Winston Aldworth flies one of Air New Zealand's new Dreamliner fleet, NZ176, from Perth to Auckland.
The plane: A Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. We're aboard the first of Air New Zealand's Dreamliner fleet. I was there in Seattle when this beautiful black bird rolled out of the paint hangar at Boeing's Seattle site in May last year.
Class: Economy. I have a Preferred Seating option. So I get some tucker and I get to choose an aisle seat.
On time: We departed on the whistle. It's a 6hr 20m flight. The plane goes quicker flying west to east. For my money, this is the worst length of flight possible. Too short to settle in for a good snooze. Too long to muscle through. Sadly, we take off at 7.50pm and land at 6.10am. With a sniff over six hours in the air, you've got to get a good kip in. Adding to matters, I was returning to Auckland on Father's Day, so needed to be in good form upon landing in order express enthusiasm for the "gun-card" my boy had made me (don't ask).
How full: "About 170 in Economy," says the hostie (I didn't catch her name) in a lovely Irish lilt. The plane carries 263 in Economy and 21 in Premium Economy. She's not sure how many there are further forward in Business. Helpfully, I offer to go up there for the rest of the flight to check. Unhelpfully, she smiles and moves along.
AdvertisementAdvertise with NZME.
My seat: 37H. Happily, there's no one in 37J and the dude in 37K is a lovely Aussie Lebanese fella. We quickly and efficiently establish the etiquette of sharing the middle seat. These Dreamliner Economy seats have a pitch of 37 inches (94cm). This row is among the 14 on board that can be converted into Sky Couches.
Entertainment: Caught up on the fourth episode of True Detective season two. There's a terrific shoot-out at the end of it, though I'd had too many White Russians in the Qantas lounge to understand why.
Food and drink: Passengers on a Works option get a beef rendang or some sort of chicken thing. Passengers on regular old Economy Class can buy a meal. That is so low class. Once you're flying more than five hours, surely the airline should stump you a feed.
Airport experience: In Perth, I charmed my way into the Qantas lounge. Lovely place.
Would I fly this again: Yes, but next time I'll take sleeping pills. It's a dog of a length on a stallion of a plane.