It said & # 39; premium economy & # 39; on my ticket, but frankly it looked more like business class.
I flew with Air New Zealand from London to Auckland and from the start it was clear why the airline's premium economy cabin regularly won the top position at the Skytrax World Airline Awards. It slipped to second place in 2018.
After settling into my big armchair-style chair, the 24-hour flight suddenly didn't seem so frightening …
THE LONG-HAUL PREMIUM ECONOMY EXPERIENCE
Sadie Whitelocks from MailOnline Travel traveled from London to Auckland with Air New Zealand in premium economy. Sadie said the headphones were pretty sturdy in premium economy (top left) and on the wide seats she could curl sideways to get some rest (right)
Sadie said there was enough room to stretch her legs in premium economy, even with her bag on the floor in front, above left. Right, Sadie got a kit with socks, a toothbrush, earplugs, an eye mask, a pen and a big tube & # 39; intensive & # 39; lip balm from Ashley & Co
I started my epic journey around the world on a Boeing 777-300ER from Heathrow on a Thursday at 3:30 PM.
The 24-hour trip would be aborted with a stop in Los Angeles, which hopefully would prevent the deep venous thrombosis from entering.
It was not too busy in the premium economy cabin with 54 seats and I had a window seat with a free space next to me.
Before taking off, the hut reaped all the fruits of first-class service with a glass of sparkling wine and orange juice. I surrendered to a glass of bubbles, but the pour was pretty sharp in taste and I couldn't finish it. Not off to a flying start then.
I also discovered a bottle of water and an (unbranded) service kit on my 19.3 inch wide armchair complete with socks, a toothbrush, earplugs, eye mask, a pen and a large tube & # 39; intensive & # 39; lip balm from Ashley & Co.
Shortly after the start, we were treated to dinner – and the meal service was quick and efficient. And what's more, the food was served on the correct crockery.
A friendly servant presented me a tray with smoked halibut, egg and apple salad.
I was then offered some bread, with the divine-smelling selection such as wholemeal, sunflower, sourdough and a few very sharp slices of garlic baguette.
In the premium economy cabin of Air New Zealand, the seats have almost 50 percent more backwards than in the economy. Other benefits are generous armrests, legrests and footrests
The premium economy cabin of Air New Zealand (photo) has regularly taken the top location of the Skytrax World Airline Awards
PREMIUM ECONOMY VS ECONOMY WITH AIR NEW ZEALAND
Premium Economy seats have a:
- 41 inch pitch
- Lean back 9 inches
- Width of 19.3 inches
- 5-inch wide armrest
- 11-inch wide-screen TV with touchscreen
Economy seats have a:
- 31-33 inch pitch
- Lean back 5-inches
- Width of 17.2 inches
- 9-inch wide-screen TV with touchscreen
The set also contained a small bottle of delicious, buttery extra virgin olive oil from Hawke's Bay on New Zealand's North Island.
After the starter plates were cleared, we could choose from three main courses on the menu.
There was beef cheek, Dijon mustard fried chicken and roast cod dressed in a rather fine-sounding & rosissa saffron sauce.
I chose the meat, which came with roasted carrots and turnips. The meat melted in my mouth and I enjoyed the medley more than expected.
The meal was rounded off with some cheddar cheese, crackers and a wedge of spiced maple pear cheesecake.
I washed everything down with a Johnnie Walker Red Label whiskey – my secret to sleeping on flights – but I had the impressive selection of New Zealand wine on offer.
Because I watered and fed myself well, I went to watch a few films.
The entertainment offer with Air Zealand in the long term is the same from economy to business class and there is an impressive selection of films, TV shows and music.
After watching a few new releases, I sneaked to the bathroom before going to sleep.
For dinner in the premium economy, Sadie opted for beef cheek with roasted carrots and turnips as main course (left). Thick slices of bread were also served with small bottles of extra virgin olive oil (right)
Before they arrived in Los Angeles, the smell of breakfast awoke Sadie from sleep. She had a fresh fruit salad, left, followed by creamy scrambled eggs on top of a roasted muffin with corned beef hash cakes on the side (right)
The premium economy section has special toilets, which are quite spacious and decked out with a bookshelf print wallpaper, which gives it a bit of a quirky edge.
However, there was no nice hand lotion or air odor that other airlines usually offer in the premium cabins.
When I ventured back to my chair, I noticed that the premium chair was wide enough to crawl into a fetal position. He also went back nine centimeters.
I found it fairly easy to sleep and fall asleep and I managed to rest well until we arrived in Los Angeles.
It was the smell of breakfast that woke me up – fruit salad followed by creamy scrambled eggs on top of a roasted muffin with corned beef hash cakes on the side.
It is not a traditional morning snack, but we were also offered donuts with roasted peach and coconut pudding and they proved too tempting to resist.
Sadie said she was impressed by the large porcelain cups in premium economy (left) and the donuts that were offered proved too good to resist (right)
After a fairly hectic transit through the Bradley International airport (which helped to get the donuts loose), I boarded the next flight to Auckland, which would take 12 hours and 30 minutes.
This flight followed almost the same format as my first flight, but this time I gave the vegetarian menu a whirl.
The food was just as tasty as on the first leg, but the ingredients were not on the menu. And when I asked the flight attendant what I was eating, she was not very helpful.
& # 39; It looks like spinach and beans. You asked me to be funny, & she replied. I did not really appreciate this reaction and I am sure that people with serious nutritional requirements want to know what they are going to consume.
Anyway, thanks to the comfortable chair I was able to rest well before I arrived in Auckland at a quarter to eight. The friend who met me even noticed how fresh I looked!
IN THE ECONOMY CABIN TRAVELING LONG-HAUL
In an attempt to test Air New Zealand's economic offer in the long term, I switched homes on my return trip from Los Angeles to London.
I grabbed a seat with a central aisle and luckily the seat next to me was free.
I was immediately aware of the downgrade. Sparkling wine offered? No. Water and supply kit waiting for me in the seat? No.
From LA to London, Sadie switched from cabin to basic economy. Left, Sadie with baggy headphones and right, a shot with the legroom
On the food front, Sadie said there were no printed menus in the booth of the basic economy and she was given a simple choice of & # 39; chicken or beef & # 39; after taking off. Sadie melted in front of the beef dish, with the hot dinner in a plastic container
The pillows were also less plump and I could no longer comfortably fix up sideways.
On the food front there were no printed menus & we were given a simple choice of & # 39; chicken or beef & # 39; after taking off.
With more seats to serve – a total of 244 in a three-four-three configuration – the service was slower than in premium.
The food from the basic economy was still tasty, but less refined and more related to school dinners than restaurant standard.
The coffee mugs in the simple economy booth were made of plastic (left) and Sadie said the food was more akin to school meals than restaurant standards. The breakfast consisted of eggs, a tomato and fried potato nuggets (right)
There were a total of 244 seats in the basic economy cabin in a three-four-three configuration
Sadie threw and turned into economics, but said she was impressed by the number of films being offered
Instead of cutlery there was plastic cutlery and foil / plastic dishes instead of porcelain crockery.
The coffee mugs were also plastic, while those were premium porcelain with the right handles and very large according to aircraft standards.
When it came to the entertainment systems, the selection for TV, film and music was exactly the same, but we got a flimper headset and the screens were slightly smaller.
However, there was a power outlet for the plug in the back of the seat under the USB slot and the headphone port – which was very handy for charging my laptop.
After watching a few movies, I found it much harder to sleep – even after a few whiskeys! – since the chair turned out to be quite stiff and had less than half the backrest than in a premium economy on five inches.
After I had thrown and turned for about five hours, I ended up at London Heathrow, feeling a little weepy and cranky.
Air New Zealand flies daily from London Heathrow to New Zealand via Los Angeles. The airline also operates through alternative gateways in collaboration with its partner airlines
The striking plus points in the premium economy cabin were the soft seat and the fine food. However, Air New Zealand lost a few brownie points for the somewhat out of service on the second leg of my trip and the not-so-quaffable sparkling wine.
While the seats of the economy led me to throw and turn, there were a few pros. The standard cabin I had traveled in had a very impressive selection of films and the service was first class.
So is it worthwhile to upgrade for a long trip?
From the experiences described here, even if it is more than three times the money, I would say that an upgrade could be worth the money. Especially with a trip to the other side of the world!
But beware, it doesn't matter which class you are traveling in, traveling through Los Angeles during an Air New Zealand trip is quite a nightmare. There were confused travelers everywhere …
Sadie was a guest there Air New Zealand, which flies from London Heathrow to New Zealand via Los Angeles on a daily basis. The airline also operates through alternative gateways in collaboration with its partner airlines.
Return fares from London to Auckland from £ 762 in Economy and £ 2288 in Premium Economy.
Use of lounge facilities during longer stops Priority pass provides access.
For travelers aged 18 to 35 who want to explore New Zealand, an adventure company Wild kiwi offers guided tours for small groups. The journey starts from £ 620 per person, including the tour, accommodation, a professional local guide and breakfast every day. Optional activities are available for an additional fee.
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