Air New Zealand Business Premier Class
THE FLIGHT: Flight NZ01 from London Heathrow Terminal 2 to Los Angeles International (LAX). Operated by a Boeing 777-300, the flight left at 16.15.
PRE-BOARDING: A helper approached me at a self-check-in kiosk, identified my name on an upgrade list and then accompanied me to Star Alliance counters 27/28/29 – which usually means good news for those looking to turn left on-board rather than right. My bag and golf clubs were dispatched efficiently and I was directed to the Priority Lane at security.
THE LOUNGE: It’s a 15-minute (brisk) walk to the B Gates and Star Alliance partner Singapore Airlines’ Silverkris lounge. Although busy, there was a variety of stools, chairs and couches fitted with a power outlet and USB port. The food stations were plentiful, with options including soup, pastas, ravioli, chicken curry, wraps, samosas and a cold sandwich selection. There was an ice cream fridge and a bar manned by two staff adept at shaking up cocktails.
THE SEAT: I was in 5B, which was as comfortable as it sounds. On the aisle of a 1-2-1 confi guration, it felt extremely spacious, with lots of creative storage spaces. The reading light was perfectly placed and the TV screen slid back beyond the dinner tray. The seatbelt was positioned to make it easy (and comfortable) to buckle up once the seat had reclined into a lie-fl at position.
THE SERVICE: This was spot on from the moment I boarded. The staff were both informative and engaging and were happy catering to my every request. I was welcomed aboard with a glass of Champagne and a friendly explanation as to how to use my inflight entertainment system and the various buttons that turned the seat into a vibrating massage option or a lie-flat bed. When it was time to sleep a crew member laid out my bed, with its down duvet and pillow. Dinner was excellent: a starter of sumac-dusted salmon with grapefruit couscous and cauliflower and a main course of cod with slow-cooked fennel, spinach, white beans and rocket salad. The Kiwi wines were top-drawer.
THE VERDICT: Outstanding. What you hope, anticipate and expect a business class flight to be – and then some.
THE DETAILS: Air New Zealand flies daily between London Heathrow and Los Angeles. Return fares in Business Premier start from around £2,836.
Reviewed by Steve Hartridge 2017