Checking out

Air New Zealand, Business Premier

by Alan Orbell | September 2015

"Air New Zealand is renowned for the quality of its customer service and a 23-hour flight is an excellent way to discover that it remains true. Crew effortlessly combine efficiency and friendliness (though understandably not quite so friendly that they were willing to retrieve one of my pillows from a fellow passenger who pinched it!) and, together with the excellent food, the overall quality of the product is highly impressive."

THE FLIGHT: Flight NZ2 from Auckland, New Zealand via Los Angeles to London Heathrow. The flight is operated by a B777-300.

THE CHECK-IN: I checked in at the special area reserved for Business Premier and Premium Economy passengers and was swiftly through to security, customs and immigration where I used the efficient and speedy automated system. Air NZ manages to retain a sense of pleasant anticipation at check-in, perhaps due to the fact that they are dealing with ultra long-haul flights.

THE SEAT: Seat 12B in Business Premier easily converts to a flat bed (although crew offers of help were made). The fully-reclinable seat itself comes with footstool and lumber support. Features include large fold-up table, cocktail shelf, USB port, power socket and reading light. The monitor is touch screen and lightweight electronic items can be used at all times.

THE SERVICE: Barely had I reached my seat before my jacket was taken and a pre-take-off drink offered with another served as soon as the flight was airborne. The flight services director introduced herself and then came a leisurely supper with a choice of four excellent main courses. A breakfast was served before landing at Los Angeles, with another dinner after take-off and a further breakfast before reaching London Heathrow. Air NZ uses the new LAX terminal and the Star Alliance lounge offers a spacious and well-planned sanctuary for the brief stop before continuing on to Heathrow.

THE DETAILS: Air New Zealand operates the daily NZ1 service between Heathrow and Auckland via the new terminal in Los Angeles Airport. The ex-London departure is at 16.15 to arrive in Los Angeles the same day at 19.35 and Auckland at 05.45 two days later. Business Premier return fares from London to Auckland start from £4,108.

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