routes. Since Air NZ have less competition on these routes the prices take a serious hike. If you can afford it, stick with their Business Premier (the new product is outstanding, one of the best business classes in the sky). If not then its a up to you to decide if the SpaceSeat is worth about twice as much as standard economy. I personally can’t make up my mind.