Air NZ dumps 777-300ER Spaceseat

written by australianaviation.com.au | August 22, 2016
A file image of the Air New Zealand Spaceseat. (Air New Zealand)
The Spaceseat will be gone by November 2017. (Air New Zealand)

Air New Zealand says it will remove the Spaceseat premium economy seats from its Boeing 777-300ER fleet just five years after they started flying in 2011.

In its place on board the seven 777-300ERs will be a more standard forward facing premium economy seat already flying on board the airline’s Boeing 777-200ER and 787-9 widebodies, the airline said on Monday.

Air New Zealand general manager for customer experience Carrie Hurihanganui said the decision was based on customer feedback.

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“When we unveiled the Spaceseat in 2010, it was revolutionary and clearly the best option in the market at the time, as a string of international awards has proven,” Hurihanganui said in a statement.

“However, seating technology and materials have come a long way since then and our customer research now shows consistently higher satisfaction scores for our newest premium economy offering so it’s time to continue Air New Zealand’s evolution in this space.”

A file image of the Air New Zealand Spaceseat. (Air New Zealand)
A file image of the Air New Zealand Spaceseat. (Air New Zealand)

The 777-200ER and 787-9s premium economy seats, which are 19.3in wide and have 41in seat pitch, were first seen on board the airline’s Dreamliners in 2014, and were installed on the 777-200ERs during that type’s cabin reconfigurations that same year.

The change means the 777-300ER premium economy cabin will increase to 54 seats, compared with 44 Spaceseats currently.

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Air New Zealand said the 777-300ER reconfiguration program was expected to begin in February 2017 and be completed by November that year.

Meanwhile, Air New Zealand said its three 787s due for delivery between now and October 2017 would feature a heavier premium cabin configuration compared with those already flying.

Specifically, the business cabin will increase by 50 per cent to 27 seats, from 18, while premium economy will expand 57 per cent from 21 seats to 33 seats.

The 777-200ER and 777-300ERs are mainly used on flights to the Americas, while the 787-9s are mainly deployed on Asian, Australian and South Pacific routes.

A file image of the Air NZ premium economy seat on board its Boeing 787-9. (Air NZ)
Air New Zealand’s premium economy seat on board its Boeing 787-9. (Air New Zealand)

21 Comments

  • Craigy

    says:

    Design awards are great but the judgement of the customer is what makes the seat and the product a winner which pays the bills. Clearly it failed the ultimate test regardless what spin Ms Hurihan.ganui puts on the decision to dump the seat

  • James

    says:

    I would say that Air New Zealand are just finding that the Spaceseat takes up too much space, weighs too much, and the customer generally accepts a traditional Prem Econ seat. If you look at the cabin space, the traditional seat take up less and increases density.

  • Paul

    says:

    Agreed (with Craigy), I was on one of the first flights when the the Spaceseat was introduced and thought it was terrible then. With no built in leg rest and a poor level of recline this was one of Air NZ’s biggest in-cabin failures, its only upside was space to the sides. Had they evolved it to cover off these issues it would have been great. It will be interesting to see if they just purchase more zodiac seats or they go go something beyond that.

  • kerry lane

    says:

    AS A customer who specifically pays more to travel on this aircraft it was clearly a winner – the unimaginative replacement i wont be using and will now exercise my choice given we have so much more ex AKL..
    bad decision A NZ

  • john a

    says:

    Love the SPACESEAT – gutted its going – my feedback and have used it frequently – loved it

  • Wayne Galloway

    says:

    It’s a sad day, having travelled on the 777-300ER in the space seat, it was supremely comfortable and as it’s name suggested spacious. I suspect it’s not about negative customer feedback but more about 10 extra premium bums on seats, and AirNZ quest for more profits. Sadly I won’t be flying my flag airline again.

  • Chris

    says:

    I am sorry to see them go but there was a strong love/hate with these seats. plus they were heavy,

    The Asian market hated them, the American market loved them, as it was better than was or currently being offered bu USA carriers and the UK/European market had a love/hate relationship with the seats, especially flying from London to New Zealand.

    The SpaceSeat are great on the short to medium haul flights (under 6 hours) as oppose to long haul flights over 6 hours in duration.

  • Londoner

    says:

    Re Chris COMMENTS – How could the Asian market hate them – the 777-300 have never been used on an asian service

  • Alison Jones

    says:

    My husband and i loved the 777300 Space seat and having pre booked further flights feel let down by Air NZ

  • DRS

    says:

    Seats are a very competitive market and frequently changing. It’s not a surprise or a new concept to change out seats on an aircraft these days. It really a speaks to a forward thinking airline that stays up on the latest and wants to offer that to their passengers – never a bad thing.

  • Max

    says:

    It’s pretty obvious that the decision to get rid of them has got nothing to do with customer satisfaction and everything to do with increasing profitability – or will the 10 additional seats mean a reduction in the premium economy fares?

  • Matt Hughes

    says:

    note to Chris Luxon & Carrie H – LEAVE THE SPACESEAT on the 777-300 – improve it ( not ditch it )

  • Robyn Templer

    says:

    I loved the way no-one could recline back into your space. This was the reason I changed from Qantas. Now will make other choices that also don’t include flying from Adelaide to NZ and having to go via Chicago on the way to Baltimore.

  • Andrew Rolfe

    says:

    Nothing to do with customer satisfaction. On speaking with AIR NZ call centre – they mentioned how North American customers where the 777-300 almost exclusively flys to long haul along with UK, LOVE the SPACESEAT.
    As a few correspondents have said – only about $$$$. This product is 1st class – shame on you Air NZ

  • mike

    says:

    As a australian customer – i was blown away by the Spaceseat – this made me swap from QANTAS and have used regularly to LA & SFO via Auckland.
    I deliberately did not choose flights with the new 777-200 as its INFERIOR!!!!!

  • DRS

    says:

    Yeah- business is about
    Profitability …. Customer satisfaction is part of that -not all.

  • Dermott

    says:

    Spaceseat was not great for long flights for tall people. As someone said it has never been used to Asia. Zodiac seat would be better if it was wider.
    Interesting that the 3 787-9 next year will have more Business and Premium Economy seats which means they will be used to the US. Someone in Air NZ said Asian market does not pay for premium seats hence lots of economy seats on current 787 aircraft.

  • andrew Clews

    says:

    The profitability case is a curious one.
    When Air NZ have offered a SPACESEAT versus conventional PE seat the same route – when SFO goes double daily over peak as an example – the SPACESEAT was always a significant price premium to the other option. I wont be paying SPACE SEAT prices going forward for this downgraded seat option in future

  • Sally in London

    says:

    GUTTED. Fab innovative product. Well done Rob Fyfe for this gift while it lasted.

  • Gene Boyars

    says:

    Very sad to hear this news. We flew ANZ in Spaceseats last year and were very happy with the whole product. We don’t fly to that part of the world often but without the Spaceseat I doubt I would book ANZ again.

  • Bob

    says:

    Like many of your correspondents, I believe this is driven by economics not customer feedback. Prefer the Spacesaver over alternatives

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