A look at Air New Zealand Business Premier

Until September 27th, Head for Points is running a fantastic competition in association with Air New Zealand to win a trip for 1-3 people to Los Angeles!  If you haven’t entered yet, you will find full details and the entry form on this page.

The competition closes at midnight on Sunday – time is running out if you haven’t entered so far.

As part of the competition, I am running a series of articles to introduce HFP readers to the on-board product that Air New Zealand offers on its daily Boeing 777-300 flights from Heathrow to Los Angeles (for which you can buy stand-alone tickets) and then on to Auckland.

I have already taken a look at Economy – including the innovative Economy Skycouch – and their impressive Premium Economy cabin.

Today, I am taking a look at Air New Zealand Business Premier.  I had a tour of the Air New Zealand plane whilst it was on the ground at Heathrow a few weeks ago so I could see for myself what is on offer.

Air New Zealand Business Premier

Business Premier is the flagship Air New Zealand product, voted “Best Airline for Business Travel” in the Guardian / Observer 2014 travel awards.  The seat is very similar to the one used by Virgin Atlantic in Upper Class, as well as Air Canada and a number of other airlines.

The key benefit of the seat is privacy.  Unlike the British Airways ‘yin yang’ Club World layout, where many seats do not have direct aisle access, Business Premier passengers can all step directly into the aisle and are not facing other people directly.

The cabin comprises 44 Business Premier seats.  Each is 80 inches long with a width of 22 inches (33 inches at the shoulder).

It goes without saying that the seat reclines a full 180 degrees.  The leather chair flips over when turning it into a bed, meaning that you get the dual benefit of a leather seat and a breathable cotton sleeping surface.

Here is a promotional photograph of the cabin:

Air New Zealand Business Premier

Here is the more realistic version, taken during my tour of the aircraft whilst the plane was still being cleaned:

File 22-09-2015 00 19 00


File 22-09-2015 00 19 51

As with its other cabins, Air New Zealand has produced a sleek You Tube video which you can see on this page.

IFE is provided by a 12.1″ touch screen as well as USB and iPod sockets.  I obviously didn’t get a chance to sample the on-board food and drink during my tour but the wine list does feature a good selection of New Zealand growers.  Outside of formal meal times, you can order snacks via your touch-screen IFE monitor – a service that is also available in the other cabins.

In the current Air New Zealand sale which ends today, prices start at £2,310 return for Business Premier to Los Angeles.  That compares to £449 for Economy and £870 for Premium Economy.

Air New Zealand is a member of Star Alliance so you would accrue miles in any of the Star programmes such as Miles & More.  Air New Zealand also has its own loyalty scheme, Airpoints.

If you want to find out more, there is a dedicated Business Premier page on the Air New Zealand website here.  If you haven’t yet entered our ANZ competition, click here.

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  1. NZ BP is the best business class I have ever flown across teens of airlines. It’s not solely about the seat because there are obviously better ones, rather it is about how the whole travel experience comes together well. Just such a pity the replaced 744s with 773s, we used to love the front row on the jumbo…thanks for the memories NZ and BMI.

    • Miles Down Under says:

      It seems to be a very inconsistent offering: we’ve experienced very poor service in business class on Air New Zealand. Others seem to have had much better luck.

      Inconsistency does not make for a good business class.

  2. “The key benefit of the seat is privacy.”

    The seats are not at all private..

    This is clearly a paid article without any real insights or review of the product.

    A stark contrast to your Air Canada review which features the same type of seat but where you actually paid to travel rather than being paid to advertise.

    • I have flew it, four times to LA. For the generation of seat I would describe it as private, especially for any degree of relaxing recline and even more so in the full flat position. In the upright position, on the 744 lower front cabin at least, one would have had a very sore neck by the end of the flight had they tried to hold any reasonable conversation with their closest neighbour; this was certainly my experience on row 1 with the two closest seats.

      I doubt Rob received any payment, he would do it for the prize for the benefit of HFP readers. In the first artcle he did say he declined the offer of a flight IIRC.

    • Oh! Matron! says:

      This is clearly a paid comment, with no real reading of the article.

      When you read the paragraph in full… “The key benefit of the seat is privacy. Unlike the British Airways ‘yin yang’ Club World layout, where many seats do not have direct aisle access, Business Premier passengers can all step directly into the aisle and are not facing other people directly.”

      The only thing I would correct is the replacement of the first full stop with a comma, thus turning the first comment into a comparison with the second statement

      • The seat is not private, everyone faces an aisle and anyone that walks along the aisle can look directly at you. BA’s layout has at minimum 25% seats being totally private, 59% if you assume the centre pairs are taken by couples.

        I did read the article in full. It just reads as an advertisement since there is no insight, just reads as a sales pitch.

        • There is no insight, because I haven’t flown it 🙂

          However, as few people have any idea what ANZ offers to customers, readers will still learn something from the article. I would never have written such a piece about BA because most of us are fully aware of the product and it would add nothing without an in-flight experience.

        • BA’s Club World is not “totally private”, and is cramped and rather dated compared to its competitors now.

        • “Totally private” as in, staring in to someone’s face for part of the flight?

        • That was the point I was trying to make!

        • That’s an odd definition of private. I would assume (in this context) that it means that the seat is private from your neighbour, as opposed to having to climb over him/her to get to the isle.

    • I haven’t flown it, as I said. 95 per cent of the article is purely factual.

      When I start telling you how great the IFE or how tasty the food is on airlines I have not flown, feel free to criticise 🙂

  3. We travelled NZ Business Premier a few years back from Auckland to Melbourne. Whilst it was a fairly short flight it gave us a chance to try out the seat.

    Whilst the direct aisle access is a plus over BA Club World, I’m not a great fan of window seats that are angled away from the window. The flip over design also restricts the intermediate seat position options and makes the process of turning it into a bed a bit of a faff, although I realise in principle it makes for a more comfortable bed. I would say Club World window seats are more private, albeit as someone commented before in a toilet cubical-esque type of way!

    I’m not saying the Club seat is perfect by any means but on balance I think I preferred it to the NZ seat.

    I can’t comment on the LH service as ours was a short flight. It may of course be that which really makes it.

  4. Since when does staring at several other people and facing the aisle == privacy?

    Raffles, we all know you need to earn your living just like we do, but please make your paid articles less obvious.

    • It isn’t paid. I do not get a penny from ANZ for organising the competition or the related articles – I actually lose money because of the fee I pay to Gleam for the entry software.

      If you can get your employer to put up £1,750 or so of prize for HFP readers I will happily do some free fact-based editorial for your company as well.

      • I assume part of the conditions for providing the prize were you to run X number of sponsored posts.

        All the AirNZ posts read as an advert, no insight or real opinions and not written in your usual style. Of course you are free to continue doing this, but it would be nice if it was a bit more objective.

        • Oh John, pipe it down. You’re just making it clear to all that you’re a jealous (keyboard) bully.

          Simply unsubscribe and never visit the site again if you’re unhappy. But you know what- I bet you’ll be back tomorrow reading the next 3 articles!!

        • You are aware that it’s possible to enjoy a site without loving 100% of it unconditionally? What is factually incorrect about anything they said and how on Earth does it even come close to bullying? I’d actually say that you come across as the bully here…

    • Perhaps if it’s taken in the context of travelling in economy, as compared to this seat 🙂
      I know which I would take for more privacy!

      • Jason, like you I’m sure the vast majority of readers clearly perceive what Rob means by ‘private’. Only those with an axe to grind will make an issue of it.

        • It doesn’t remotely read as if he’s comparing it to economy. And that would be an incredibly bizarre thing to do in a review of a business class seat – you compare it with other business cabins…

          Though this cult following of people who almost seem to be worshiping him (I genuinely know many people who are more willing to accept criticism of their god than several of you ib 8 here are of Raffles!) is testament to how good the site usually is!

  5. Oh! Matron! says:

    Rob, AZ also earn points / Tiers on Virgin Atlantic, although not great

  6. kilburnflyer says:

    I wish people would lay off Raffles. He does a superb job running the blog and if the occasional sponsored post (that as Raffles says is overwhelmingly stating facts about the product) means he can offer some great prizes to readers then why not. Headforpoints is a breath of fresh air compared to the credit-card-refferal-laiden blogs on boardingarea (I’m looking at you “The Points Guy”)

    • I totally agree with this. Anyway we are not morons and I think we can understand that a certain amount of exposure for ANZ is a trade off for the competition prize.

      Do I want the competitions to continue? Yes I do! Although this current one might not float my boat. When I look at the American sites which shamelessly plug credit cards for financial gain I marvel that Raffles keeps this site so un-commercial. Is that a word?

      • Also I agree with Jason’s point. Looks a lot more private than economy or premium for that matter. I felt fairly private on Virgin UC with a similar layout. Anyway who wants to be totally screened off from your fellow travellers? What are you doing to require that?!

    • The other blogs started much the same way with unique content increasing readers before increasing ads, sponsored posts and heavy credit card referrals. Hopefully HFP will continue in current form for some time, however the credit card signup popup trial and slow increase in sponsored posts and advertising may indicate it is being increasingly monetised.

      I would hope Raffles listens to reader feedback both positive and negative, and realises that some/most regular readers appreciate the current format with minimal advertising and honest opinions rather than marketing spiel. If he didn’t, he can simply turn off post comments.

      • Oh come on! I think most regular readers appreciate that it’s perfectly fair for Raffles to get as much advertising etc revenue out of the site as he can – why else would he spend all the time doing it just to please you??

        I don’t see what the issue is with the privacy comment. As Raffles makes clear by comparing the seat to the BA layout, where you are staring into your neighbour’s face, it IS private, as anybody who has flown it or has looked at the picture would see. As private, that is, as you can get on a plane that isn’t your own personal jet.

        • He can do whatever he likes, not disputing that. And unless comments are turned off, we are free to provide comments.

          Anyone who has flown the NZ/AC/VS J seat knows it is not private. Saying it is private in comparison to Y/Y+ is ridiculous when you consider the target demographic for this blog (which Raffles has stated a few times being UK higher value J/F travellers).

          Of course Raffles is free to plaster the site in ads and only run paid advert-posts. I don’t think that will happen in the short term, but it is a careful balancing act of maintaining valued readers and making money from them.

        • Raffles didn’t compare it to Y/Y+ – that was a reader. He compared it specifically to the BA layout – surely even you can understand that.

          Not sure if you would qualify as a ‘valued reader’…

        • Isn’t this article part of a series which also concern Y/Y+ or did I imagine it?

    • He seems like the sort of person who can take valid criticism though. I don’t criticise him for doing this at all, but it’s pretty irrefutable that these Air New Zealand articles aren’t remotely up to the level you’d expect from his normally great articles (for obvious reasons he’s stated several times).

      I’m sure some still find it useful, but I don’t really see why they would given it can’t be too difficult to find a review by someone who actually flew on it!

      I’m not sure I totally buy the losing money on this argument either. In similar competitions in the past I’m sure I’ve read that site viewership, and therefore ad views and affiliate income, spiked because of it. Though maybe 3 economy seats to LA isn’t as big a draw? (Apologies if I’m just making this up!)

      • Exactly.

      • Obviously it drives readership, both in terms of new readers and building the loyalty of existing readers. I wouldn’t do it otherwise! That is totally different to being paid by ANZ though.

        • You may think its totally different but I personally see it as almost identical. They’ve given you a free giveaway that will increase your revenue in exchange for promotion. It’s the same end result.

          Not that I’m remotely saying you shouldn’t do it. Quite the opposite in fact, it’s a commercial blog so you’d be stupid not to! Especially as, like always, it’s minimal advertising with your honest views. I only really bring it up at all because of the over-the-top ranting in some of the comments – it reminds me of the infamous “leave Britney alone”!

        • I take huge amounts of Hilton advertising – I just agreed another week-long package across web, email and mobile yesterday and we are discussing a 3-month deal for the Winter – but I gave the Reichshof such a hard time readers were begging me to leave them alone 🙂 I ran the BA sale ads for a full month up to Tuesday and they don’t exactly get an easy ride on here.

          It is worth noting that the ANZ comp has probably tsken about 15 hours of my time, including the meetings with ANZ, negotiating the terms and rules, writing the articles, setting up the competition etc, for which I get a short term return of £0 and may well have no long-term benefit either. I could have written the equivalent number of articles on other topics in around 2 hours.

        • Erico1875 says:

          I don’t think you need to justify to anyone.
          You made it perfectly clear you hadn’t flown it ,were given a complimentary tour and as a result we get a free to enter competition
          You clearly give your readership far more in value than you can ever receive.

    • Lady London says:

      +1,001 about Raffles’ consistent honesty.

      And I’m a miserable git that’s hard to impress.

      Thanks Raffles for all that you do. Your honesty and unbiased-ness and fairness (you even point out where a deal might not be so good for some of us) is a breath of fresh air. I try to look at your site first every day -although most days I miss as I’m so busy and I could kick myself for all the good things from you that I’ve missed.

  7. Sussex Bantam says:

    Oh for goodness sake – how is this article materially different to the other article today on the Clubrooms by Number 1.

    Rob is pointing out a travel option that we may not be aware of, he is clear that his view comes from a tour organised by the airline, clear that the airline has sponsored a related competition and almost all of the article is factual. The only contentious point is about “privacy” and given the amount of grief people give BA for CW on here I can’t believe that is now being held up as a beacon of “privacy perfection”.

    If you’re not interested in the article – don’t read it. If you don’t believe what he says because of the clearly posted “warnings” – ignore it. Use some common sense everyone…

    • +1, while I’m more interested in a review of the full flight experience, I’d never even considered ANZ before these posts so they are still interesting.

    • Whenever negative comments are made people always jump to the “If you’re not interested in the article – don’t read it.” line.

      Rather than skip it, don’t you think it is better we provide feedback as to _why_ you didn’t like the article? Reader engagement works both ways..

      You are of course free to not read the negative comments, or not reply to them.

      • Sussex Bantam says:

        I am choosing not to reply to this comment…oh, oops…

      • What was the line about pleasing some of the people some of the time, but not pleasing all of the people all of the time. I read the headlines and decide whether I think the article is of interest to me. I read most articles, but have zero interest in all the ones about flights to the far east, as it’s not somewhere I’m planning on going any time in the foreseeable future. That may change somewhere down the line, but for now, there’s no point on me commenting on each of these that “I don’t like this article because I’m not flying to HK/Singapore/Tokyo/wherever.

        I’m assuming the readership here are all big grown up boys & girls, so, as I tell my apprentices, it’s time to take responsibility for your own choices and not to complain when things aren’t always what you want.

  8. The comments section is getting a bit like Flyertalk today, still not a patch on the comments section of The Scotsman though!

    I’ve redeemed 700,000 points since starting to read HfP. It certainly beats the free pots and pans and Cafe Rouge vouchers I used to get from Tesco clubcard. Thanks Rob!

    • There is a valid point underneath it all, albeit one which you may want to take up with, for example, 99% of glossy magazine publishers before working your way down the list of worst offenders to HFP!

      I would also be intrigued to know how many people who commented, on both sides, are running adblocking software – and thus distorting the economics of sites like this.

      • You are correct, HFP is near the bottom of the list of offenders. I only commented as I value HFP in its current form, have been reading it for years and it is a much higher quality offering than the majority of other travel/cc blogs. Hopefully there was some value in the negative comments, as you have a quality product.

        To answer your other question, I only ad-block FT since it started using resource-hungry flash ads. Although cannot think of a time I have intentionally clicked on any ad on any site, so hopefully you are paid per impression rather than click.

        • Flash ads should be over now, as Chrome was refusing to serve flash ads from September 1st.

          The longer term upside of ad blocking may be more direct selling. If I put an ad on the HFP server then it won’t get blocked, and the only way your ad gets on the server is if you pay me to run it. That is a long way down the tracks though and, in any event, I clearly don’t have the resources to be running an ad sales operation.

        • Sorry, my comment regarding flash ads was that I use an ad-blocker to block FlyerTalk ads only.
          Interesting though that you have a positive view of ad blocking.

      • I don’t get the drama over adverts either, I read 99+% of posts and barely even notice the ads, I just sort of tune them out subconciously. It’s a little weird because once in a while one catches my eye so I guess I must process them to somr degree. I do not use ad blocking

      • Ad blocking will become more of an issue I think as iOS users start to install the newly available apps – its not just flash based ads, but all ads on a website. I cant recall the amount of web surfing done solely on iOS devices, however it is a very high percentage, and doesn’t quite fit with operating Apple Ads (which I don’t think ever took off). Its obviously not a tactic Google / android will pursue.

    • Loved the frying pans but I think I got those from collecting tons of stickers via 3V purchases

    • Erico1875 says:

      The kids would probably enjoy Thomson Alfresco or Haven Europe (siblu) more than the Hilton. 4 to 1 on Club Card for certain dates

  9. I have flown Air NZ in Club. It’s a very good product with lovely food and excellent service. The seat is rather like the Virgin one but slightly better because of a mattress topper and a much clearer TV screen.

    I flew yesterday on BA in Club upstairs on a A380 (upstairs, aisle seat). I felt there was less privacy on BA and the food was much better on NZ. BA was still good though and the toilet at the front is indeed enormous. You could have a party in there!

  10. Guys, lets calm down. If we don’t like the posts – we stop reading, we find our info elsewhere. Rob can post whatever he likes. I have yet to see a substandard post though. Many will never directly help or affect me. This is of no consequence. I love this site, yet I accept that changes (as everywhere in life) are inevitable. Some people will approve, other will not. Such is life.

    Rob – thanks for the blog – keep up the great work.

  11. Poor old John is going to be furious when he reads the next Virgin article, as recent articles prove that Raffles has clearly started working for them on the check-in desks.

  12. “The seat is very similar to the one used by Virgin Atlantic in Upper Class”

    It is the SAME seat, licensed from Virgin (then the 787 edits licensed back to VS!)

    “It goes without saying that the seat reclines a full 180 degrees.”

    Not keen on the wording here, it doesn’t recline through to 180, its the same seat as virgin, it reclines a bit, if you want it flat, it flips.

  13. Tried to see if I can book an economy/premier economy ticket throught he NZ link provided and nothing shows up for the next 6 months although the advertised price is £449 for economy, the actual price shown once past the booking screen is £1600 for flying out next week (and nothing past that date)

  14. Good article, in the sense that I learned something new from it. Same can’t be said for some of the comments. When I wake up in the morning I spend 15 minutes in bed reading bbc.co.uk, guardian.co.uk, economist.com and HFP. The HFP read is the one I look forward to most. This article hasn’t changed that.

    • This is me at the weekend. Weekdays, I value the additional time hiding under the duvet trying to summon up the energy to go to work!!! If I didn’t have to work, HfP would be my first read of the day.

  15. Have we become so desperate about the ability to prevent 60% of the cabin seeing us pick our nose, that we’ve forgotten how magical it is to view our world from 35,000ft?
    On that point, why do the seats angle towards the aisle (funnily enough where people are) instead of towards the windows where no-one is?

    And what do couples do? And people with young children?

    • If they didn’t angle towards the aisle, there would need to be a gap between each seat to get in and out. And no window ledge behind the seat to put the duvet & spare pillow on.

      Not that I disagree with your point, but it’s not a practical option.

  16. Steve Blower says:

    When the BMI FF scheme was still running, I flew ANZ J many times. I absolutely loved it. It just blew BA J out of the water back then, even more so now. Not only is the seat great, the staff are amazing. So friendly, attentive and funny, too. The food is edible (BA please note, it is possible to cook an in flight steak properly), and the wine list is excellent.
    If they were in oneworld and I could use or get avios to fly them again, I would in a heartbeat.
    On the third sector, the check in guy said to me, we notice you seem to like 1A, it is currently reserved, but not occupied, let me try for you. Turned out the guy in the other row 1 seat was the ANZ CEO, but I didnt know until some way through the flight. I did wonder why the staff seemed to absolutely and genuinely dote on him. I happened to watch some promo in flight that he appeared in, dressed up as something daft, and asked him if it were he. He was a really lovely bloke too. Very different from WW.

  17. I dont get where people the idea that any gains that Rob makes from the time he spent running the site come at a direct cost to them!

    The competition cost nothing to enter, and whether Rob makes any incremental advertising revenue from the potentially increased traffic/ readership is irrelevant to me – I dont stand to lose anything from the success of the blog!

    If anything, I hope the site gets even more sucess, as this would mean we get more competitions & prizes in the future! It’s a win- win in my view

    Rob- keep up the good work