Air New Zealand Air Points - LHR-LAX in PE
Jul 31, 09, 1:23 pm
Considering doing this in early Oct., and assuming this is probably the best service in this class on this route -- if not I don't know what else would be -- anyone care to comment from recent experience? Don't care about the airport lounges etc., but onboard comfort and service mostly.
Also, I looked at my target flight on EF and was very surprised to see only 7 seats still available in PE out of 39, and biz also more than half occupied -- and this still 10 weeks out. Wow! Is this typical of NZ loads in premium classes in this economic environment today? Is it because their product is just superior to most of their competitors? Sounds like they are doing something very right in a sea of declining standards?
Jul 31, 09, 7:10 pm
This seems normal for NZ, they always still fill up PE. Hence why an extra 2 rows have been added on the 772ERs.
They have had alot of sales in Business & PE from AKL lately.
Air NZ has the best Premium Economy catering, IFE and crew on this route, by miles.
Having said that, the seat is actually significantly narrower than those of Virgin Atlantic and British Airways.
Aug 1, 09, 10:29 am
I've heard some good things about Virgin Atlantic's PE product. The consensus is that the seat is definitely superior to NZ (slightly less pitch but substantially wider - it's 2+2 upstairs on the 744), though not sure how the service compares...
Aug 3, 09, 7:34 am
At the moment the route is flown by a 747-400, which means you can choose rear of the upper deck 3-2 configuration (obviously 2 is preferable to the 3) or lower deck 2 either side of the stairwell (Seats A-C quieter than H-K). If it ends up being a 777, then the configuration is much less appealing (3-3-3) with generous seat pitch but same width as economy class. I'd check, as the aircraft used on this route varies by season due to demand fluctuations.
On the 747 the seat is NOT narrower than BA, as both NZ and BA in 747-400s have 18.5 inch seat width in premium economy, but VS does have 20 inch width.
On this route, BA's product is clearly the inferior, with same seat width as NZ, but only 38" pitch (NZ seats have 38-40 depending on the row), same meal and service as economy (just served first).
VS has better seats than NZ (width and, but the configuration of the A346 means the last two row in the middle are in between and in front of toilets used frequently by economy class passengers behind. Not fun to have them queuing up around you. Front row in VS is behind the Upper Class galley and sit down bar, again a noise issue. Slightly better food on VS premium economy than economy, but not a patch on NZ.
NZ has reasonable seats, business class food and drink service, priority baggage, business class checkin (but no lounge access) and the entertainment system operates from when you board till when you disembark (i.e. watch movies on the ground at either end while you wait). On NZ avoid the back row upstairs (adjacent to toilets) and front row downstairs (adjacent to galley), but other than that it's pretty good.
I've done NZ on this route in premium economy, and would choose it every time. VS seats aren't worth the small noisy cabin and lacklustre service and food, and BA isn't worth considering unless it is nearly as cheap as going economy.
Aug 3, 09, 11:49 am
Thanks so much -- really could not ask for a better summary than that, and I'm now sold on the service the next time I have to pay for it on this route myself. Seems advisable to book far in advance however -- it actually sells out, for all the reasons you cite, even in a weak economy; can't imagine how tight it could be once things turn around!
Aug 3, 09, 3:15 pm
Have just arrived back this morning from YVR in PE sitting on the lower deck for the first time on a 747. I was on the right hand side which is not as quiet etc as the left handside. I dont like being on the upper deck being able to see BP which you can clearly do from the front row of PE. My pick would be for the lower deck on the left handside. Thats will have selected for my next flights anyways.