Tejas Lamb flies from Houston to Auckland with Air New Zealand.
Class: Premium Economy.
Price: $1032 one-way for one adult.
Flight time: Scheduled for around 15 hours, we left 30 minutes late but arrived 15 minutes ahead of our scheduled time of 6.15am thanks to a tailwind.
My seat: 25F, one of the 4 of the 3 -4-3 configuration of the 777-200. The seat allocation was to be expected given that I was flying with my parents and brother. I was very happy as this was my first time in Premium Economy.
The seat details: The seat was the type of Premium Economy you get on the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. The black, leather seats were very comfortable and the leg rest was also very nice. The recline was very good and I think that's why the extra price for Premium Economy — SpaceSeat or not — is worth it. The only thing I would change is the metal footrest at the end of the leg rest which hurts your feet. The armrests are fixed so you can't sleep leaning on your neighbor which is probably a good thing for them.
Passengers: Mostly businesspeople and retirees in Business while Premium Economy and Economy sections were full of families coming back from school holidays.
How full: The plane was full in Business and Premium Economy with a handful of empty seats dotted around Economy.
Entertainment: The entertainment was the usual Air New Zealand standard of amazing. The range of movies and TV shows were great, I watched Chasing Great, the documentary about Richie McCaw, which made me even more proud to be a Kiwi. The entertainment system and screen itself was very responsive which I liked.
The service: The service was outstanding with the cabin crew going out of their way to help families with kids. It's an overnight flight so staff were busy serving drinks and dinner before dimming lights to encourage sleep.
Food: Ordered vegetarian which Air New Zealand makes vegan — never a good thing for an airline meal! In Premium Economy our starter was hummus with some celery, tomato, lettuce and olives. This was served with bread and olive oil if you wanted it. The main was some sort of mushroom and vegetable patties served with a vegetable mash that tasted terrible so I didn't have any of it. The lovely crew-member noticed I hadn't eaten it so found me a spare chocolate mousse dessert (not vegan!) which I devoured. The breakfast was a yummy muesli and a warm croissant with strawberry jam, followed by an off-putting main of scrambled tofu, under-cooked baked beans and OK tasting potatoes. Dinner was served before lights were dimmed. Snacks (chips, muesli bars) and drinks were available throughout the flight.
Toilets: They were the usual cramped ones but were kept clean through the flight.
Luggage: You can take two 24kg bags and two hand luggage bags per person in Premium Economy.
Airport experience: Houston George Bush International was tidy and easy to navigate with security taking the most time. Our whole family had to do the extra high-tech body scan which made me feel like I was in the Men in Black movie. The security officer was one of those TSA officers which you can joke around with which was pretty cool.
Would I fly again: Definitely. When you are in Premium Economy, a good night's sleep makes the 15-hour flight seem like a short hop — thanks Dad!