Victoria Clark flies from Auckland to Adelaide with Air New Zealand.
A Boeing 787-9 V2 Dreamliner. The new state-of-the-art aircraft joined the Auckland-to-Adelaide service late last year.
The seat: Business Premier — Seat 7A — one of 27 flat-bed seats in Business Premier on the V2 version of the Dreamliner. The configuration is a herringbone pattern, allowing space for a roomy footstool that doubles as an extra seat (fitted with a safety belt) if you want to dine at your pop-up dining table with your travel buddy.
Flight time: Four hours and 35 minutes.
Food and drink: Business Class bubbles or orange juice and a wee dish of salted nuts are served before take-off. It's the one time, apart from Christmas Day, when I'll probably say yes to bubbles at 8.30am. Breakfast options were an omelette with asparagus or fish cakes or something that included bacon (I stopped listening at the mention of bacon). But these were just the mains in a three-course breakfast feast that included fresh fruits, a berry smoothie and breads, croissants and sweet Danish pastries. Having breakfasted in the Air New Zealand Koru Lounge at Auckland Airport, I could only manage the smoothie and English Breakfast tea.
Entertainment: Great selection of new release films and many television series, documentaries and music. It's always rather sweet when you take your seat and your personal movie screen reads: "Kia Ora Victoria — Welcome aboard." The screens in Business Premier are a couple of inches larger than those in Economy.
Service: Business Class cabin crew have a way; they're very good at what they do — remembering your name and making conversation that's not just polite small-talk.
They're attentive and notice the details. I was lucky enough to take a seat on the fight-deck and chat with the crew — Captain Neil Abbot, First Officer Sydney Perkins and Second Officer Samuel Paterson. Abbot has been flying for Air NZ for 41 years. The Dreamliner, he says, is "by far the best aircraft I have ever flown".
The new features: The blue windows excited me most. There are no pull-down blinds.
Instead, the crew control all the windows at the turn of a dial, phasing in a blue tint which cuts out the blinding glare of the sun. And each window has a dial you can adjust yourself. My husband, a pilot, informed me the climate-control system is much improved and very clever on the Dreamliner; the humidity is kinder. One's eyes and skin feel less dried out after hours in the sky.
Toilets: Loved the wallpaper and the modern sensor tapware from which the water flows perfectly warmed. The liquid hand-soap is the pleasantly-scented Botanics brand.
Would I take this flight again? Hell, yes!
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