Air New Zealand has revealed its new longhaul product which will feature onboard its Boeing 777-300ERs, including an economy seat able to convert into a bed, a redesigned premium economy and slight update to its business class product.
“Our ultimate goal, after extensive customer research, is to give passengers what they want, which is to give them back choice and control of their journey,” said the airline’s group general manager international airline, Ed Sims. “While our current longhaul product is already considered world class, we weren’t prepared to settle for off the shelf equipment as it wasn’t going to deliver what we wanted for our customers.”
Economy class will be in a 3+4+3 configuration with a 33in seat pitch. Interestingly, 22 seat rows will feature the airline’s new ‘Skycouches’, whereby the arm rests will fold back completely while the footrest will rise up to sit flush with the main seat cushion. As a result, two passengers will be able to lie down on a longhaul flight. Air NZ says that it will offer the skycouch for a slight surcharge to two standard economy fares, but will still be lower than its premium economy fares.
In premium economy, the carrier has redesigned the seats as the ‘Spaceseat’, which is configured in a 2+2+2 cross section and feature a hard back shell with sliding cushions for recline. The centre seats angle outwards from each other, providing privacy while also allowing spaces to be combined so couples can snuggle together or even dine at a common table. The sets of two window seats are angled so as to offer more privacy for individual passengers
Air NZ has also made small upgrades to its business class product, with a slightly larger LCD screen and additional foam in the seat cushion to increase the comfort of passengers sleeping on longhaul sectors. The carrier will install induction ovens, allowing for meals to be cooked onboard for business passengers.
Air NZ says that the new cabin will first be offered on services between Auckland and Los Angeles from December, while services to London via Los Angeles will receive the upgrade from April 2011. The carrier will also fit the new cabin to its 777-200ERs from mid 2011, with all longhaul services to feature the new product by 2012.