Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Air New Zealand, the World's best airline?

I recently flew to Los Angeles with Air New Zealand and tried out their Premium Economy Spaceseat and Economy Skycouch services. For me, this airline has long led the way in passenger facilities and service, but its new aircraft fleet  of Boeing 777-300's is another level entirely.
The funky music playing in the toilets and the in seat ordering and texting was a first indicator that this flight may be a little different. After all, the simple act of ordering a hot drink and a snack from the comfort of my seat  gets a thumbs up from me for a start. The full menu was available for me to look at too, along with a host of other interesting flight tit bits to browse  if the mood takes.
The Premium Economy Spaceseat however was a triumph. Equal to many other business class seats, this was a revelation. A wide pod like seat with a full size comfy pillow and a bean bag to rest my feet on, it's an area designed for you to literally use as a temporary home. Snuggle up with both feet on the seat (there is enough space) or stretch out and use the bean bag to support your ankles.The seats along the centre of the cabin are designed with couples in mind, sharing the combined space for even more comfort, facing each other for a meal or lying together. True cuddleclass!

The Spaceseats seats don't recline, they don't need to, so no infringing of personal space from the person in front of you. The meals were very impressive: proper plates and cutlery, a great choice and good New Zealand wine to back it up. There's even the same choice of power as business class,  USB and world compatible sockets so no danger of batteries running dry.

Skycouch is simply a genius idea. Whether you're a couple looking for some extra space or you have restless kids this solution provides you with your own row of three economy seats. But this is where the clever bit comes in. The arm rests fold up and the foot rests come up level with your seat to create what is effectively a flat bed space. You get two full size pillows each and special belts to keep you secure while you're sleeping.
Air New Zealand has set the benchmark for comfort for all classes, not just for those passengers who turn left when they board. The Premium Economy fare can be double that of economy, but well worth the money in my book and considerably less than business class. Skycouch at around $200 extra per person is an absolute must for anyone flying economy. Is Air New Zealand the best airline in the world? It certainly is right up there.