Air New Zealand are a fantastic choice when flying across the Tasman and beyond. They fly their 777-200, 777-300 and 787 planes from Sydney to Auckland, which all feature three cabins; economy, premium economy and business class. They also fly their 767s and A320s, which are far less exciting though, so it is well worth being particular in choosing your flight with them.
Across the three aircraft mentioned , there isn’t much difference in the economy or business class offerings. However the 777-300 has the award winning Space Seat premium economy class seats, whilst the 777-200 and the 787 have the “black ones” (if this product has a catchy name I haven’t heard it).
Which of these is better is definitely down to personal preference. It’s often argued the black seats are more comfortable due to better leg support while others think the fewer seats per row in the space seat configuration (2-2-2 versus 2-4-2) makes it feel like a more premium experience. Either way, there’s no denying the space seat looks a bit more exciting.
(Photo from Air New Zealand website)
The business class seats on all three aircraft are awesome full flat beds. There is a slight difference in configuration between the 777 and 787 aircraft but nothing that would affect a decision on which flight to take as much as the convenience of the departure times.
(Photo from Air New Zealand’s website)
Air New Zealand have a really accessible check-in counter upgrade policy for trans-Tasman flights. In either direction you can upgrade your economy class ticket to premium economy for $200 or to business class for $500 as long as there are available seats. If you’re upgrading in Sydney this will be AU$200/AU$500 and if it’s in Auckland it will be NZ$200/NZ$500.
Unfortunately, this paid upgrade policy doesn’t extend to long-haul flights as far as I understand. Still, it’s a great way to experience some awesome products on the cheap.
In all fairness, they often have some pretty attractive fares in premium cabins anyway so this is generally more useful for those times you thought you’d be fine in economy for a three and a half hour hop but then arrive at the airport hungover/tired and just want a glass of champagne and some personal space. Either way, it’s good to know the option’s there.