I flew Air New Zealand from Wellington to Los Angeles. I’m a loyal AirNZ flier after having bad experiences with the other major airlines that fly from NZ to the States (one of which painfully stops in Fiji and makes you stand in line in a heat sweltering airport for 4 hours to tick your name off a random list). I think AirNZ has done an excellent job in marketing itself as a fun, stylish, and service-orientated airline. I like their range of products and I like that they are continually reinventing themselves. Like the cult of Mac owners consuming the product, and being seen doing so, makes you feel cooler by association. Plus they are price competitive which always helps.
I usually fly cattle class economy to the States. One exception was when Luke and I were flying over for Jen and Rob’s wedding and upgraded to ‘Cuddle Class’ or AirNZ’s Sky Couch . In my personal opinion the Sky Couch was not worth the money. Despite the fact that I could easily lay flat with my feet stretched out, add another person (a much taller person) and the space quickly disappears. As a result, I didn’t get much sleep. The person I was with, however, had a great sleep. But we both agreed it probably wasn’t worth the money.
Anyhow, this time I got to experience AirNZ’s Premium Economy. I got an email from AirNZ a few weeks before I flew that explained I could put in a bid to get an upgrade on my upcoming international flights. The programme called, OneUp is quite clever as it allows AirNZ to make a bit of money (via auction) off seats that would otherwise go to rewards travellers or unused. I was immediately excited by the prospect of getting to fly in a better class without paying the full price. So I did some research. How much did I pay (despite it being a sunk cost). How much do Premium Economy tickets cost? After doing some calculations (and watching a few youtube videos touring Premium Economy) I decided that my willingness to pay was NZD$300. The week before I flew I received an email congratulating me on my successful bid. I was so excited. Over the course of the week before I left, I easily got $300 worth of value just getting excited thinking about the flight.
So what was it like and would I do it again?
The overall experience was incredible. And yes, yes, a million times, yes, I would do it again (if I could afford it).
Here is a lope-sided photo of my extra big, comfy seat.
The seat back reclines and the seat itself can be adjusted up and down. There was a purple bean bag foot rest that I could comfortable extend my feet onto. Being 5’2″ I fit into most small places pretty easily (including the regular economy seats). If you are taller than me, you would have plenty of room too.
Noise cancelling headphones and an amenities kit are also provided. The amenities kit had small tubes of Clarins face lotion and lip balm, and a toothbrush and toothpaste. Another bonus was when I was handed a menu. In addition the three choices of main dishes, there was an appetizer. This was something I thought would only be available in business class.
The food was outstanding as was the wine selection. First out was the appetizer (grilles salmon), along with a cheese and cracker platter. The dessert was also on the tray (chocolate mousse). The hostess came around with a selection of homemade breads (whole wheat, garlic, and sourdough) and little bottles of NZ made olive oil.
I went with the Groper for my main dish. It came with a side of steamed veggies and potatoes.
After dinner, one more glass of wine (Pinot Noir) and a Whittakers square of milk chocolate.
After I finished my second dessert and second glass of wine, I was ready to get some shut eye. The seat manual outlined the different position that you could assume for sleeping.
There was no one in the seat next to me (which was basically like winning the lottery) so I was able to lie flat and sleep. Hands down, the best sleep I have ever had on an airplane. According to my count, 6 full hours.
After a two course breakfast we landed ahead of schedule in Los Angeles.
My flight was so good I felt like leaving tips for the hostesses. I was glad I decided to bid on the seat as it was certainly worth the extra money. I felt pretty darn awake and fresh as I navigated through immigration, customs, and baggage.
Once out of the gate, I located a Starbucks and ordered a tall, soy, vanilla, extra hot latte (a little tradition of mine whenever I land in the States).