Everyone seated in Premium Economy (and even more so, Business Premier) on the Air New Zealand website looks wonderfully relaxed and glamorous- smiling away with a glass of something in hand as they lean back in their large, cushy seats. I’m smart enough to know that this is only an ad but some part of me was hoping that it wasn’t all a rouse… especially when it costs about double what normal cattle class costs- we’re talking around NZ$2,000 one way.
Once our flight was called, we jumped straight through the priority boarding line and made our way to our seats on the top deck- I was looking forward to the premium treatment. The seats are definitely bigger and there is way more leg room… (not so much an issue for me but for a certain someone who is over the 6 foot mark, it makes a difference)… the little pamper pack was also a nice touch- toothbrush, socks, eye mask, clarins lip balm and moisturiser. But, I was still a little underwhelmed as I waited for my welcome tipple. I think those flashy planes they use in the ads only fly the LA route- bummer.
Things improved at meal times- there are actually courses, the plates and cutlery are not plastic and they let you drink out of real glasses and mugs! To start we had a choice of breads with our chicken salad, and then either braised beef (option we went for), confit chicken, or poached hapuka, and a blueberry cake with feijoa cream for dessert. I almost thought we were in a restaurant and not in a plane… until of course, I had to rearrange my plates to ensure everything fit onto the tray table.
Breakfast consisted of fruit, cereal, toast and a hot option- either eggs and corned beef hash or cinnamon hotcakes. It seems the eggs were such a hit that by the time it came to us, they were no longer available… we were offered the bacon roll or corn fritters from Business Premier instead- turns out the class system is still alive at kicking in the plane world. Much better than the usual but it’s all relative isn’t it… at the end of the day, still plane food.
Overall, the service was smilier and the experience was more comfortable but was I grinning ear to ear like those goofy people in the ads? Would it have been worth paying double for? Not really… it was still an 11 hour flight after all, and no matter which way you twist and turn, you’ll probably never have a good night’s sleep in a semi upright position!