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Topic: Y+ Spaceseat, The Trial: NZ 77W Inaugural AKL-MEL
Username: NZ107
Posted 2011-02-25 03:25:00 and read 32767 times.

Premium Economy Spaceseat, The Trial: NZ 77W Inaugural AKL-MEL[b]



[b]Introduction


Air New Zealand ordered the Boeing 777-300ER in August 2007 as a replacement for the 747-400. Having initially ordered 4 with 3 options, only one of those options has so far been exercised with the reason being that the economic climate at the time wasn’t right for purchasing excessive aircraft. Originating from the purchase of the 787-9 and the willingness to want to change the way people fly, Air New Zealand set off to find ways of how to revolutionise travel. As you’re probably well aware, a lot of planning led to the design of the Economy Skycouch, which is a bed made up from 3 seats and the gap being filled by a footrest; and also the Premium Economy Spaceseat – the showpiece of today’s report.

A while back, Air New Zealand had the 77W up for operating its first commercial flight from Auckland to Brisbane on NZ135. Not thinking it’d change, I couldn’t be any more wrong.

Air New Zealand has changed the fare structure on flights to Australia (excluding Perth) and the Pacific Islands. You can buy just the seat (no meal, no movies, no luggage), the seat and a bag, “The Works” (just like how Economy has been for the last few years) and the more expensive fare “Works Deluxe” which allows 2 bags, premium check in, lounge access and premium seating.

The removal of Business Class from the A320 fleet means that Works Deluxe is now the top product offered out of all the other international airports apart from Auckland where Business Class still exists on the wide bodies. This in turn means that the Premium Economy cabins in the 747s and the 777s turn into Works Deluxe areas and even then, you’re guaranteed an empty seat next to you in the ‘old’ Y+ seats of the 744 and 772.

So this is where it all starts off. I purchased a Works Deluxe fare for what I thought was going to be the inaugural flight of this NZ 77W to Brisbane. Everything was set.. I had self-connecting domestic tickets in hand as well. The whole new fare structure was confusing to customer service people and nobody could give me a reason for me not being able to select a window seat, nor could anyone select one for me. It took a little while for that to be solved. Anyway, a couple of months out from the flight, I noticed that the seat map for the flight had suddenly changed and was showing a 772. A little check to the timetable on the website showed that the January 10 flight to Brisbane was indeed a 772 but the same day’s flight to Melbourne was now a 77W. So much for booking early, I now had a booking change to deal with. The moral of the story being don’t book too far out from an inaugural flight – they could just change the destination on you! The only way for one to change flights on Air NZ in this situation is to either go to the airport or ring up their customer service line. I rang them and got an extremely unhelpful person who hung up on me 3 times after waiting for long periods of time. I finally got a friendly person on the other end a day later but the bad news was that I’d have to pay heaps to change my flights. Not being able to do anything else, I went with it and changed my flights.


That seemed enough of an intro! Welcome to my 20th trip report. This report covers my flight on the first commercial flight of Air New Zealand’s brand new 777-300ER in the stylish Premium Economy Spaceseat.

Some photos in this report have been kindly provided by fellow A.Net photographer Sarmad Al-Khozaie, who tried out the new 77W a few days later. His photos are credited accordingly. Photos in this report are copyrights of their respective owners.

So thinking I had got through the hassle of changing my flight, there was one final unexpected hurdle to jump. 2 days out from the flight, I checked the seat I had reserved again to find that the seat number had been taken off again.. Meaning only one thing – there was an equipment change. Surely enough, the 772 was shown to be operating this flight. Frantically trying to see when it was being pushed back to, I eventually found out it was operating the day after it was scheduled to depart so the panic began. I’m not sure if I would have made it without the help of an Air NZ staff member. Luckily enough for me, there was still room on this flight and I was relieved to have a ticket in my hand for the inaugural 77W flight, now happening on Tuesday the 11th of January. It did seem strange sitting at home on that Monday, watching NZ135 fly out to BNE as one of the flights I could have been on had the schedule remained the same.

Topic: RE: Y+ Spaceseat, The Trial: NZ 77W Inaugural AKL-MEL
Username: NZ107
Posted 2011-02-25 03:25:54 and read 32767 times.

11 January 2011

It was an early wake up for me.. The alarm was set for 5:15am but due to the excitement, I don’t think I got much sleep. I was awake to watch the sun rise spectacularly with brilliant shades of blue, violet, purple, red and yellow; similar to the wonderful sunrise I experienced on my flight to LAX. My uncle picked me up at 5:45 and without any traffic on the road, it took no time at all.




So, being a Works Deluxe passenger today, I was entitled to use the Premium check in facility at AKL. It is a separate room on its own to the side of the Air NZ check in desks which I’ve never had the opportunity to use before. It used to look much more flash before they gave it a facelift to match what they were doing for the rest of their check in area. It does utilise more space than the previous version but all they have done is added a small desk, a couple of self service check in kiosks and a bag drop area. I arrived at the area to find one person helping out a couple to check in and no other free ground staff around. I proceeded to check myself in which didn’t take long at all. The difference between these machines and the ones in the domestic terminal is that the international ones have passport readers, making it compulsory to scan your passport. So, what is the consequence of being understaffed in this situation? A queue builds up for the bag drop off area. At least 4 minutes of waiting around seemed like much longer and I wondered if I would have been better off going to the check in counter further down or even to the normal check in kiosks like the rest of Economy. In fact, I probably would have saved time going over there to drop my bags off. Never mind that, there was an apology for the wait and I was finally free to go.

Premium check in area
Check in kiosk



The great thing about the positioning of the Air NZ premium check in facility is that it’s directly underneath the immigration checkpoint. One short lift ride from that secluded area means that you don’t have to walk a long way just to join the queue with everyone else – your very own immigration officer is waiting at the top of the lift! It didn’t take long for him to check my passport although it would have been fun to have used Smartgate to leave NZ as well. It was much faster than waiting to drop my bag off.

As you know from my previous trip report, the airside area at AKL has undergone a makeover for the Rugby World Cup in October/November 2011. It wasn’t quite ready in November but it was officially opened in December to reveal a spacious area. The ‘tree’ is the centerpiece and most of the shops are around this area.

After security
The tree



Nothing else was new so I headed to the Air New Zealand lounge.

Emirates Lounge, obviously closed at this time of day
Qantas Lounge – a bit blurry but not much to see from here
The Air New Zealand Lounge – directly opposite the Qantas one


I was warmly greeted by the ground staff at the entrance area of the lounge.

Air New Zealand’s lounge is quite big – at least it felt that way so early on in the morning. I wouldn’t imagine it being full to the brim but there must be times where the lounge is bustling. There are many TVs around the place, a couple of bars closely resembling what the one at LAX looks like, a quiet area, business area and free wifi. Being open for the vast majority of the day, it would be expected of them to serve various different meals during the day. I wasn’t disappointed at the selection when I took my first look. Hot food, cold food, a barista on duty for any espresso coffee one could simply order – I guess the only ‘complaint’ could be the wait to use the small toaster! There were plenty of people on hand to help out if necessary.

Breakfast – Yoghurt and fruit in the front and scrambled eggs in the warmer
Pancake machine
Selection of cereals
I’ve seen this fridge before! Similar content but more NZ beers
Healthy lounge breakfast
2nd bar area
Ad inside the lounge for the new Spaceseat



So after eating a little and doing a bit of dozing off in the lounge, it was soon time for boarding. I didn’t wait for the announcement but I knew it would have been any moment. Today, we were departing from Gate 3. What a magnificent sight it was to see this brand new 77W waiting for its first revenue flight! Now you could just imagine what my face would look like if they had done another switcheroo on me..

Topic: RE: Y+ Spaceseat, The Trial: NZ 77W Inaugural AKL-MEL
Username: NZ107
Posted 2011-02-25 03:27:47 and read 32767 times.

The other side of it



So, waiting for boarding to begin, the person announcing the boarding over the PA was just as confused as everyone else. She said that boarding would begin shortly but people were already being let onboard due to an earlier announcement made by another staff member. She clicked about a minute later. It was a pretty tight squeeze and nobody could really tell if there was a separate line for premium passengers or not. But anyway, a nice greeting by the people at the gate saw me on my way down the air bridge and onto the first commercial Air New Zealand 777-300ER flight.

Boarding passs
Just about to board this brand new plane!
Flight Information

11 January 2011
Routing: Auckland - Melbourne (AKL-MEL)
Airline: Air New Zealand
Flight: NZ 123
Scheduled Time of Departure: 0800hrs (GMT+13)
Actual Departure: 0819hrs (pushback), 0837hrs (rotate) (GMT+13)
Scheduled Time of Arrival: 1000hrs (GMT+11)
Touchdown: 1003hrs (GMT+11)
Flight time: 3hr 42min
Aircraft: Boeing 777-300ER (-319ER)
Registration: ZK-OKM
Seat: 27A Premium Economy Spaceseat


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Photo © Nicholas Young
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Photo © Colin Hunter


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Photo © Colin Hunter
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Photo © Jonathan Rankin


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Photo © Nicholas Young
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Photo © Nicholas Young


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Photo © Jonathan Rankin
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Photo © Sarmad Al-Khozaie




Air New Zealand took delivery of ZK-OKM, their first 777-300ER, on 24 December 2010. It is the first of 5 on order. 3 will be in the fleet by April when the 77W will be deployed daily on NZ1/2 – AKL-LAX-LHR. Air New Zealand have laid it out so that basically half the plane is for premium seating and the rest is Economy.



GPS Info – Gate 3 AKL
Melbourne approach
Into Gate 10, new pier isn’t on the map yet
The FA crew rest bunk, located at the rear of the plane – A place I didn’t visit
http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5052/5464637460_78735373a8_b.jpg
ZK-OKM New Crew Rest area by Tranquillity Aviation, on Flickr
Copyright Sarmad Al-Khozaie

The mood lighting which created a very pleasant atmosphere in the Business cabin faded into the full glary white, as what was seen in the Premium Economy cabin. It would have been so much nicer had mood lighting been used throughout the plane.


Walking through Business


So for those who have travelled in Business on the old seats, there is basically only a cosmetic change:

http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5253/5464637284_e6c6c109f7_b.jpg
New Business Class on ZK-OKM by Tranquillity Aviation, on Flickr
Image Copyright Sarmad Al-Khozaie

First step into Premium Economy
The bulkhead Y+ seats – 23A and B. The B seat has probably the most legroom out of all the Y+ seats.
http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5217/5464037195_d60d87c62c_b.jpg
ZK-OKM Premium economy by Tranquillity Aviation, on Flickr
Copyright Sarmad Al-Khozaie

Side seats angled towards the window
Looking over the middle seats, angled away from each other
A look at the middle seats
http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5051/5464637396_6f1929151a_b.jpg
ZK-OKM Premium economy by Tranquillity Aviation, on Flickr
Copyright Sarmad Al-Khozaie


There were plenty of FAs to assist passengers in the Premium Economy cabin – two were in my aisle. I reached my seat to find my seatmate already seated (hence lack of space to take pictures of the row.. The aisle was pretty packed actually, impossible to take many pics) and since nobody has grasped the way Air NZ designed the seats allowing the person seated on the aisle to swivel in his seat towards the aisle to allow the other person access to the window, he got out of his seat so I could get in. It felt like a bit of a squeeze to get into the somewhat secluded seat facing the windows with my belongings. What made it worse was the fact that there were these huge down pillows just filling up the space on the seat. Everyone in Premium Economy also had a noise cancelling headset waiting for them.

The Spaceseat

There certainly has been some talk about the new seats Air New Zealand has come up with for Premium Economy. Remember, it is only Premium Economy after all. The layout of 2-2-2 (50 seats in total) in a widebody does make it sound roomy but the legroom provided isn’t the greatest. Being seated at the window didn’t give me a good opportunity to test out the other 2 types of seats within the class – the aisle seat on the sides and one of the seats between the aisles. There has been word that the window seats have the most legroom out of the normal Premium Economy seats (excluding the bulkhead). For someone like me who is only 1.7m (5’7”) tall, the seat is great. There is definitely sufficient legroom for someone my size although add 10cm onto the height and it’ll start to push the comfort levels when in the fully reclined position. The B and J seats didn’t seem to offer very good legroom at all. There is virtually no underseat storage space – the underlying rule seemed to be that if the FAs couldn’t see it behind the beanbag, it was considered ok. I would have had a little more legroom if I had stored my camera bag in the overhead bins but even with it sitting behind the beanbag, it was more than comfortable.

The seat itself, along with the Economy Skycouch, was thought up by the innovative people at Air New Zealand down by Auckland Harbour. It is a hard shell seat whereby the recline ‘eats into’ your legroom. As I mentioned above, you’d be a pretty spoilt person if you were shorter than 1.8m and found yourself uncomfortable with the legroom. There’s a ‘tilt’ button as well which, in short, means that the bottom cushion of the seat tilts down on an angle (when reclined) to support the back of the leg without feeling of you slipping off the seat. The position was extremely comfortable for me.

Middle seats (taken at an earlier date)
http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4111/5085330880_357a9c03b7_b.jpg

The buttons, located just under the seat
http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4090/5084735337_5c507a62d6_b.jpg

Recline
http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4103/5085331036_370aed47a0_b.jpg

Recline and tilt (hard to notice)
Recline + Tilt


Instead of having a footrest built into the seat, they decided that a beanbag would be a good idea so that people could position it in a way that it would be comfortable to people. It was nice to be able to do that – a big step up from the hard bar footrest found in the old Premium Economy product.

One armrest for those seated on all window facing seats has to be stowed for takeoff and landing. I don’t like it myself as I like having both armrests in reach to rest on. But the huge pillow was stuffed under my elbow to try and create the same effect. There are no adjustable winged headrests in Premium Economy, hence the huge down pillows on offer. I would probably actually prefer the winged headrests as they don’t take up much space and they’re not bad at keeping their position.

Getting out of the window seat may prove a problem on a long haul flight. There is absolutely no space to get out when the TV screen and tray table are extended. It’d be a real challenge to get out if the person on the aisle is sleeping.

The seatbelt is similar to how the Business Class one is – it includes an airbag and resembles an old car’s middle seat’s belt more than the traditional plane buckle.

The colour of the seat has got me guessing how long it’ll last. The leather is quite white and soft and I don’t think it’ll take much to mark and tarnish.


Gap between seat and window
Angle of the seats
View from the seat
View looking where the seat points
Relaxed position still with plenty of room in front
IFE handset and a light to the side, plus noise cancelling headset
Retractable armrest, must be stowed for takeoff and landing (annoying!)
View of the wing
View of the huge GE90-115B engine
The rest of the cabin from my seat
In-flight Entertainment

Air New Zealand has released a new version of IFE to replace the Rockwell Collins system which is currently in the 744s and 772s. The new one is made by Panasonic and is similar to the one used on the A320 and 763 fleets. The name given to it by Air NZ is Kupe. It is powerful and holds much more content than the system on the 744 and 772. It has music, movies and TV shows but also has a few Youtube clips which have been put onto the system for people to watch onboard. You can order snacks and drinks through the system like how you can currently do on Virgin America’s IFE. There are other nifty things included and the Airshow function is superb. One wish would be that they added metric measurements! -69F doesn’t mean a thing to me, other than it’s cold..

The TV itself is touch screen but can also be controlled by the handset provided. The TV pops out on the press of a button and swivels out on an arm and can be positioned on any angle you want, including being tilted up and down to cater for the height of the passenger. It is quite ‘in your face’ when extended as far out as possible but I guess you get used to it as the flight progresses.

The PTV extended


[url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pUc9v2UJifY]A youtube clip of IFE[/b]

IFE and tray table deployed
Airshow menu – the following titles referring to the various different modes
“Total Route”
“Time Zone”
“Auto Zoom”
“High Resolution”
“World Explorer”
Click on the city and a pop up window displays with a bit of data
“Location Indicator”
With locations being able to be changed
Movies
A selection of Youtube clips available to watch[b]


[b]TV – Also classic All Blacks rugby matches

Music Videos
Audio options
Much bigger music selection than on the old IFE – U2’s various albums



There’s this awesome new function called My Flight which tells you when things are available and other bits of information such as when the lights were going to be on or dimmed.

Other useful information
About Air NZ
Power, USB and iPod viewing cable (The ordinary cable can only charge, you have to hire/buy the cable that can enable viewing on the screen)
News (didn’t seem to be in operation for this flight)
Food and drinks menu
Not operational on this flight, unfortunately
Items for hire

Topic: RE: Y+ Spaceseat, The Trial: NZ 77W Inaugural AKL-MEL
Username: NZ107
Posted 2011-02-25 03:32:18 and read 32767 times.

Ok, back to the flight.


The Air NZ Star Alliance liveried plane rolls into Gate 2
What would be straight if the seat was straight
Nice size for a window
The design of the ceiling/overhead bins
2 windows to yourself



As you may have noticed, all of the above photos were taken prior to us even pushing back. The FA came on over the PA after a little while and said that there had been a catering stuff up which was keeping the flight delayed and it meant that the food which was supposed to be trialled never made it near the plane. But it was fine for me as it meant I had more time to explore the seat and spend longer relaxing in the comfort of the Spaceseat. Finally, 19 minutes after scheduled departure, we pushed back. We were pushed back a long way to be alongside the new pier and as it worked out, NZ5 from LAX was pulling into Gate 15 which explained why we were towed so far back.


Pushback
CX A343 doing the morning flight



The safety video has been shown all around the world via Youtube.

Air NZ 77W Safety Video

The start up of the huge GE 90-115B engines is a delight to most. When Air India brought their 77L to Auckland to take athletes over for the Commonwealth Games in Delhi 2010, the plane was late in departure but I knew to expect it soon after I heard the start up of the engines (I couldn’t see it). It was no different this time – only my second experience of being inside a 77W! We were finally able to move once the NZ 744 had pulled into the gate and made our way to Runway 05R for departure to the east. The power of the engines is fantastic! We used just under 2km of the runway to take off and we were finally on our way to Melbourne. It didn’t seem too loud but it was certainly louder than an Airbus of a similar size. I don’t think I’ve ever been in a plane which has taken such a quick and sharp turn after departure from AKL! It was a great feeling!


ZK-SUJ pulling in
See you soon?
Carriers from all around
GPS was a little off..
New planes come with shiny wings!
Lining up 05R
Just a few hundred metres off
Takeoff roll
Rotate! And so the commercial life of this 777-300ER begins!
Early turn to the south
The turn wasn’t that sharp!
A long way in the distance – the Central Plateau consisting of (left to right) Mt Tongariro, Mt Ngauruhoe and Mt Ruapehu
And also Mt Taranaki
Leaving the NZ coast


The seatbelt sign was turned off quite early into the flight so I was quick to get up and take a wander around the cabin.

Premium Economy cabin
Normal sized lavatory
Chandelier wallpaper decorations inside the lavatory

Topic: RE: Y+ Spaceseat, The Trial: NZ 77W Inaugural AKL-MEL
Username: NZ107
Posted 2011-02-25 03:35:49 and read 32767 times.

As I walked into Economy, the first thing to notice was the tight aisle people had to squeeze down to get to their seats. Secondly, the whole front of the seat is black, not only adding to the claustrophobia, but also making it harder to see where you’re going.


Economy Class, front section
Rear section


Upon my entry back through the curtains to Premium Economy, some person noticed me taking pictures and introduced himself as one of the operations manager overseeing the 77W EIS (entry into service) and the onboard product for it. It was quite an interesting chat talking about the product and that there’ll be something new for when the 787s are delivered. I bet he has received a barrage of complaints about the seats since!


Back in Premium Economy – I missed some announcement which is displaying on all PTVs
Back in my seat, Mt Taranaki can still be seen
A very comfortable position
Cruising over the Tasman Sea
Another look at the Airshow application
Changeable locations
Beautiful wing flex and the raked winglet of the 77L/77W
Lights and the ‘no electronics’ light replacing the no smoking sign


Hot towels were soon passed out to prepare everyone for breakfast. With that was an apology by the flight attendants about the late commencement of the meal service due to the fact that the caterers had made a blunder. A PA was also made, notifying that due to it being the first flight of this 777-300ER, everyone on the flight would receive free drinks, even those who only paid for just the seat. The announcer also noted that this was a sample of what it’d be like getting breakfast on a long haul flight. I hoped for a trial of their new food but I realised that the catering problem meant we’d just get normal food.

I decided to test out the games section. Bad idea, the screen froze and the system crashed. I pressed the call button and not long after, a FA attended to it and rebooted my system on request.

Games? The controller looks identical to EK’s
Reboot
All ready to go again! Welcoming me back onto the flight


Finally, 1 hr 20 min into the expected 3 hr 30 min flight, the carts were wheeled to the front of the Premium Economy cabin to begin the breakfast service. Shirley, one of the two FAs operating the service in the Premium Economy cabin, called out to everyone before commencing service that it was the first time a meal was to be served on the commercial flight. This was followed by an applause led by her and eventually people started receiving food.

The tray table is cool as it’s not the traditional one. It used to be in the armrest of the old Premium Economy seats. When the button to release it is pushed, it comes down in the same way as a soft closing toilet seat. You can keep it in the half open form if you’re wishing to just hold your iPod or a drink on it but it extends further and can be swivelled around to match the angle of the seat.

Pressing the button (the other deploys the TV screen

VI/AAAAAAAAF1M/69NyIGeDXYI/s800/IMG_3541edit.jpg" border="0"/>Angled correctly
Opened tray table
If pulled out far enough, the tray table can be turned around like so
The commencement of the breakfast service
Getting close to my row!
Special narrow trolleys made to fit down the aisles with a big flat top to increase space for things to be placed on the cart

Topic: RE: Y+ Spaceseat, The Trial: NZ 77W Inaugural AKL-MEL
Username: NZ107
Posted 2011-02-25 03:39:31 and read 32767 times.

Air New Zealand have done away with trays (in the meantime anyway) in Premium Economy. Now there is a purple rubber placemat which is shaped for the tray table. It also serves as a non-slip surface. That is handed out first, followed by the cutlery (metal for Y+!). The cutlery was nice being metal but the spoons were awfully impractical – too shallow for any use. Today, there was a range of drinks on offer to go with the starter which were already on the cart. This included a few juices, a banana smoothie and water. The starter tray was also delivered, comprising of fruit in a bowl, yoghurt and a croissant. Just the usual here, nothing special. A miscommunication and probably due to my lack of awareness meant that I cleared my stuff away after the starter, thinking that there wasn’t going to be anything else offered. I should have realised with the amount of cutlery given out! A ceramic mug was given out if people wanted hot drinks which would come through later.

Placemat
Cutlery and starter
Starter all set up
http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5135/5475700173_6b17a5107c_b.jpg


Breakfast entertainment – All Blacks vs Australia 1996- Athletic Park, Wellington (yes, ABs won)
http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5053/5476296242_5474eefa20_b.jpg

After the starter
The huge disabled lavatory on the rear left hand side of the Premium Economy cabin – wallpaper of a bookshelf
Tonnes of space!


The Y+ galley is in between the two toilets located at the rear of the Y+ cabin. I saw the main being delivered as I was passing so I asked the FA to be told it was part of the meal.. I still have no idea why I thought that the starter was all I was getting! I saw pancakes going out (wouldn’t mind having them again!) and I had to ask for a spare fork as my cutlery had been cleared away. The main was delivered an hour before landing. I had no choice of what I got but I was definitely satisfied with the meal I received – scrambled eggs and sausages with mushrooms on top with tomato and potato. It was well cooked and tasted fine. Eggs weren’t rubbery and tasted fine. Sausages were nice, well accompanied by the mushrooms. It is what you’d expect for a Premium meal and probably matched what the pancakes were like. I had a coke to accompany the meal – funnily enough, it was made in USA so it seemed to have remained on board from the media/delivery flights down from Everett via Los Angeles.


Main


It didn’t take long to clear everything away as they needed to quickly before descent into MEL. There wasn’t much else to do but to relax for the remaining 30 minutes before landing. There wasn’t much else to see out the window but cloud. It seemed like a standard approach into Melbourne but this time, as we were in a big plane, we were to use the longer runway out of the 2 in Melbourne. This meant we took a more southerly route over the city. I have a feeling that those on the right hand side of the plane would have had a nice view of Melbourne as we turned onto final. But at least I got to see something of significance – the F1 track at Albert Park where the Australian Grand Prix is held. It was a very smooth approach and we touched down not too long after scheduled arrival.

Over Victoria
Phillip Island in centre screen
Greater Melbourne
Albert Park – Melbourne’s F1 venue
Base turn to final over Melbourne CBD
II/AAAAAAAAF3I/2FI4xVwC-y4/s800/IMG_3636edit.jpg" border="0"/>Over the runway
Slowing down on Runway 34
Vacating the runway


Just as we started the taxi towards the terminal, the captain came over the PA saying that there was a shortage of gates and we had to wait until our assigned gate had freed up. I watched as an EK 777 pushed back and a D7 A333 took its spot at the terminal. I didn’t see the plane who vacated our gate but 22 minutes after landing, we finally made our way into Gate 10 to complete this first commercial flight of an Air New Zealand 777-300ER. I thanked the crew, disembarked and headed to clear customs.


Crossing the crosswind runway
Halted for a while with the D7 A333 pulling into the gate
On the move!
Passing a QF A380
Interesting line up
Disembarking
Farewell to my seat!
Front of Economy
Back of Economy
Loo with a view in Business.. But not very big compared to the other one!


Conclusion


It was a nice experience to try these seats out. Air New Zealand is trying hard to revolutionise Premium Economy like we’ve never known it to be – more towards a J- than a Y+. From the pictures, the seats look excellent. It certainly has the potential to be a really nice seat but it’s surely not suited to every shape and size. I think it’s clear why they can’t simply remove a row and give the Premium Economy seats a bit more legroom. Everything is designed to fit with the current spacing and there’s a lot that would need to be changed to get everything right to suit a bit more legroom. The angle at which the seat faces could even change if they came to a decision to increase legroom.

I do like the 777-300ER but I don’t quite agree with what NZ has done with it – it seems as though they could have been better off ordering the 748i where the 3-4-3 arrangement in Y would have suited. Maybe the Spaceseats would have been given a bit more room too. I didn’t try out the Economy seats so I have no verdict on them apart from the fact that the aisles were very narrow and the black didn’t seem to suit as an inviting colour.

Comparing this new Spaceseat to the old Premium Economy – there are a lot of differences. First of all, the storage given with the old seat (especially the windows of the 744) was far superior – nothing could come close to the amount of storage I had on the 744 flight. Compare it to the 77W where I could only just fit the camera bag behind the bean bag and had my backpack in the overhead locker. The new seat can’t be compared to what was basically an Economy seat. The beanbag, as I said earlier, is a huge improvement over the metal bar which served as a footrest in the old seat. Legroom isn’t very good for a tall person – they’d much prefer the old style seats where you’ve got a greater pitch. Only having a maximum of one person to climb over has its benefits but it’d provide a real challenge if the person in the aisle was sleeping. In saying all of that, I’m keen to try the Premium Economy seat on a long haul flight to actually test the seat out in terms of sleeping and the likes; also the new service of order when you wish, if they still have that going (heard that meals have been taking 3 hours to deliver). Flying it short haul doesn’t quite match up to long haul travel. So there are a lot of things which NZ has to fix up before this product becomes something that matches what NZ has been known for.

The Y+ seat isn’t all bad but it’s definitely not as spacey as the title ‘Spaceseat’ implies. I do hope NZ can solve these problems and act upon them before they start losing customers.

My lesson has been learnt about booking inaugurals – don’t book too early but don’t leave it too long! Hopefully that won’t happen next time as well.

That comes to the end of this very long report of mine.. Congratulations if you have made it through that. Thanks for reading, any comments are welcome! Bear in mind that there is a separate thread on the criticism of these seats in the Civil Aviation forum and it’d be appreciated if relevant comments were directed there unless it’s a part of a longer comment about the report as well.

Cheers,
Nicholas



Acknowledgements
To all those who helped made this trip happen. You know who you are. Thanks again so much!
To Sarmad Al-Khozaie for letting me use the wonderful pictures in this report. Thanks a lot!


Camera Equipment:
Canon EOS 40D
Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM
Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS
Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM

http://www.flickr.com/photos/anz787900/


Previous Trip Reports:
Grabbing A Seat With Air NZ Part 1/2: AKL-ZQN-AKL (by NZ107 Dec 1 2008 in Trip Reports)
Grabbing A Seat With Air NZ Part 2/2: AKL-NPE-AKL (by NZ107 Dec 22 2008 in Trip Reports)
Air New Zealand: NZ105 AKL-SYD Economy (by NZ107 Feb 6 2009 in Trip Reports)
A Whale Of A Time: Emirates A380 Inaugural SYD-AKL (by NZ107 Feb 15 2009 in Trip Reports)
NZ Domestic Competition: Part 1 Air NZ AKL-WLG-AKL (by NZ107 Jun 24 2009 in Trip Reports)
NZ Domestic Competition: Part 2 JQ/DJ AKL (by NZ107 Jul 23 2009 in Trip Reports)
Joyrides Down Under Part 1: Air NZ AKL-CHC-AKL (by NZ107 Dec 23 2009 in Trip Reports)
Joyrides Down Under Part 2: EK A380 Revisited (by NZ107 Jan 8 2010 in Trip Reports)
Joyrides Down Under Part 3: East Coast Adventure (by NZ107 Feb 11 2010 in Trip Reports)
Joyrides Down Under Part 4: Int'l On Domestic (by NZ107 Feb 23 2010 in Trip Reports)
Joyrides Down Under Part 5: Capital Stopover (by NZ107 Apr 6 2010 in Trip Reports)
Joyrides Down Under Part 6: Homebound On EK A380 (by NZ107 Jun 27 2010 in Trip Reports)
Joyrides Down Under Part 7: The DUD Diversion (by NZ107 Jul 3 2010 in Trip Reports)
A Touch Of Nostalgia - Jumpseating The CV580 (by NZ107 Aug 6 2010 in Trip Reports)
Mission A340: Aerolineas Argentinas A342 AKL-SYD (by NZ107 Sep 1 2010 in Trip Reports)
Mission A340: Emirates A340-500 MEL-AKL (by NZ107 Nov 12 2010 in Trip Reports)
Grabbing A Seat Long Haul: NZ2- The Flagship Route (by NZ107 Dec 6 2010 in Trip Reports)
Low Cost Vs Legacy, Southwest Vs United LAX-SFO (by NZ107 Jan 5 2011 in Trip Reports)
Grabbing A Delay And An Upgrade: NZ5- Upper Deck (by NZ107 Jan 30 2011 in Trip Reports)

Topic: RE: Y+ Spaceseat, The Trial: NZ 77W Inaugural AKL-MEL
Username: jamesontheroad
Posted 2011-02-25 04:03:54 and read 32767 times.

Congratulations on an historic flight, and an historic trip report for a.net ! Thank you for spending the dollars and taking the time to take us with you on the trip.

Quoting NZ107 (Thread starter):
The seatbelt is similar to how the Business Class one is – it includes an airbag and resembles an old car’s middle seat’s belt more than the traditional plane buckle.

Aha! Maybe I'm just dumb, but I never knew that was an airbag.

Quoting NZ107 (Thread starter):
The colour of the seat has got me guessing how long it’ll last. The leather is quite white and soft and I don’t think it’ll take much to mark and tarnish.

+1. I think it's a very risky decision to go for white seats. It could just take one passenger wearing brand new unwashed jeans on a long haul flight to mark one of these seats, and NZ may not have the time or resources to clean them often enough. Fingers crossed they know what they're doing.

Quoting NZ107 (Thread starter):
It was a nice experience to try these seats out. Air New Zealand is trying hard to revolutionise Premium Economy like we’ve never known it to be – more towards a J- than a Y+.

For long haul and ultra-long haul that's a great move. North American carriers have generally treated it as a Y+, as a perk to pacify frequent flyers who can't be bumped into C or F. However, some carriers have been smart about Y+. When BD introduced new sleeper seats to their small A332 fleet out of MAN, they moved the old C cradle seats back into Y+. Likewise a couple of AC's older 767 fleet that couldn't be modernised with the Executive First suite have now reclassified the old business seats as Economy Extra, and restrict them mostly to sunshine and seasonal European routes.

Once again - great writing and great photos. Thank you.

Topic: RE: Y+ Spaceseat, The Trial: NZ 77W Inaugural AKL-MEL
Username: baguy
Posted 2011-02-25 05:29:48 and read 32767 times.

Fantastic TR - thanks a lot!

I have to see that that is an amazing seat for Y+ - your 'J-' sums it up perfectly - many carriers have the same catering for both Y and Y+ so improved meal service looks like a big bonus.

How big a premium do NZ charge for this over Y on average?

BAguy

Topic: RE: Y+ Spaceseat, The Trial: NZ 77W Inaugural AKL-MEL
Username: AlwaysOnAPlane
Posted 2011-02-25 06:25:37 and read 32767 times.

Really enjoyed your report after seeing a photo on here of the new Y+ product. Certainly looks the part thats for sure. A totally different league to say BAs Y+. It does look a little cramped, but with everything else your getting in The Works product i guess NZ have to draw the line somewhere. I thought the "themed" wallpaper was a nice touch.
Also really enjoyed your wing view shots. Always nice to see a massive GE90 from that perspective.

Thanks for the report Nicholas.

Cheers, Lee

Topic: RE: Y+ Spaceseat, The Trial: NZ 77W Inaugural AKL-MEL
Username: luxair747SP
Posted 2011-02-25 07:46:28 and read 32767 times.

Hi Nicholas,

tika hoki very much for this reaaaalllllly long TR.
I was looking forward for that one to see how the NZ 773 is in reality.
The so called space seat, looks like a business class seat on the first view, but after your TR, I see it more, as Y-class seat with a lot of plastic around.
Surely it is far better than the normal Y-class in 3-4-3 layout, which is horrible for the long haul.
The breakfast looks really tasty and the IFE excellent with all the choices if they work.
Thanks a lot for sharing
Cheers
Johannes

Topic: RE: Y+ Spaceseat, The Trial: NZ 77W Inaugural AKL-MEL
Username: debonair
Posted 2011-02-25 09:17:13 and read 32767 times.

Nice TR! Great pics!

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 1):
The B and J seats didn’t seem to offer very good legroom at all.
Quoting NZ107 (Reply 1):
The B seat has probably the most legroom out of all the Y+ seats.

   I am a little bid confused...

Topic: RE: Y+ Spaceseat, The Trial: NZ 77W Inaugural AKL-MEL
Username: aflyingkiwi
Posted 2011-02-25 11:50:42 and read 32767 times.

Ahhh, the long awaited NZ inaugural 77W report. Thanks for getting this fantastic report up with the usual array of brilliant pics.

The Background of the flight sure seemed like a lot of hassle though I'm glad that you were able to get on the inaugural flight.

Quoting NZ107 (Thread starter):
Air New Zealand has changed the fare structure on flights to Australia (excluding Perth) and the Pacific Islands. You can buy just the seat (no meal, no movies, no luggage), the seat and a bag, “The Works” (just like how Economy has been for the last few years) and the more expensive fare “Works Deluxe” which allows 2 bags, premium check in, lounge access and premium seating.

I don't really agree with the new fare structure but one thing I do like is that flying Y+ isn't that expensive any more with the Works Deluxe fare.

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 1):
Air New Zealand’s lounge is quite big – at least it felt that way so early on in the morning. I wouldn’t imagine it being full to the brim but there must be times where the lounge is bustling.

Sounds like a nice place to be before a flight.

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 2):
The layout of 2-2-2 (50 seats in total) in a widebody does make it sound roomy but the legroom provided isn’t the greatest.

I haven't been inside the 77W yet so I can't say too much but boy the legroom looks cramped and I can definitely see why taller people haven't been terribly receptive of the new product.

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 2):
The name given to it by Air NZ is Kupe. It is powerful and holds much more content than the system on the 744 and 772. It has music, movies and TV shows but also has a few Youtube clips which have been put onto the system for people to watch onboard. You can order snacks and drinks through the system like how you can currently do on Virgin America’s IFE.

The new IFE looks fantastic. The snacks and drinks ordering system sounds potentially useful while it's good to see NZ go into the new age by adding some youtube videos (do any other airlines do this?).

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 4):
As I walked into Economy, the first thing to notice was the tight aisle people had to squeeze down to get to their seats. Secondly, the whole front of the seat is black, not only adding to the claustrophobia, but also making it harder to see where you’re going.

Those aisles do look tight and the seat colour doesn't look really appealing.

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 4):
Changeable locations

I like the masses of destinations they have, really Helena,MT & Harbin.

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 5):
The huge disabled lavatory on the rear left hand side of the Premium Economy cabin – wallpaper of a bookshelf

The wallpaper ads a very unique touch to the lavatory. I hope nobody tags on it though.

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 5):
That is handed out first, followed by the cutlery (metal for Y+!). The cutlery was nice being metal but the spoons were awfully impractical – too shallow for any use.

Oh yes!, very nice to see metal cutlery though I hope they can fix the spoon issue.

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 5):
I had no choice of what I got but I was definitely satisfied with the meal I received – scrambled eggs and sausages with mushrooms on top with tomato and potato. It was well cooked and tasted fine.

The starter & the meal both looked very good. The NZ PE catering definitely is top-notch.

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 5):
It certainly has the potential to be a really nice seat but it’s surely not suited to every shape and size. I think it’s clear why they can’t simply remove a row and give the Premium Economy seats a bit more legroom.

Having seen all the complaints, NZ probably need to do something but barring a major product overhaul, there doesn't seem that NZ can do too much.

Once again a fantastic report.

Regards,
aflyingkiwi

Topic: RE: Y+ Spaceseat, The Trial: NZ 77W Inaugural AKL-MEL
Username: jgw787
Posted 2011-02-25 13:13:46 and read 32767 times.

Do they give you a priority tag if you use the self check in system and have to tag your own bag.

Topic: RE: Y+ Spaceseat, The Trial: NZ 77W Inaugural AKL-MEL
Username: FLIEGER67
Posted 2011-02-25 13:36:20 and read 32767 times.

Hi, Nicholas,

congrats to score these mighty machine.

Superb picures and a well written story.
Now I know every detail around these seats!.
And it seems you´re really lucky in the end with the right date and right flight for the inaugural service.

Greetings,
Markus(FLIEGER67)

Topic: RE: Y+ Spaceseat, The Trial: NZ 77W Inaugural AKL-MEL
Username: flightsimboy
Posted 2011-02-25 14:26:02 and read 32767 times.

Excellent report as usual, and a great one as it was an inaugural flight.

I have to say the seat looks great, but they look really cramped. I felt my knees ache just looking at the pics! How is one even supposed to get out of those seats!! Luckily though they bend towards the window allowing you to recline with your feet near the window, but isn't that a bad angle for your back? I recall seeing the Premium Economy seats on QF being a lot better, even with the regular steel footrest.

And what's up with the all Y class seats. It seemed like an endless expanse of black sea! However the veiws from behind are not so bad, with all the seat back TVs.

I have flown on EK and EY B773ERs, which appear a lot much nicer! I think I'll have to pass flying with NZ on this new flagship B773ER jet (that is if I ever get a chance)

Topic: RE: Y+ Spaceseat, The Trial: NZ 77W Inaugural AKL-MEL
Username: NZdsgnr
Posted 2011-02-25 17:29:11 and read 32767 times.

Thanks a lot for that long awaited TR! awesome reporting as always

Topic: RE: Y+ Spaceseat, The Trial: NZ 77W Inaugural AKL-MEL
Username: A340600
Posted 2011-02-25 17:33:39 and read 32767 times.

Excellent and detailed report. The window-view shots are brilliant.

As per the product, from purely pictures I am not convinced. Having been a Flight Attendant myself it screams awkward for the crew; fitting down those aisles, telling people to do the opposite to usual with their armrest on the space-seats, no trays during service, ordering coming from TV's constantly etc etc. I would be interested to hear what they think when more of them have worked on it.

From a pax point of view, those on aisle seats in Y will surely get bashed non-stop and the layout of the Y+ seats seems awkward (up against a wall in particular). The entertainment looks incredible and the artwork in the toilets is a simple yet nice touch.

Thanks for sharing the experience.

Topic: RE: Y+ Spaceseat, The Trial: NZ 77W Inaugural AKL-MEL
Username: 767747
Posted 2011-02-25 20:23:26 and read 32767 times.

Another great report! Wow, Air New Zealand looks awesome! I love the wallpaper in the lavatories   How unique!

This has got to be one of the best (if not the best) Premium Economy cabins out there.

Thanks for sharing! Good photos from the trip ... really good documentation of the whole journey.

Matthew (767747)

Topic: RE: Y+ Spaceseat, The Trial: NZ 77W Inaugural AKL-MEL
Username: triple7man
Posted 2011-02-25 21:20:44 and read 32767 times.

Thank you for your TR. I did not know NZ ordered 777-300ER's so yours was a welcome TR. I have only flown NZ once and that was SYD-LAX in 1999 on a 747-400. The service was very nice, and I thought their 747-400 had more legroom in economy than QF. I also got to visit the cockpit in flight, something I don't think they do anymore.

It sound like the reservations agents were not very helpful when you called to change your flight. (I am a retired reservations supervisor from another airline. Anytime you encounter a rude agent like this, you should ask to speak with a supervisor). That's good you were able to be on the inaugural flight of the 777-300ER, even though you had to change your reservations.

Quoting NZ107 (Thread starter):
The start up of the huge GE 90-115B engines is a delight to most

The 777-300ER GE 90-115B engines do make a distinct and delightful sound on startup. A little loud, but that's ok.

Thank you for all the excellent pictures you took...both inside and outside the airplane. I hope to see more of your TR's like this one.

Topic: RE: Y+ Spaceseat, The Trial: NZ 77W Inaugural AKL-MEL
Username: ronerone
Posted 2011-02-25 23:05:26 and read 32767 times.

Congratulations on your latest masterpiece! An excellent detail on the first peek into NZ's revolutionary 77W product! Something that was much anticipated here, and it was well worth the wait   ..

These 'inaugural glitches' seem to be quite normal, and it is amazing that they can still happen even with a fleet type with great commonality. A new plane is a new plane and that's that. I am suddenly reminded of EK's inaugural A380 flight which of course, expectedly, had oodles of hiccups!  
Quoting NZ107 (Thread starter):
Air New Zealand set off to find ways of how to revolutionise travel. As you’re probably well aware, a lot of planning led to the design of the Economy Skycouch, which is a bed made up from 3 seats and the gap being filled by a footrest; and also the Premium Economy Spaceseat – the showpiece of today’s report.

Out of all the 77W's around, SQ may have kick-started it back in the day, but Air New Zealand clearly put a lot of effort in making the offering on their's quite the eye opener! .. Who would have thought that flat bed seating is now in Economy Class! However, it does seem that the new Y+ concept will be a bit of a challenge to tweak!

Quoting NZ107 (Thread starter):
Air New Zealand has changed the fare structure on flights to Australia (excluding Perth) and the Pacific Islands. You can buy just the seat (no meal, no movies, no luggage), the seat and a bag, “The Works” (just like how Economy has been for the last few years) and the more expensive fare “Works Deluxe” which allows 2 bags, premium check in, lounge access and premium seating.

Very interesting.

Quoting NZ107 (Thread starter):
I now had a booking change to deal with. The moral of the story being don’t book too far out from an inaugural flight – they could just change the destination on you! The only way for one to change flights on Air NZ in this situation is to either go to the airport or ring up their customer service line. I rang them and got an extremely unhelpful person who hung up on me 3 times after waiting for long periods of time. I finally got a friendly person on the other end a day later but the bad news was that I’d have to pay heaps to change my flights. Not being able to do anything else, I went with it and changed my flights.

And i can totally imagine the amount of stress you had gone through! But, the airline really should have made the effort to contact all customers, as it is an inaugural flight!

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 1):
As you know from my previous trip report, the airside area at AKL has undergone a makeover for the Rugby World Cup in October/November 2011. It wasn’t quite ready in November but it was officially opened in December to reveal a spacious area. The ‘tree’ is the centerpiece and most of the shops are around this area.

Nice makeover! How long did it take to complete?

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 1):
I wasn’t disappointed at the selection when I took my first look. Hot food, cold food, a barista on duty for any espresso coffee one could simply order – I guess the only ‘complaint’ could be the wait to use the small toaster! There were plenty of people on hand to help out if necessary.

Exactly the same offering when i was there last November. Great pancakes!

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 2):
Just about to board this brand new plane

And that purple mood lighting sets just the right tone for the upcoming inugural activities you were about to experience!  
Quoting NZ107 (Reply 2):
Looking over the middle seats, angled away from each other

From t his view. These seats can remotely compete with CX's new J class seat! .. Am i even allowed to devise such a comparison?  
Quoting NZ107 (Reply 2):
The colour of the seat has got me guessing how long it’ll last. The leather is quite white and soft and I don’t think it’ll take much to mark and tarnish.

I have the same thoughts. Though the white leather is very attractive and slick!

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 3):
CX A343 doing the morning flight

You should try out that flight soon  
Quoting NZ107 (Reply 4):
Shirley, one of the two FAs operating the service in the Premium Economy cabin, called out to everyone before commencing service that it was the first time a meal was to be served on the commercial flight. This was followed by an applause led by her and eventually people started receiving food.

LOL ... That is very a.nettish! ... I like it  
Quoting NZ107 (Reply 5):
and a D7 A333 took its spot at the terminal.

You wouldn't want to see the check-in queues for a sold out AirAsia X A333 flight at MEL. I was practically scarred for life after seeing the amount of humans they can pack into that plane! Haha  
Quoting NZ107 (Reply 5):
It was a nice experience to try these seats out. Air New Zealand is trying hard to revolutionise Premium Economy like we’ve never known it to be – more towards a J- than a Y+. From the pictures, the seats look excellent. It certainly has the potential to be a really nice seat but it’s surely not suited to every shape and size. I think it’s clear why they can’t simply remove a row and give the Premium Economy seats a bit more legroom. Everything is designed to fit with the current spacing and there’s a lot that would need to be changed to get everything right to suit a bit more legroom. The angle at which the seat faces could even change if they came to a decision to increase legroom.

I do like the 777-300ER but I don’t quite agree with what NZ has done with it – it seems as though they could have been better off ordering the 748i where the 3-4-3 arrangement in Y would have suited. Maybe the Spaceseats would have been given a bit more room too. I didn’t try out the Economy seats so I have no verdict on them apart from the fact that the aisles were very narrow and the black didn’t seem to suit as an inviting colour.

It would be very interesting to see how they can tweak it around, as i am certain their will be a phase of some sort of optimisation. I am wondering why it would be difficult to remove a row of the Y+ seat for better legroom though?


Many thanks for bringing this to our screens fairly quickly! A job well done as usual!  

Cheers,
Roni

Topic: RE: Y+ Spaceseat, The Trial: NZ 77W Inaugural AKL-MEL
Username: PlaneHunter
Posted 2011-02-26 00:53:32 and read 32767 times.

Hi Nicholas,

I had been looking forward to this 77W inaugural report - what a great piece of work you have delivered! Your fantastic pictures show all details, well done!

I'm glad you were able to get on that flight after nerve-wracking schedule and equipment changes. I can imagine how you felt during that phase of uncertainties.

However, I'm not sure what to think of the cabin layout and choice of colors. Black and white - very elegant, but probably not useful on the long term. The Spaceseat design is quite impressive, but getting out of your window may be a serious problem under certain circumstances.

Quoting NZ107 (Thread starter):
Air New Zealand has changed the fare structure on flights to Australia (excluding Perth) and the Pacific Islands. You can buy just the seat (no meal, no movies, no luggage), the seat and a bag, %u201CThe Works%u201D (just like how Economy has been for the last few years) and the more expensive fare %u201CWorks Deluxe%u201D which allows 2 bags, premium check in, lounge access and premium seating.

Very interesting concept - this provides an answer to the threats by Emirates and low-cost carriers. We'll see whether it turns out to be successful.

Quoting NZ107 (Thread starter):
Now you could just imagine what my face would look like if they had done another switcheroo on me..

Pure horror...

Quoting NZ107 (Thread starter):
The other side of it

The waves are missing, the plane looks so...unfinished.

Quoting NZ107 (Thread starter):
The colour of the seat has got me guessing how long it%u2019ll last. The leather is quite white and soft and I don%u2019t think it%u2019ll take much to mark and tarnish.

That's what I thought, too. Will be interesting to see what happens after two or three years...

Quoting NZ107 (Thread starter):
You can order snacks and drinks through the system like how you can currently do on Virgin America%u2019s IFE.

I still prefer printed menus...

Quoting NZ107 (Thread starter):
The huge disabled lavatory on the rear left hand side of the Premium Economy cabin %u2013 wallpaper of a bookshelf

Another good idea!

Quoting NZ107 (Thread starter):
The main was delivered an hour before landing. I had no choice of what I got but I was definitely satisfied with the meal I received – scrambled eggs and sausages with mushrooms on top with tomato and potato. It was well cooked and tasted fine. Eggs weren’t rubbery and tasted fine. Sausages were nice, well accompanied by the mushrooms. It is what you’d expect for a Premium meal and probably matched what the pancakes were like.

Wow, looks very good.


Thanks again for posting this review, I know how long it takes to compose a high-quality report.

PH

Topic: RE: Y+ Spaceseat, The Trial: NZ 77W Inaugural AKL-MEL
Username: airpearl
Posted 2011-02-26 02:08:24 and read 32767 times.

Hi Nicholas

Absolutely stunning! Thanks for this REALLY comprehensive, much awaited first A.net report on NZ's 77W - what more aboard its unique Y+ class. I am impressed at how you persevered through the early changes - firstly of destination, then date - but it seems to have been worth it! Thank you for sharing this fantastic report - it's a gem.

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 1):
Today, we were departing from Gate 3. What a magnificent sight it was to see this brand new 77W waiting for its first revenue flight! Now you could just imagine what my face would look like if they had done another switcheroo on me..

Hmmm, lucky then this wasn't the story in The New Zealand Herald on Jan 12: A Melbourne-bound Air New Zealand passenger ran amok Tuesday at Auckland Airport and refused to board his flight unless the airline reinstates an originally scheduled plane..."I am not going to Melbourne in an A320," the man said repeatedly, as he was taken away by airport police.   But seriously though, I think the NZ livery is just too plain and the 77W does exacerbate that white space...

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 2):
The mood lighting which created a very pleasant atmosphere in the Business cabin faded into the full glary white, as what was seen in the Premium Economy cabin. It would have been so much nicer had mood lighting been used throughout the plane.

Absolutely. The difference is immediately noticeable in your pics. I would imagine it's a matter of cost - as with everything else these days - but I just wonder how much more expensive it is to use mood lighting throughout.

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 2):
So for those who have travelled in Business on the old seats, there is basically only a cosmetic change:

Looks nice. But I'm still not sure about the color though (applies to Y too) - I wonder how it'll stand up against the years of passenger abuse to come. From some reports I've seen, some of the light-colored Business Class seats on SQ that are newish are already not faring too well in the wear-n-tear department.

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 2):
The buttons, located just under the seat

It does look like some very hard to find buttons! Is it any more intuitive when sat in the seats?

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 2):
It%u2019d be a real challenge to get out if the person on the aisle is sleeping.

That's not so good. The adverts make them look like there's so much space!

I have to say it again: this is an excellent review of the new Economy Premium. Thanks so much. For all its weaknesses, this does look like a big step forward and sets a new standard in Y+. It'll interesting to see what other airlines will do in the next few years to match.

Cheers
airpearl

[Edited 2011-02-26 02:09:42]

Topic: RE: Y+ Spaceseat, The Trial: NZ 77W Inaugural AKL-MEL
Username: LH4116
Posted 2011-02-26 08:37:58 and read 32767 times.

Good evening Nicolas!

What an excellent report you've made this time, with some stunning pics as always!

It's interesting how NZ have decided to end their full-service concept for Y class and go over to giving the costumers the option to purchase extra services such as meals, lounge access, luggage and better seats. I found the Works Deluxe option to offer great value for the money, in fact I think it's a bargain really since they basically offer everything you'd expect from a J class ticket at a fraction of the cost. If only the stupid airline *cough*SAS*cough* we have up here would come up with a similar idea...

The NZ Lounge in AKL looked really nice. Breakfast offerings seemed very generous, I found the pancake machine to be a nice touch, though IIRC it didn't produce the best pancakes? How was the Barista service, was it up to par with what you'd expect from a real café?

The Y+ seat on NZ's 77W looked great, and I couldn't agree more with the fact that it's more like a Business Light product rather than Premium Economy. I did however find it strange that the TV-screens in Y were bigger than the ones in Y+.
Catering appeared to be almost up to par with what you'd expect in J. The individual table setup added a nice premium touch. The rubber table cloth didn't look that nice, but then again they need something to distinguish Y+ from J.

Hope to see more reports from you Nicholas!
Thanks for sharing

//Jonas

Topic: RE: Y+ Spaceseat, The Trial: NZ 77W Inaugural AKL-MEL
Username: gabrielchew
Posted 2011-02-26 11:42:19 and read 32767 times.

Looks like NZ have been busy coming up with some interesting new ideas - I'm keen to find out what Y pax think of the skycouch - seems way too overambitous, but good luck to them.

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 4):
Upon my entry back through the curtains to Premium Economy, some person noticed me taking pictures and introduced himself as one of the operations manager overseeing the 77W EIS (entry into service) and the onboard product for it. It was quite an interesting chat talking about the product and that there’ll be something new for when the 787s are delivered. I bet he has received a barrage of complaints about the seats since!

Did you let him know your extra expenses incurred due to them chaning the inagural dates?

Topic: RE: Y+ Spaceseat, The Trial: NZ 77W Inaugural AKL-MEL
Username: kiwiandrew
Posted 2011-02-26 12:28:53 and read 32767 times.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 19):
It would be very interesting to see how they can tweak it around, as i am certain their will be a phase of some sort of optimisation. I am wondering why it would be difficult to remove a row of the Y+ seat for better legroom though?

My understanding as that because of the angling the current seat pitch means that peoples leg will line up with the "gap" in the row ahead , if you alter the seat pitch then peoples legs will "miss" the gap which could effectively reduce rather than increase the leg room even though technically the pitch would be greater .

Topic: RE: Y+ Spaceseat, The Trial: NZ 77W Inaugural AKL-MEL
Username: NZdsgnr
Posted 2011-02-26 12:45:22 and read 32767 times.

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 22):
It's interesting how NZ have decided to end their full-service concept for Y class and go over to giving the costumers the option to purchase extra services such as meals, lounge access, luggage and better seats. I found the Works Deluxe option to offer great value for the money, in fact I think it's a bargain really since they basically offer everything you'd expect from a J class ticket at a fraction of the cost. If only the stupid airline *cough*SAS*cough* we have up here would come up with a similar idea...

The concept of buying what you want is only available to flights betweent New Zealand-Australia and New Zealand-Pacific Islans (excluding Tahiti)
and the Work deluxe isn't always that great. Most of the flights between NZ-Aust are on A320s and the Works Deluxe basically is an Y seat but you get the middle one blocked off rather than a nicer Y+ seat.

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 22):
I did however find it strange that the TV-screens in Y were bigger than the ones in Y+.

The PTVs in Y and Y+ are both the same size at 10.6" while C is 12.1"

Topic: RE: Y+ Spaceseat, The Trial: NZ 77W Inaugural AKL-MEL
Username: MSS658
Posted 2011-02-27 05:04:34 and read 31990 times.

Nice trip report, but the spaceseat does look a bit cramped IMO. Have you seen people use the skycouch in Y?

Topic: RE: Y+ Spaceseat, The Trial: NZ 77W Inaugural AKL-MEL
Username: akhmad
Posted 2011-02-27 10:50:38 and read 31803 times.

Hi Nicholas,

I have been waiting for this report of yours! I must say I am speechless.

Many thanks for the in-depth observation of this innovative product and congratulations with the inaugural flight on the new NZ Y+, especially after all the hassles beforehand.

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 2):
“Location Indicator”

Very nice in case you want to know how far you might be located from the Taj Mahal.

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 2):
U2’s various album

Beautiful Day! My favorite song!

Thank you so much for sharing and the inspiration to improve my future TR!

Cheers,
Suryo

Topic: RE: Y+ Spaceseat, The Trial: NZ 77W Inaugural AKL-MEL
Username: NZ107
Posted 2011-02-27 15:01:17 and read 31590 times.

Thanks for the comments so far, everyone!

Quoting jamesontheroad (Reply 6):
Congratulations on an historic flight, and an historic trip report for a.net ! Thank you for spending the dollars and taking the time to take us with you on the trip.

Thanks for the comments so far, everyone!

Quoting jamesontheroad (Reply 6):
Congratulations on an historic flight, and an historic trip report for a.net ! Thank you for spending the dollars and taking the time to take us with you on the trip.

Hi James,

Thanks for your comments! In the end, it was satisfying to get that first flight so I think the experience alone helped make it seem more worthwhile!

Quoting jamesontheroad (Reply 6):
Aha! Maybe I'm just dumb, but I never knew that was an airbag.

Nobody tells you these things   I think there's a reason to allowing J to be seated in any position during takeoff and landing.

Quoting jamesontheroad (Reply 6):
Fingers crossed they know what they're doing.

Let's hope so.

Quoting baguy (Reply 7):
Fantastic TR - thanks a lot!

Hi BAguy,

Thanks for your comments!

Quoting baguy (Reply 7):

How big a premium do NZ charge for this over Y on average?

Varying with sales, generally somewhere between 90 and 150% more than Economy. A different situation altogether around peak season where you'd be better off buying a Y seat where it's a mere $300 more than Y.

Quoting AlwaysOnAPlane (Reply 8):
Really enjoyed your report after seeing a photo on here of the new Y product. Certainly looks the part thats for sure.

Hi Lee,

Thanks for your comments, glad you enjoyed!

Quoting AlwaysOnAPlane (Reply 8):
It does look a little cramped, but with everything else your getting in The Works product i guess NZ have to draw the line somewhere.

Much better getting Works Deluxe in a widebody or else you'd be in an A320 with the feel of being in a European airline - a normal Y seat with the seat next to you blocked!

Quoting AlwaysOnAPlane (Reply 8):
Always nice to see a massive GE90 from that perspective.

I was hoping to get a little more forward in the cabin but the front half of Y for Tasman flights is reserved for Koru Club and *G members. It's always nice to be in front of the wing though!

Quoting luxair747SP (Reply 9):
tika hoki very much for this reaaaalllllly long TR.

Hi Johannes,

Haha, my Te Reo isn't great - can't find any translations for it either.. Might have been a bit more understandable if you used ka pai   Indeed, it was a reaaallllly long TR, I just couldn't find a way to shorten it!

Quoting luxair747SP (Reply 9):
The so called space seat, looks like a business class seat on the first view, but after your TR, I see it more, as Y-class seat with a lot of plastic around.

I don't think any airline would dare configure an economy cabin in 2-2-2 unless the prices were similar to that of Y ! I think it's much more advanced than the Y seat however there are those things which could make the thing a whole lot better; with one of them being legroom. At least there is ample overhead storage space.

Quoting debonair (Reply 10):

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 1):
The B and J seats didn%u2019t seem to offer very good legroom at all.
Quoting NZ107 (Reply 1):
The B seat has probably the most legroom out of all the Y seats.

I am a little bid confused...

Thanks for your comments debonair and sorry for the confusion - "The B seat has probably the most legroom out of all the Y seats" refers to the bulkhead seat only as shown in the picture which it is captioning. Hope that clears the air.

Quoting aflyingkiwi (Reply 11):
Ahhh, the long awaited NZ inaugural 77W report. Thanks for getting this fantastic report up with the usual array of brilliant pics.

Hi aflyingkiwi,

Thanks for your comments! You're welcome!

Quoting aflyingkiwi (Reply 11):

I don't really agree with the new fare structure but one thing I do like is that flying Y isn't that expensive any more with the Works Deluxe fare.

It was a hard concept to grab from the beginning but I believe it has its merits (apart from the ditching of J on all the A320s). The interesting thing that Air NZ found out after implementing it is that the majority of people want what they've usually been getting so more 'Works' fares have been selling than the other fares.

Quoting aflyingkiwi (Reply 11):
but boy the legroom looks cramped and I can definitely see why taller people haven't been terribly receptive of the new product.

If only NZ had looked at this and sorted it out earlier..

Quoting aflyingkiwi (Reply 11):

The new IFE looks fantastic. The snacks and drinks ordering system sounds potentially useful while it's good to see NZ go into the new age by adding some youtube videos (do any other airlines do this?).

It's superb. I was just a bit disappointed when I wasn't able to order anything on it! I'm not aware of any other airline having youtube videos on their IFE systems..

Quoting aflyingkiwi (Reply 11):
I like the masses of destinations they have, really Helena,MT & Harbin.

It's great even though it's such a simple thing to add in.

Quoting aflyingkiwi (Reply 11):
I hope nobody tags on it though.

It's not Jetstar  

But yeah, I'd hate for it to be tagged on.

Quoting aflyingkiwi (Reply 11):
Having seen all the complaints, NZ probably need to do something but barring a major product overhaul, there doesn't seem that NZ can do too much.

The first thing they could do is acknowledge that there is a problem. The media is on them at the moment about the food saga and the fact that dinner has been taking 3 hours to do on NZ5/6; with the removal of pre meal drinks/snacks. It won't take a major product overhaul to rectify this but it certainly won't be so straight forward.

Quoting jgw787 (Reply 12):
Do they give you a priority tag if you use the self check in system and have to tag your own bag.

No, there is no 'priority' tag as such but it's written on the baggage tag IIRC and probably held back for a different can which is released sometime around when the J bags start arriving.

Quoting FLIEGER67 (Reply 13):
congrats to score these mighty machine.

Hi Markus,

Thanks for your comments! It's my second flight on a 77W, too bad they've both been short sectors.

Quoting FLIEGER67 (Reply 13):
Superb picures and a well written story.
Now I know every detail around these seats!.
And it seems you´re really lucky in the end with the right date and right flight for the inaugural service.

That was the plan! I'm glad I was able to get on the flight.

Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 14):
Excellent report as usual, and a great one as it was an inaugural flight.

Thanks for your comments flightsimboy! Inaugurals just feel so much better to be on, even if the airline doesn't do too much in the way of celebration!

Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 14):
I have to say the seat looks great, but they look really cramped. I felt my knees ache just looking at the pics! How is one even supposed to get out of those seats!! Luckily though they bend towards the window allowing you to recline with your feet near the window, but isn't that a bad angle for your back? I recall seeing the Premium Economy seats on QF being a lot better, even with the regular steel footrest.

Indeed, if only they gave a bit more legroom. The concept thought up by Air NZ was that the person sitting in the aisle seat swivels in their seat so that their feet are in the aisle, thus giving the window passenger a free path to get to the aisle. They should tell people about it or it'd just create more hassle than necessary. Then again, this can only be done if the tray table and screen aren't extended. The seat itself is straight and it aligns properly with the area where the feet go so no, there aren't any issues with your back or anything. That's of course unless you're silly enough not to deploy the TV screen in which case you could start getting a sore neck. The QF Y+ seat seems rather similar to the old Y+ of NZ's, just with everything updated a bit because they didn't release the product too long ago. That's unless you mistook their Business skybeds for Premium Economy which QF did use on their operations where they didn't have Y+ installed. I personally don't like the metal bar footrest for long haul journeys - it's super uncomfortable without your shoes on and the bean bag feels great.

Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 14):
And what's up with the all Y class seats. It seemed like an endless expanse of black sea!

Indeed, my impression too when I first entered the Economy cabin and believe me, the cabin itself was pretty dark at the time too (most window shades down etc) so it just made things even worse than in the picture I provided from disembarkation.

Quoting NZdsgnr (Reply 15):
Thanks a lot for that long awaited TR! awesome reporting as always

Thanks NZdsgnr! I'm just glad I was able to meet my self-imposed deadline  
Any input from you about this product?

Quoting A340600 (Reply 16):
Excellent and detailed report. The window-view shots are brilliant.

Thanks for commenting, A340600!

Quoting A340600 (Reply 16):
As per the product, from purely pictures I am not convinced. Having been a Flight Attendant myself it screams awkward for the crew; fitting down those aisles, telling people to do the opposite to usual with their armrest on the space-seats, no trays during service, ordering coming from TV's constantly etc etc. I would be interested to hear what they think when more of them have worked on it.

Yes, it does seem very awkward for the crew. Already there have been reports saying all meal services are heavily delayed and they've had to chop things from the Economy menu such as the post takeoff drinks and snack run. I believe they are understaffed and have felt that way since the details of the service was released to them.

Quoting A340600 (Reply 16):
From a pax point of view, those on aisle seats in Y will surely get bashed non-stop and the layout of the Y+ seats seems awkward (up against a wall in particular). The entertainment looks incredible and the artwork in the toilets is a simple yet nice touch.

That's right. I'd hate to get anything bashed but I know it's bound to happen. Another event which isn't helped by the narrow aisles is if some large person suddenly needs CPR in flight. Do you risk trying to squeeze the person onto the floor or try and somehow move them out to near the emergency exits? The entertainment seems like one of the few positive things to come out of the new product but I must say that it seems to be the second best IFE in the world behind EK's ICE.

Quoting 767747 (Reply 17):
Another great report! Wow, Air New Zealand looks awesome! I love the wallpaper in the lavatories How unique!

Hi Matthew,

Thanks for your comments!
Some really nice touches by Air NZ include the wallpaper.. Something unique and it helps create the lavatory to be not quite as awful as they've been in the past!

Quoting 767747 (Reply 17):
This has got to be one of the best (if not the best) Premium Economy cabins out there.

It should have been the best from the outset, had they hired some taller people to try the seats out but it's going to become a problem, especially when the FAs reply to the passengers with "fly Business next time". It still has the potential to be the best Y+ seat out there.

Quoting triple7man (Reply 18):
Thank you for your TR. I did not know NZ ordered 777-300ER's so yours was a welcome TR. I have only flown NZ once and that was SYD-LAX in 1999 on a 747-400. The service was very nice, and I thought their 747-400 had more legroom in economy than QF. I also got to visit the cockpit in flight, something I don't think they do anymore.

Thanks for commenting, triple7man!

With someone like yourself with a username like that, I'd expect you to be well on top of who owns 777s and future deliveries too!  
Yes, NZ has more legroom than QF. Cockpit visits in flight are extremely rare post 9/11!

Quoting triple7man (Reply 18):
It sound like the reservations agents were not very helpful when you called to change your flight. (I am a retired reservations supervisor from another airline. Anytime you encounter a rude agent like this, you should ask to speak with a supervisor). That's good you were able to be on the inaugural flight of the 777-300ER, even though you had to change your reservations.

As a matter of fact, I did ask that rude CS agent to speak to the supervisor but she told me that I needed a good reason to talk to one of them or they'd just send me straight back to her. It didn't help me one bit and it didn't seem like I could do anything else about it at the time.

Quoting triple7man (Reply 18):
The 777-300ER GE 90-115B engines do make a distinct and delightful sound on startup. A little loud, but that's ok.

It's part of the 777 experience!

Quoting triple7man (Reply 18):
Thank you for all the excellent pictures you took...both inside and outside the airplane. I hope to see more of your TR's like this one.

Not a problem! Read up on my older TRs, I'm unsure about when I'll get around to writing another  
Quoting ronerone (Reply 19):
Congratulations on your latest masterpiece! An excellent detail on the first peek into NZ's revolutionary 77W product! Something that was much anticipated here, and it was well worth the wait

Hey Roni,

Thanks a lot for your comments! Wow, getting this TR called a masterpiece by you is an honour!  
Quoting ronerone (Reply 19):
These 'inaugural glitches' seem to be quite normal, and it is amazing that they can still happen even with a fleet type with great commonality. A new plane is a new plane and that's that. I am suddenly reminded of EK's inaugural A380 flight which of course, expectedly, had oodles of hiccups!

Yeah but they had the plane idle in AKL for 2-3 weeks and surely in that time, you could get things smoothed out. I guess not! But what does moving the flight back by one day really do?? Now the one 'inaugural glitch' which is bugging everyone must be the NH 787! Just imagine that.. I hope NZ doesn't run into the same glitch hole as everyone else does when they get their 789s. The plan is definitely set on that one.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 19):
but Air New Zealand clearly put a lot of effort in making the offering on their's quite the eye opener! .. Who would have thought that flat bed seating is now in Economy Class! However, it does seem that the new Y+ concept will be a bit of a challenge to tweak!

Yeah, it's nice to see them try and revolutionise travel in Y and Y+. A great concept but whether or not it'll work in reality is another question. And how quickly this one is resolved is yet to be seen.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 19):
But, the airline really should have made the effort to contact all customers, as it is an inaugural flight!

In that case, they should have contacted the top executives too because they thought they were on the inaugural flight which went to BNE 3 days later! That was the flight Sarmad was on and he sat opposite Rob Fyfe.. He was clueless haha. That in itself - having more info than the executives - is something to cherish!

Quoting ronerone (Reply 19):
Nice makeover! How long did it take to complete?

IIRC about a year. It's a huge change from what it was in early 2009 - take a look back to my AKL-SYD NZ105 TR and you'll notice that you probably won't recognise the landside departures hall! A lot has changed and the landside area has significantly shrunk to allow room (mainly) for those big duty free shops. I still can't decide which one is better - being someone who doesn't travel much, the old one was so much better as you could look at all the shops and have more fun with whoever was leaving but now there's basically just food outlets.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 19):
Exactly the same offering when i was there last November. Great pancakes!

I never tried the pancakes.. I wish I had more of an appetite that morning!

Quoting ronerone (Reply 19):
And that purple mood lighting sets just the right tone for the upcoming inugural activities you were about to experience!

It definitely can.. Though I was disappointed when I reached Y+ that mood lighting wasn't activated for boarding. It would have been so much nicer if it had!

Quoting ronerone (Reply 19):
From this view. These seats can remotely compete with CX's new J class seat! .. Am i even allowed to devise such a comparison?

Hahaha, I think you've overstepped a little bit there, trying to compare the Spaceseat with CX's new new J seat! The new new J seat looks great.. I hope I get a chance to try it out. Even though the NZ Y+ seat is a good seat (for me at least), there are quite a few drawbacks which bug me a little.. One of them being no underseat storage.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 19):
You should try out that flight soon

Already done it, in J!   But yeah, it's another awesome flight as it's a long haul day flight flying right over CNS and MNL (I guess depending on the winds etc) and you arrive in HKG about 1500-1600.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 19):
LOL ... That is very a.nettish! ... I like it

It was great to be able to experience that! Kudos to the cabin crew for it!

Quoting ronerone (Reply 19):
You wouldn't want to see the check-in queues for a sold out AirAsia X A333 flight at MEL. I was practically scarred for life after seeing the amount of humans they can pack into that plane! Haha

Can you imagine them buying a couple of A380s..   I don't think KUL's LCCT could handle that!

Quoting ronerone (Reply 19):
It would be very interesting to see how they can tweak it around, as i am certain their will be a phase of some sort of optimisation. I am wondering why it would be difficult to remove a row of the Y+ seat for better legroom though?

It will be interesting if they do anything at all to rectify the situation. It is made difficult to just remove a row because of the angle that they currently face. At the moment, it's aligned perfectly with the gap for where your feet go. By simply adding more legroom will mean that it'd be awkward to stretch out fully in because that'd be at an odd angle to the seat. Take the window seat for example - increasing the space in between the seats doesn't do much if you're wanting to be exactly straight with the seat because the wall comes into play and that blocks the legroom too. What they'll need to do is to change the angle the seats face and straighten them up towards being parallel with the fuselage of the plane to allow passengers to make use of the extra legroom. It's hard to explain - I'll try some other time if you didn't get that..

Quoting ronerone (Reply 19):

Many thanks for bringing this to our screens fairly quickly! A job well done as usual!

Haha, still not as quick as your UU report I don't think.. But I'm glad I was able to release it.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 20):
I had been looking forward to this 77W inaugural report - what a great piece of work you have delivered! Your fantastic pictures show all details, well done!

Hi PH,

Thanks a lot for your comments! Glad you enjoyed.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 20):

I'm glad you were able to get on that flight after nerve-wracking schedule and equipment changes. I can imagine how you felt during that phase of uncertainties.

So was I! In the end, it was satisfying to be sitting in the seat that I wanted.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 20):
However, I'm not sure what to think of the cabin layout and choice of colors. Black and white - very elegant, but probably not useful on the long term. The Spaceseat design is quite impressive, but getting out of your window may be a serious problem under certain circumstances.

Indeed, me too. Black and white were probably chosen as they're colours which kiwis assimilate themselves to. But other than that, white doesn't really belong anywhere on the seats themselves! I just hope it doesn't get tarnished too quickly. At least NZ didn't stick the headphone jack on the seat in front or that would cause absolute havoc for the window person!

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 20):
Very interesting concept - this provides an answer to the threats by Emirates and low-cost carriers. We'll see whether it turns out to be successful.

Very much what they set out to make the product like. It seems to have caught on well with passengers but they have learnt that people like what NZ has originally been serving them across the Tasman so "The Works" remains the most popular option still.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 20):
The waves are missing, the plane looks so...unfinished.

My thoughts too. The 77W is just too long for you to either not notice that they're missing or for you to think the plane looks really bare. I still don't understand their decision to ditch the Pacific Wave, especially when no other livery was ready to take over.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 20):
That's what I thought, too. Will be interesting to see what happens after two or three years...

Very much so.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 20):
I still prefer printed menus...

Of course, but we can't have everything!

Quoting airpearl (Reply 21):

Absolutely stunning! Thanks for this REALLY comprehensive, much awaited first A.net report on NZ's 77W - what more aboard its unique Y+ class. I am impressed at how you persevered through the early changes - firstly of destination, then date - but it seems to have been worth it! Thank you for sharing this fantastic report - it's a gem.

Hey Airpearl,

Thanks a lot for your comments, I also note that it's great to see you're on time for this party for once!  
Yeah, it was REALLY long too! I just couldn't find a way to shorten it! I'm glad I was on holiday for the entire time which allowed me the flexibility to just go with the changes. It was definitely worth it, just like any inaugural.

Quoting airpearl (Reply 21):
Hmmm, lucky then this wasn't the story in The New Zealand Herald on Jan 12: A Melbourne-bound Air New Zealand passenger ran amok Tuesday at Auckland Airport and refused to board his flight unless the airline reinstates an originally scheduled plane..."I am not going to Melbourne in an A320," the man said repeatedly, as he was taken away by airport police. But seriously though, I think the NZ livery is just too plain and the 77W does exacerbate that white space...

Hahahaha, I guess I missed that story seeing that I was in Australia! But the best thing to look out for when travelling across the Tasman or to the Islands on Air NZ is that any scheduled flight number NZ1xx or a 2 digit flight number will be a widebody and any flight number NZ 7xx/8xx/9xx is an A320 service. And I'll never get that mixed up when I fly NZ around the place! The 77W is so long that it's hard to see how plain it looks. It already looks plain on the 744!

Quoting airpearl (Reply 21):
Absolutely. The difference is immediately noticeable in your pics. I would imagine it's a matter of cost - as with everything else these days - but I just wonder how much more expensive it is to use mood lighting throughout.

It was on after boarding! That's the thing that confuses me. Just use it from the outset and create a nice mood in the cabin! What's the point of simply having it on during the flight - give the passengers walking down to Y a more mystical feeling as they walk through J and Y+ so that they get tempted to try it out next time!

I came across this photo a couple of days ago which made the front page: it shows the mood lighting throughout the plane. The effect looks so cool!


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Jonathan Morgan

Quoting airpearl (Reply 21):
But I'm still not sure about the color though (applies to Y too) - I wonder how it'll stand up against the years of passenger abuse to come. From some reports I've seen, some of the light-colored Business Class seats on SQ that are newish are already not faring too well in the wear-n-tear department.

If only the researchers had spent a little time on here, they would have picked up that light coloured upholstery isn't the best way to go. I've read enough TRs on A.Net to come to that conclusion - I think it was RJ's Y seats which came to my attention.

Quoting airpearl (Reply 21):
It does look like some very hard to find buttons! Is it any more intuitive when sat in the seats?

You get used to it but they're not too hard to find. At least for me, it was only an arm stretch away; ie I didn't have to bend my back to reach them. The movements were far smoother than the trial seats they've got on display. It's not like you'll be changing the pitch too much during the flight, only for meal times. It's very comfortable too.

Quoting airpearl (Reply 21):
That's not so good. The adverts make them look like there's so much space!

I know! I was eager to see how tight the seats were to each other. But the name itself being the Spaceseat doesn't quite live up to its expectation.

Quoting airpearl (Reply 21):
I have to say it again: this is an excellent review of the new Economy Premium. Thanks so much. For all its weaknesses, this does look like a big step forward and sets a new standard in Y+. It'll interesting to see what other airlines will do in the next few years to match.

Thanks again, you're most welcome. I hope that Y+ worldwide will seek to be closer to J- than Y+ but more importantly, I hope NZ can rectify the problems. Or at least acknowledge and address them.

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 22):
What an excellent report you've made this time, with some stunning pics as always!

Hi Jonas,

Thanks a lot for your comments!

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 22):
It's interesting how NZ have decided to end their full-service concept for Y class and go over to giving the costumers the option to purchase extra services such as meals, lounge access, luggage and better seats. I found the Works Deluxe option to offer great value for the money, in fact I think it's a bargain really since they basically offer everything you'd expect from a J class ticket at a fraction of the cost. If only the stupid airline *cough*SAS*cough* we have up here would come up with a similar idea...

I was concerned that it would tarnish NZ's reputation. So far, the reception has been quite good although some people are really annoyed about the removal of Business Class from all A320s. Works Deluxe is only nice if you're not flying in an A320 or else it'll be just like flying in any European airline's A320 - a Y class seat with the middle seat blocked.

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 22):
The NZ Lounge in AKL looked really nice. Breakfast offerings seemed very generous, I found the pancake machine to be a nice touch, though IIRC it didn't produce the best pancakes? How was the Barista service, was it up to par with what you'd expect from a real café?

The lounge was really nice. I can't believe I've never set foot inside it before. I can't help you with the pancakes.. Never tried them myself but I believe Roni did. There was a proper barista there so I'd come to the conclusion that the coffee there would be just like going to a cafe.

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 22):
The Y+ seat on NZ's 77W looked great, and I couldn't agree more with the fact that it's more like a Business Light product rather than Premium Economy. I did however find it strange that the TV-screens in Y were bigger than the ones in Y+.
Catering appeared to be almost up to par with what you'd expect in J. The individual table setup added a nice premium touch. The rubber table cloth didn't look that nice, but then again they need something to distinguish Y+ from J.

I just hope they can overcome the problems they are currently facing with legroom etc. Catering has remained really good in Y+ but it'll be nice to sample their new menu on a long haul sometime. With regards to the table mat, it's either that or a tray.. The trays that were used onboard the 744 and 772 would be too big for the 77W table but I liked having a trayless service.

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 23):
Looks like NZ have been busy coming up with some interesting new ideas - I'm keen to find out what Y pax think of the skycouch - seems way too overambitous, but good luck to them.

Indeed, I hope this continues with the introduction of the 789. My thoughts too with the skycouch.. I'm unsure what to think right now because it does seem too small.

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 23):
Did you let him know your extra expenses incurred due to them chaning the inagural dates?

No, I didn't bother.. I don't think he would be in a position to act.

Quoting MSS658 (Reply 26):
Nice trip report, but the spaceseat does look a bit cramped IMO. Have you seen people use the skycouch in Y?

Thanks, MSS658! The skycouch isn't in operation yet, still getting safety clearance by the NZ CAA (and maybe the FAA too). They hope to get them going from April.

Quoting akhmad (Reply 27):

I have been waiting for this report of yours! I must say I am speechless.

Many thanks for the in-depth observation of this innovative product and congratulations with the inaugural flight on the new NZ Y+, especially after all the hassles beforehand.

Hi Suryo,

Thanks for your comments! Glad you enjoyed. It's good to get this one out of the way!

Quoting akhmad (Reply 27):
Very nice in case you want to know how far you might be located from the Taj Mahal.

Very much so, I should have went through the destinations and found some rather exotic places to see how far away I was from them!

Quoting akhmad (Reply 27):
Beautiful Day! My favorite song!

Thank you so much for sharing and the inspiration to improve my future TR!

One of my favourites too! The video makes it that much better with a plane being in it!
You're welcome, I know you have what it takes to improve on future TRs! Being on an inaugural helps too, you know  


Cheers,
Nicholas

Topic: RE: Y+ Spaceseat, The Trial: NZ 77W Inaugural AKL-MEL
Username: NZdsgnr
Posted 2011-02-27 19:14:09 and read 31354 times.

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 28):
Any input from you about this product?

Good on you for being so good at keeping your self-imposed deadline  


Now thoughts about the products...

I think the seats do look great, I absolutely love the white, shame that the mood lighting isn't being carried on throughout all the airplane.
I'm sure that like all products, there are always going to be positives and negatives and it is a bit of a shame that there is that lack of legrest.

The seats in Y, I don't mind the black but it certainly is such a massive contrasts between the front and the back of the plane... and yes while the seats might be about the same size as the present seats (and having sat in one they seemed fine width-wise) it does look very crowed in 3-4-3 and yes those aisle are tight... I definitely wish they had kept to a 3-3-3.
It would also interesting to see what the catering is like in that cabin too...

I guess will just have to go and try it one day....

Topic: RE: Y+ Spaceseat, The Trial: NZ 77W Inaugural AKL-MEL
Username: christao17
Posted 2011-02-28 00:15:38 and read 31107 times.

Interesting and detailed review of the new premium economy product on ANZ for us, thank you. The more I look at the pictures, the more I'm disinclined to like the arrangement. It looks like legroom is really a challenge, which is precisely the reason I purchase premium economy in the first place! As for regular economy, 10-abreast seating is just too tight.

Topic: RE: Y+ Spaceseat, The Trial: NZ 77W Inaugural AKL-MEL
Username: PlaneHunter
Posted 2011-02-28 08:18:35 and read 30794 times.

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 28):
Black and white were probably chosen as they're colours which kiwis assimilate themselves to.

Interesting, I didn't know that. What's the background for this?


PH

Topic: RE: Y+ Spaceseat, The Trial: NZ 77W Inaugural AKL-MEL
Username: flightsimboy
Posted 2011-02-28 13:43:15 and read 30580 times.

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 28):
That's unless you mistook their Business skybeds for Premium Economy which QF did use on their operations where they didn't have Y+ installed.

Nope they were definitely the Premium Economy seats I passed on the way out, as I looked at them closely as I exited the aircraft. I gave up the upgrade to Premium Economy because it was an aisle seat, and I stuck to my window seat 70K or something just so that I could photograph the views of Sydney when taking off, and the landing in Los Angeles lol

Topic: RE: Y+ Spaceseat, The Trial: NZ 77W Inaugural AKL-MEL
Username: The777Man
Posted 2011-03-01 17:27:07 and read 29713 times.

Hi Nicholas!

Thanks for an amazing trip report with amazing pictures! I'm happy that everything worked out for you and that you still were able to go on the inaugural 77W flight.

Seat looks nice but a bit tigh with legroom. With the not so attractive seats in regular Y, it seems like NZ is forcing some passengers from Y to Y+........

Airshow map and IFE looks great! Meals look nice too!

Looking forward to your next report!

The777Man

Topic: RE: Y+ Spaceseat, The Trial: NZ 77W Inaugural AKL-MEL
Username: Genius12
Posted 2011-03-02 05:23:17 and read 29408 times.

Really great detailed report, with excellent photos to match - thanks for sharing!

The NZ Premium Economy product on the 77W certainly looks interesting - whether it's may taste or not is another matter! I don't like the look of the angled seats, and the legroom does certainly appear to be limited.

Interesting food service - thought the presentation looks very slick for a Premium Economy product.

Topic: RE: Y+ Spaceseat, The Trial: NZ 77W Inaugural AKL-MEL
Username: NZ107
Posted 2011-03-09 19:23:19 and read 28124 times.

Quoting NZdsgnr (Reply 29):
The seats in Y, I don't mind the black but it certainly is such a massive contrasts between the front and the back of the plane... and yes while the seats might be about the same size as the present seats (and having sat in one they seemed fine width-wise) it does look very crowed in 3-4-3 and yes those aisle are tight... I definitely wish they had kept to a 3-3-3.
It would also interesting to see what the catering is like in that cabin too...

I guess will just have to go and try it one day....

Yeah, it's the huge contrast I'm not liking. I'm wondering if my next trip to LA should be on QF or NZ. It's a shame they didn't stick to 3-3-3 or at even go for the 748. I've heard that they've cut down a lot on the catering as it has been taking 3 hours to serve dinner out of AKL. Far too long - it's over within 2.5 hrs on the 744. But yeah, it's something to try!

Quoting christao17 (Reply 30):
Interesting and detailed review of the new premium economy product on ANZ for us, thank you. The more I look at the pictures, the more I'm disinclined to like the arrangement. It looks like legroom is really a challenge, which is precisely the reason I purchase premium economy in the first place! As for regular economy, 10-abreast seating is just too tight.

Hi Chris,

Thanks for your comments! Exactly, the legroom in Y+ is something that NZ must look into for the product to excel. But it's unknown whether they will actually do something about this.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 31):
Interesting, I didn't know that. What's the background for this?

Sorry, I don't have an idea other than the All Blacks rugby team wearing a black uniform when they went to tour UK back in 1905-6.. But it still begs the question where the white came from! Possibly from the silver fern which they made white to make it easier.

Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 32):
Nope they were definitely the Premium Economy seats I passed on the way out, as I looked at them closely as I exited the aircraft. I gave up the upgrade to Premium Economy because it was an aisle seat, and I stuck to my window seat 70K or something just so that I could photograph the views of Sydney when taking off, and the landing in Los Angeles lol

Right. Crazy guy, choosing the window seat over Y+!  
Quoting The777Man (Reply 33):
Thanks for an amazing trip report with amazing pictures! I'm happy that everything worked out for you and that you still were able to go on the inaugural 77W flight.

Hi Lars,

Thanks a lot for your comments! Glad you enjoyed!

Quoting The777Man (Reply 33):

Seat looks nice but a bit tigh with legroom. With the not so attractive seats in regular Y, it seems like NZ is forcing some passengers from Y to Y+........

Yeah, quite tight with the legroom. But still, the legroom isn't too great in Y+ either for those wanting a bit more room!

Quoting Genius12 (Reply 34):
Really great detailed report, with excellent photos to match - thanks for sharing!

Thanks for your comments Genius12!

Quoting Genius12 (Reply 34):
The NZ Premium Economy product on the 77W certainly looks interesting - whether it's may taste or not is another matter! I don't like the look of the angled seats, and the legroom does certainly appear to be limited.

Interesting food service - thought the presentation looks very slick for a Premium Economy product.

It's pretty fascinating. It looked much better when they released the seats but that was probably due to the fact that nobody knew how tight it was going to be! I'd say better angled towards the window than away from it   Air NZ have done well with the food onboard Y+. At least that should remain consistent!


Cheers,
Nicholas

Topic: RE: Y+ Spaceseat, The Trial: NZ 77W Inaugural AKL-MEL
Username: abrelosojos
Posted 2011-03-09 21:25:39 and read 28016 times.

Nicholas,

Thanks for taking the time to write this report. It is very well detailed and I am sure took an incredible amount of time. Some points I jotted while reading - so many have been mentioned -

> IFE looks great - way to go with adding in YouTube
> Product is very innovative - but I am a little concerned as it looks really cramped in Y. If you notice the man in the aisle, he takes the entire aisle!
> I am not a fan of the small tray table in Y+
> What's with the little sloppy service on the ground?

I agree with the fare structure and think more airlines will adopt it in the near future. Again, thanks so much for sharing this inaugural. The effort is clearly visible in this report!

Saludos,
A.

Topic: RE: Y+ Spaceseat, The Trial: NZ 77W Inaugural AKL-MEL
Username: stipica
Posted 2011-03-12 11:09:51 and read 27462 times.

Nicholas !

I joined recently but since the beginning of 1998 I read almost daily airliners.net and i must say
your work is truly among the best on airliners.net ...

.... your attitude is so unobtrusive...but the dramaturgy is present...elegant photographs that enhance the subtle aesthetics ... trip reports that motivates the thinking...

your huge fan ... Stipica   

Topic: RE: Y+ Spaceseat, The Trial: NZ 77W Inaugural AKL-MEL
Username: lh526
Posted 2011-03-12 13:35:12 and read 27359 times.

Great TR!
About NZs new B777: Wonderful design and perfect seats, great Brand, excellent choice of fabrics styles, colours, etc ... stunning!! This is perfect Brand awareness!

Topic: RE: Y+ Spaceseat, The Trial: NZ 77W Inaugural AKL-MEL
Username: NZ107
Posted 2011-03-15 03:54:33 and read 26486 times.

Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 36):
Thanks for taking the time to write this report. It is very well detailed and I am sure took an incredible amount of time.

Hi Alex,

Thanks a lot for your comments! Not a problem. It took ages but I'm glad no other TRer had flown on it/published their report before me!

Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 36):
Product is very innovative - but I am a little concerned as it looks really cramped in Y. If you notice the man in the aisle, he takes the entire aisle!

It is innovative but they should have done far more research and experimenting before implementation. It has turned out to be a disaster. Yeah, the aisles are really narrow but I guess it matches that of EK's 77W and many other airlines who have 10 abreast in Y.

Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 36):
What's with the little sloppy service on the ground?

I wish I had an answer for it. Something which I had not expected at all. A bit of a let down, especially considering AKL is the hub of Air NZ. Nothing like the hospitality you get in BKK!

Quoting stipica (Reply 37):
i must say
your work is truly among the best on airliners.net ...

.... your attitude is so unobtrusive...but the dramaturgy is present...elegant photographs that enhance the subtle aesthetics ... trip reports that motivates the thinking...

Hi Stipica,

Thanks for your kind words! I'm glad you have enjoyed reading my reports. It does mean a lot to me receiving such comments! I hope to post some more in the future; once I get some more flying under my belt.

Quoting lh526 (Reply 38):
Great TR!
About NZs new B777: Wonderful design and perfect seats, great Brand, excellent choice of fabrics styles, colours, etc ... stunning!! This is perfect Brand awareness!

Thanks, LH526!

Perfect brand awareness accompanied by a sub par performance doesn't equate.. Unfortunately, that's what it has ended up being like on the 77Ws. Hopefully they can do something soon to rectify this or they'll soon be losing a lot of customers.


Cheers,
Nicholas

Topic: RE: Y+ Spaceseat, The Trial: NZ 77W Inaugural AKL-MEL
Username: Braniff747SP
Posted 2011-03-26 09:26:01 and read 25273 times.

Product looks nice...

Topic: RE: Y+ Spaceseat, The Trial: NZ 77W Inaugural AKL-MEL
Username: oa260
Posted 2011-03-27 13:24:55 and read 24821 times.

Some great pics there. I love the J class and the Y+ is certainly an interesting concept. Never flown NZ , they are on my to do list.

Thanks for the insight


OA260  

Topic: RE: Y+ Spaceseat, The Trial: NZ 77W Inaugural AKL-MEL
Username: kurt
Posted 2011-03-29 08:27:47 and read 24458 times.

Wow, what a report. I'm going to go and check my Mileage Plus account for the miles AKL-MEL, because I feel like I actually took the flight!

NZ's 77W looks really flashy - I love the little touches like the beanbag footrests and the wallpaper in the loos. I wonder how well that white (leather or vinyl?) seating material will look after some hard use; I guess the cleaning crews will be on top of it.

Brilliant report!

Topic: RE: Y+ Spaceseat, The Trial: NZ 77W Inaugural AKL-MEL
Username: NZ107
Posted 2011-04-01 00:10:04 and read 23819 times.

Quoting Braniff747SP (Reply 40):
Product looks nice...

The onboard product does look nice. I hope to try out the other cabins one day!

Quoting oa260 (Reply 41):
Some great pics there. I love the J class and the Y+ is certainly an interesting concept. Never flown NZ , they are on my to do list.

Thanks for the insight

Hi Phil,

Thanks for your comments! Not a problem. Do try it someday! I do hope they modify it from its current state to end up with a fantastic product for the future.

Quoting kurt (Reply 42):
Wow, what a report. I'm going to go and check my Mileage Plus account for the miles AKL-MEL, because I feel like I actually took the flight!

NZ's 77W looks really flashy - I love the little touches like the beanbag footrests and the wallpaper in the loos. I wonder how well that white (leather or vinyl?) seating material will look after some hard use; I guess the cleaning crews will be on top of it.

Brilliant report!

Hi Kurt,

Thanks for your comments! Haha, I'm glad it made you feel that way! What did you find in your account?  
The small touches are wonderful. The seats are leather, very nice, soft and comfortable. But that's one question I guess we'll have to wait and see what actually happens.


Cheers,
Nicholas


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