Air New Zealand has started operating its new 787-9 Dreamliner on a "flight and delight" basis to Sydney. John Anthony flew "works deluxe" in premium economy on the very first commercial flight.
THE ROUTE Auckland to Sydney
THE PLANE Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner
UP THE BACK OR AT THE POINTY END? Premium economy
TIME IN THE AIR 3 hours, 30 minutes
THE SEAT STUFF Premium economy leather seats feature a 41-inch (104cm) pitch, a 9-inch (23cm) recline, a width of 19.3 inches (49cm) and 5-inch wide arm rests between seats. It also features a plug socket down by the footrest so you can charge on the go.
BAGGAGE ALLOWANCE One carry on bag of 7 kilograms and two pieces of checked baggage weighing a maximum of 23kg each.
COMFORT FACTOR This three and a half hour flight felt much shorter. It was the most comfortable flight I have ever been on. The look and feel of a new plane is striking - from the smell of new leather to the quirky wallpaper in the toilet. The spacious cabin has higher humidity which leaves you feeling less dehydrated. The leg room is ample, the engines quiet, the ride smoother and the windows up to 70 per cent larger than other aircraft.
THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT A range of new releases, classic movies, TV series and documentaries all featured on the newly designed 11 inch HD touch screens.
THE SERVICE Flight crew were bubbly, engaging and helpful. Food and drinks can be ordered through the touch screen displays. The one glass of wine I ordered through this arrived within five minutes.
FEEDING TIME Breakfast was a choice of cereal or scrambled eggs with scalloped potatoes and mini snarlers. A moist mini carrot cake and some fresh fruit were also included in the fare.
ONE MORE THING Large, comfortable leather seats were let down by a flimsy food tray.
THE VERDICT The Dreamliner's premium economy makes for a vastly enhanced flying experience.
FREQUENCY Air New Zealand will officially debut its new aircraft on the Auckland to Perth route from October 15. From November it will fly Shanghai and Tokyo routes.
The writer flew courtesy of Air New Zealand.
- Sunday Star Times