Anthony Fernando flies NZ123 across the Ditch.
Class: Premium Economy - so no Lounge access unless you have Star Alliance or Air New Zealand status, however you do get Priority Check-in.
Price: 360 Airpoint Dollars plus a $300 OneUp Upgrade for two Spaceseats (confirmed four days prior to departure).
Flight time: At 3hrs 29m, we were 30 minutes ahead of schedule.
My seat: 27C and 27D -- Air New Zealand's Premium Economy product on the Boeing 777-300 aircraft is one of the best PE seats available. Dubbed "The Spaceseat", it has 42" seat pitch and the seat reclines into its own space. Enough for a full stretch.
They are not fully flat, but there's a gentle recline (which we found difficult to deploy). The cabin has a 2-2-2 configuration, with the inner seats designed for people travelling together. You can face each other and dine which was great. The armrests are retractable. As a couple travelling together we found these seats amazing.
Fellow passengers: Aussie and Kiwi business travellers.
How full: Premium Economy was almost full.
The service: The service we received was a bit average. There appeared to be two dedicated flight attendants for Premium Economy however they weren't very attentive.
We didn't receive the normal Air New Zealand hospitality to which we are accustomed. We had to ask multiple times for simple requests. When travelling on a "Premium" product you expect a certain level of service.
I later wrote to Air New Zealand about our experience and they responded promptly and apologised for our experience with an airpoints credit.
Food and drink: I chose the fish cake option and my partner went for the scrambled eggs along with some sparkling. Both options were good.
Luggage: We each had two priority-checked bags.
The airport experience: Premium Check-in, E Passports and empty security lines made our experience fast and efficient. PE passengers get priority boarding.
Would I fly this again? Yes. The revolutionary design of the spaceseat makes it more like a Business Class product than Economy. The 777-300 operates on North American and transtasman routes.
This is a great alternative to Business Class. It's also a great idea to utilise the OneUp bidding system from Air New Zealand where you can bid for a single class upgrade. You get value for money on this product on the long-haul flights and if you do have a few airpoint dollars you want to use, this product is definitely worth spending them on.