Air New Zealand
Premium Economy Review

Air New Zealand
Premium Economy Review

If you are considering upgrading from economy on this long haul route, look no further than this excellent Premium Economy product from Air New Zealand. It is a class act.

Air New Zealand have a reputation of providing more leg room than most other airlines, so at just over 6’ tall with an 11 hour non stop flight ahead of me, I was looking forward to this experience.

Date(s) of flights – 26 Aug 2018
Route – London Heathrow – Los Angeles (LAX)
Aircraft – 777-300
Depart London 1615hrs, arrive LAX 1925hrs same day

Air New Zealand Premium Economy

Air New Zealand’s Premium Economy Cabin
is a spacious quiet environment

There was a dedicated Premium ‘check in’ so that was an immediate bonus; no queueing. Business and Premium Economy were boarded first, which is generally done to allow time for the respective cabin crews to welcome those ‘premium’ passengers on board.  A welcoming soft drink or sparking wine was offered.

The Premium Economy Cabin

The dedicated Premium Economy cabin contained about 30 seats in a 2-4-2 configuration. We had 2 seats on the right side (Row 26J & K). We had the overhead lockers above us virtually to ourselves. With fewer people to deal with, the cabin crew were able to be far more attentive and relaxed in the way they went about their business.

The Seat

The very comfortable leather seat was a generous 42 inches of leg room (the industry standard is about 38 inches), which meant I could easily stretch out and still had plenty of room to spare. The seat was wider, the fold away table was in the armrest, so it didn’t matter what the seat did in front in terms of recline, it made no difference to the person behind.

The seat recline was greater than an economy seat as you would expect although clearly not a lie flat bed! It also had a good footrest and adjustable headrest ‘wings’. There was a good size pillow, blanket and amenity kit (airline socks, toothbrush/paste, ear plugs, moisturiser, eye mask and a pen).

Air new zealand premium economy

Loads of knee room; I’m just over 6′ tall.

Air new zealand premium economy

Excellent quality meal and this image
doesn’t have the main meal shown.

Entertainment System

The In Flight Entertainment (IFE) system was one of the most modern and efficient I’ve ever seen with a screen size to match most business classes. The IFE service (viewing) was on demand and available immediately, even before take off and right up until you landed. No switching it off for take off or landing. Full over the ear headphones were provided although they were not full noise cancelling. I used my own in this case (but they were still good). There was a USB socket with every seat. What you couldn’t do with this system in terms of pausing, saving, etc… was probably not worth having.


There was a dedicated cabin menu, with 3 main meals on offer for dinner (served about 2 hrs after take off) + a Refreshment menu served a couple of hours prior to landing. In addition, light refreshments were always available throughout the flight (biscuits, peanuts and similar). Alcohol was served with dinner if you wanted it; good New Zealand wines as you would expect! Meals were served on solid china plates (all shaped proportionately and sensibly to fit) with metal cutlery and with the additional room, no fighting with your next door neighbour for elbow room!

The quality and presentation of food was excellent. Drinks were served from the bottle so no small measures here.

The cabin had its own dedicated galley so a chat with the crew was easy enough. There were 2 toilets within the cabin. One of the toilet cabins I have to report was huge, the other normal size.


The overall experience of this flight was excellent; I couldn’t fault it if I tried. The simple configuration of the seats meant that there was less hassle when people moved about because there was more room to do so. It was relaxed, quiet and it didn’t feel like 11 hrs. Nothing appeared too much for this crew who were London based.

I have flown Premium Economy with British Airways and Virgin Atlantic before and whilst both are very good products, the overall space provided gives Air New Zealand a distinct advantage in my opinion.

The bonuses you get with this product:

  • Dedicated check in.
  • Hand luggage – 2 pieces and no problem with overhead luggage space.
  • Board aircraft early, get off early, which helps when it comes to immigration queues.
  • Seat – bigger all round, huge difference on a long haul flight.
  • Cabin – dedicated and quiet.
  • Meals – served on china, a much more pleasant experience.


About the Author:

Terry Crosby is the founder and co-owner of Travel and Trek Limited. He started the Company in 2005 after an long military career, which ultimately gave him the skills to set up, run, manage and develop what is now a global adventure travel company. He has extensive experience in all of the countries the company travel to and is an ex Mountain Leader and Arctic Survival Instructor.