Greg Fleming flies from Auckland to Houston on Air New Zealand.
A Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.
Class: Premium Economy which means you can bring two pieces of carry on (up to 7kg each) and two pieces of checked luggage (up to 23kg each). You also earn higher airpoints dollars and status points. The amenity kit comes in a colourful pencil-like case.
Inside are ear plugs, socks, a pen, toothpaste and toothbrush, Waiwera mineral water in the seat pocket. Seat has lots of leg room but the footrest on the seat does extend but not enough if you want to recline and sleep.
Seat: 27J — an aisle seat near the rear of the Premium Economy cabin. Seats are noticeably roomier here than in Economy and recline a respectable 22.9cm.
Flight time: We were down for 13hr 40m, and arrived on time. The good news — Houston airport has ditched the arrival cards.
Entertainment: Lots of good movies but I ended up reading for most of the trip. The reading light was very directional so didn't disturb my neighbour. Then Den of Thieves for the third time — a Gerard Butler movie that thinks it's Heat — it's not — but it's perfect fodder for a plane ride.
Service: Good — I got plenty of bottled water brought to me throughout the flight.
Airport experience: Checking in at the Air New Zealand premium hub at Auckland airport was easy. No standing in queues and the area offered a little oasis of calm in a busy airport.
Food: Dinner started with chicken salad, toasted walnuts, fried eggplant with pickled red onions, coriander and mint. For main I had the hapuka. Other options were beef cheek or roasted chicken. To finish — a chocolate creme with macerated dark cherries. Tomato juice for my beverage and a cracker and slice of Kapiti Egmont cheese for an after-dinner snack. A couple of hours before we landed in Houston we were served breakfast. I had the sweet hot cakes but the scrambled eggs looked the better option.
Would I take this flight again?: My destination was Chicago (there's a direct route from Auckland to Chicago starting on November 30). But Houston is definitely on my radar; even the border patrol were friendly!