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ClassicLover
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Houston to Auckland in Premium Economy on Air New Zealand's Boeing 787-9

Tue May 15, 2018 8:40 am

For all the pictures that go with this report, please click here.

A friend of mine recently flew from Houston to Auckland on the Air New Zealand Boeing 787-9. He always books Economy Class but this time he bid $280 for an upgrade to Premium Economy and actually got it. He was pretty delighted as it's a really long flight.

Anyway, I asked him if he would do a trip report for it as I've never flown with NZ before. After a month or two where he was moving and settling in to a new house, he wrote a report for me and sent over his pics. Here it is!

----- By Rinaz Ali -----

When you first step into Air New Zealand’s Premium Economy cabin on their new 787-9, you’re greeted with somewhat garish mauve/fuschia mood lighting, like you’ve wandered onto the set of a soft core porn movie. The mood lighting should explain the colour of my photos – it’s not the result of me being a moron and using the wrong filter or something.

Image

NZ29 – Houston to Auckland (IAH-AKL)
22 February 2018
Boeing 787-9 – ZK-NZM
Seat: Premium Economy 27B
Departure: 20:00 Arrival: 05:55+2


On your seat, you’ll find a bottle of dihydrogen monoxide, a cotton blanket (none of that polyester crap here), a pillow that was almost full size and very fluffy, and headphones. The headphones are large and do a good job of cupping your ear holes and blocking much of the outside sound (read: screaming babies), though the sound quality itself is fairly tinny.

Image

Thankfully, you can plug your own headphones directly into the 787’s audio jack without the need for an adapter. There was also the menu and a little amenity kit. I have to admit as this was a few months ago I don’t remember what was in the amentity kit, but let’s just assume it was socks, a toothbrush and eye mask. It usually is.

The seat itself is exceptionally comfortable, with oodles of leg room. Draped in black leather, it reclines half way and has a retractable footrest. I didn’t take more photos of the seat because I didn’t want to guy sitting next to me too think I was weird.

Image

He was about 6’6″ and he was able to recline in ease, as was I. You may need an Engineering degree to figure out the mechanism to release the footrest, and thankfully I do, so I was able to help the clueless beanstalk next to me figure it out.

Did someone say entertainment? Yes, they have that, too. While essentially the same entertainment system as in economy, the touch screen is quite large – easily the biggest I’ve seen. New Zealand is culturally diverse, so in addition to mainstream TV and movies, there were Bollywood films, South Korean dramas, and of course The Hobbit, since New Zealand still can’t get over Lord of the Rings. I watched Disney/Pixar’s “Coco” and the colourful film looked bright and faithfully reproduced on the LCD screen. Also, I cried at the end of that movie. Damn you, Pixar, you did it again.

Under the screen is a USB jack so you can recharge any of your electronic devices without having to search blindly under your seat for a power outlet and being charged for sexual assault by the passenger next to you. Geez, Todd, man up. Yes you’re 6’6″, but you’re totally not my type.

Air New Zealand always has good food, and in Premium Economy, it was exceptional. To start was Mozarella and heirloom tomato with mango chilli and basil dressing. I recommend pairing it with a good New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. As I’m used to drinking my wine out of a box, I was quietly impressed with the wine selection.

Image

As I am vegan, I had the slow cooked beef brisket with marscapone mashed potatoes, roasted baby turnip, carrots and green beans. This was delicious and none of the food ever had that “just microwaved” texture. I don’t know if they actually cook the food onboard or not, probably somebody better at writing reviews or eating can confirm this. I paired this with several bottles of Steinlager, mainly since I missed Australian/New Zealand beer living in the states for over five years.

After dinner, I watched a documentary about the Topp Twins, New Zealand’s answer to a question no one asked. Truly national treasures, I suggest you look them up on the interwebs. Combined with two Ambien and more Steinlager, this helped to knock me out for the remainder of the flight.

I had a pleasurable fifteen or so hours before breakfast was served. I went with the Continental breakfast because I’m Jewish. The tea comes in an actual, full-sized mug along with fruit, cereal and yoghurt. Not long after breakfast was served, we landed at the crack of dawn in the sprawling, bustling metropolis that is Auckland.

All in all, the cabin crew were attentive and pleasant, food was superb and you could order unlimited drinks from the comfort of your screen without having to talk to anybody – perfect for introverts and shut ins. I would highly recommend the Premium Economy to everyone, especially since I flew back on Economy and the seats are some of the narrowest I’ve experienced.

I give it five Steinlager bottles out of five. Remember please click here for the other pictures in the report. If you have any comments, please leave them below.
I do enjoy a spot of flying, especially when it's not in economy!
 
melpax
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Re: Houston to Auckland in Premium Economy on Air New Zealand's Boeing 787-9

Mon May 21, 2018 3:36 pm

I did the same flight last year, but 'slummed it' in economy on the 777. Wish I knew that you could put in a bid for PE, but the flight was booked for me at short notice as I broke my wrist in Mexico!

And have to agree the IFE was pretty good, with a decent selection. Don't know if it was due to being a night flight, but it was a much better flight than the QF MEL-LAX flight on the way there, great service & I managed to get around 5 hours sleep. I actually felt reasonably fresh getting into AKL at dawn, not bad considering that I'd spent the afternoon flying up from Cancun, and having to clear CPB before getting on the flight to AKL. If I was going back to that part of the world, would take that flight again, instead of transiting LAX....
Essendon - Whatever it takes......
 
tinpusher007
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Re: Houston to Auckland in Premium Economy on Air New Zealand's Boeing 787-9

Sat May 26, 2018 2:25 pm

ClassicLover wrote:
As I am vegan, I had the slow cooked beef brisket


:?: :?: :?:
"Flying isn't inherently dangerous...but very unforgiving of carelessness, incapacity or neglect."
 
DaveFly
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Re: Houston to Auckland in Premium Economy on Air New Zealand's Boeing 787-9

Mon May 28, 2018 10:02 pm

Excellent report! I think I’ve passed the days where I can manage an ultra long haul in Economy. Too tall, too close to antiquity! I’ve sprung for E+ on certain routes (JFK-HNL, EWR-TLV). Anyway, thanks for the journey! (PS, I like slow-cooked brisket too.....but I’m not vegan! :)
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ClassicLover
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Re: Houston to Auckland in Premium Economy on Air New Zealand's Boeing 787-9

Sun Jun 17, 2018 11:18 am

melpax wrote:
I did the same flight last year, but 'slummed it' in economy on the 777. Wish I knew that you could put in a bid for PE, but the flight was booked for me at short notice as I broke my wrist in Mexico!

And have to agree the IFE was pretty good, with a decent selection. Don't know if it was due to being a night flight, but it was a much better flight than the QF MEL-LAX flight on the way there, great service & I managed to get around 5 hours sleep. I actually felt reasonably fresh getting into AKL at dawn, not bad considering that I'd spent the afternoon flying up from Cancun, and having to clear CPB before getting on the flight to AKL. If I was going back to that part of the world, would take that flight again, instead of transiting LAX....


Sorry to hear about your wrist - hopefully it wasn't too painful! I'm not sure when they brought in the bidding system, but it certainly sounds worthwhile from what my friend was saying in his report. I would avoid LAX as well when it comes to heading to Australia - it's just easier to go via other airports. I don't particularly like LAX. Great to hear you managed to get some sleep - perhaps the night flight aspect did help. I generally only sleep on flights when I am extremely tired.

tinpusher007 wrote:
ClassicLover wrote:
As I am vegan, I had the slow cooked beef brisket


:?: :?: :?:


My friend was making a small joke :) He is clearly not vegan if he is eating the beef brisket.

DaveFly wrote:
Excellent report! I think I’ve passed the days where I can manage an ultra long haul in Economy. Too tall, too close to antiquity! I’ve sprung for E+ on certain routes (JFK-HNL, EWR-TLV). Anyway, thanks for the journey! (PS, I like slow-cooked brisket too.....but I’m not vegan! :)


I think it's definitely worth the extra money. I think Premium Economy comes into its own when it is about 1.5x the economy fare. When it's double, I find it a little harder to stomach. Each time though it's been absolutely worth paying for. That extra comfort on a long flight makes a huge difference. Thanks for the comment!
I do enjoy a spot of flying, especially when it's not in economy!
 
SQueeze
Posts: 280
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Re: Houston to Auckland in Premium Economy on Air New Zealand's Boeing 787-9

Sat Jun 23, 2018 3:42 am

Wow. $280 is totally worth it. I thought usually airlines have minimum bids which usually already are quite high and unattractive. I was checking Air Canada for a SYD-YVR upgrade for my sister (Y to Y+) and the minimum bid was close to $1000!

I can't help but took pleasure in some of the sarcastic remarks peppered throughout. Very entertaining. Thank you :) Indeed, I don't really quite understand the "soft porn" lighting
 
JAAlbert
Posts: 1809
Joined: Tue Jan 31, 2006 12:43 pm

Re: Houston to Auckland in Premium Economy on Air New Zealand's Boeing 787-9

Sun Jul 01, 2018 10:58 pm

Hilarious commentary - your friend must be fun at happy hour!
 
flyjetstar
Posts: 692
Joined: Fri Feb 03, 2006 6:37 am

Re: Houston to Auckland in Premium Economy on Air New Zealand's Boeing 787-9

Tue Jul 03, 2018 10:40 am

Your friend has a great writing style! A few laughs. Nice work.
 
evank516
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Re: Houston to Auckland in Premium Economy on Air New Zealand's Boeing 787-9

Tue Jul 03, 2018 3:14 pm

Dihydrogen Monoxide...that's beautiful LOL
 
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ClassicLover
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Re: Houston to Auckland in Premium Economy on Air New Zealand's Boeing 787-9

Tue Jul 17, 2018 7:18 am

SQueeze wrote:
Wow. $280 is totally worth it. I thought usually airlines have minimum bids which usually already are quite high and unattractive. I was checking Air Canada for a SYD-YVR upgrade for my sister (Y to Y+) and the minimum bid was close to $1000!

I can't help but took pleasure in some of the sarcastic remarks peppered throughout. Very entertaining. Thank you :) Indeed, I don't really quite understand the "soft porn" lighting


I am with you. My impression was the same, that it was always an eye wateringly high amount to pay to bid for an upgrade. $280 is a bargain, especially considering how long the Houston to Auckland flight is.

Happy you got the humour in the post - my friend is really pleased that some people liked it, so thanks for mentioning it :)

JAAlbert wrote:
Hilarious commentary - your friend must be fun at happy hour!


He certainly is! I showed him your comments, so thanks for that!

flyjetstar wrote:
Your friend has a great writing style! A few laughs. Nice work.


Cheers for the nice words. I told my friend to check out the comments, so he's very pleased. Thank you!

evank516 wrote:
Dihydrogen Monoxide...that's beautiful LOL


I had to look it up when I first saw it... I thought, "Well, he means water, but is it -really- that" :) haha!
Last edited by ClassicLover on Tue Jul 17, 2018 7:19 am, edited 1 time in total.
I do enjoy a spot of flying, especially when it's not in economy!

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