Air New Zealand’s entire Boeing 777-300 fleet of seven planes has been refurbished in 2017 to offer more luxury on its long-haul routes. If you want to fly in style, this means you can look forward to a revamped business class suite.
Here we’ll go through the pre-flight perks, frequent flyer benefits, luxurious seating and amenities on offer before you fork out the points or cash for business class on the Air New Zealand 777-300.
You can get your airport experience off to a good start with priority check-in and boarding when you’re flying business class with Air New Zealand. You’ll also save time at the other end with priority baggage claim when you land. You can also avoid the hustle and bustle of airport public waiting areas by heading to one of the Air New Zealand lounges before you take off. You’ll find these in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, as well as five of New Zealand’s busiest airports.
While you won’t enjoy the comprehensive range of full meals you can find in other lounges, you can take your pick of light refreshments. You can also make use of the bar serving up barista coffee by day and craft beers or wine by night. Want to freshen up before your flight? You can also make use of showers, towels, hairdryers and the usual bathroom amenities in the lounge.
Frequent flyer perks
Business class flyers can take advantage of the lounges but Elite Airpoints members can also treat up to five guests to lavish in luxury with them.
As you climb the Airpoints ranks, you’ll also receive additional luggage allowances. As standard, business class travellers on the 777-300 check up to three bags of 23kg each as well as two carry-on bags up to 7kg a piece. Gold and above Airpoints members can add another checked bag and carry-on, so you’ll almost certainly not be caught short.
Business class tickets will also earn Airpoints Dollars and Status Points at a higher earn rate, making it quicker and easier to climb the ranks. As you do, your upgrade bids are also substantially upweighted, making it easier to keep flying in business class comfort for less.
Space and seating
Business class is as good as it gets on the 777-300. You’ll find it at the front of the plane, with 44 seats laid out in a 1-2-1 arrangement.
You can’t help but notice the distinctive herringbone layout, with seats skewed to face towards the aisles rather than square and forwards. This gives you a lot of room, and each seat is probably more spacious than it initially appears.
Each 22 inch (56cm) wide seat can be folded into a fully flat bed, with the backrest portion coming down forwards over the front of the seat. You’ll actually be lying on the back of the seat at night. It’s not quite freely adjustable, so these seats are clearly designed for bedtime rather than just a more comfortable reclining position.
The silver lining of this is that you’re almost certain to enjoy a good night’s sleep. You can also request the staff pad the back side of the seat if you want to opt for a thick and comfortable foam mattress and a more bed-like experience than you’ll typically find on lie-flat aircraft beds. It’s also a very space-efficient arrangement. Fully laid out, the beds are an comfortable 2 metres long, while stowed you’re looking at a spacious cabin feel.
You might want to watch out for the centre row though. Unless you’re planning on becoming very good friends with the person sleeping next to you, you’re going to be using the privacy divider.
The amenities aren’t anything special but they’re a nice and helpful addition for longer trips. You’ll get an amenity kit (that can double as a tablet case) with a range of basic toiletries and complimentary bottled water for the flight.
In business class you’ll get on-demand entertainment in the form of audio and video programming as good as you’d expect. You can expect a decent pick of new blockbusters and TV shows, but if you’re a particular fan of New Zealand television and films then you might be looking at the best entertainment selection in the sky.
You’ll also get to use quality sound-cancelling headphones, so sit back and enjoy.
Dining and refreshments
The Business Premier menu is more about the fusion and flavours than being a weighty meal. Served up in several courses, you should be able to enjoy an appetising range of meals while eating your fill.
If you’re still hungry, you can either help yourself from the Business Premier galley kitchen, found near the middle of the cabin between the two business class sections, or order snacks to your seat through the video screen during the flight. Air New Zealand has also taken care to bring a great range of New Zealand wines aboard.
If you want to spend more time using the lie-flat beds, business class flyers also have the freedom of requesting a later wake-up, with breakfast offered once you’re up or as late as otherwise possible.
Where can I fly on the 777-300
The refurbished Boeing 777-300s are one of Air New Zealand’s long-haul solutions. You’ll mostly find them flying between Auckland and Los Angeles, San Francisco and London. It also makes briefer appearances between Sydney and Auckland, and is sometimes shuffled around to help meet demand. If there are special events on, you’ll often find the 777-300 stepping in.
How was the 777-300 upgraded in 2017?
The 777-300s were updated to align the aircraft with the amenities and features that were previously well received on the larger Dreamliners.
Premium economy was expanded and in business class the dated black leather was replaced with cooler chalk tones. Air New Zealand also increased the comfort with new seatback mattresses. The entertainment systems were also stepped up a generation from the Panasonic eX2 to the eX3. The upgrades are scheduled to finish in late November 2017.
You won’t find extravagance, but Premium Business tickets on Air New Zealand’s refurbished 777-300s will give you a nice and practical dose of well-planned comfort, with just enough amenities and extra services to make all the difference.
It might not be a completely luxurious experience but it’s certainly a premium one. If your heart sinks at the thought of a 26-hour trip in economy class and your wallet (or points balance) doesn’t object too much, you probably won’t regret upgrading to a breezier business class flight.
Pictures: Air New Zealand and ShutterstockBack to top
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