Thursday 30 June 2011

Air NZ Premium Economy: review

Ok, so we arrive at Heathrow at 10.15am tomorrow and hit the ground (perhaps not my best choice of phrase in the circs) running so I need to sleep. Time to break out the half-tab of Zopiclone (I'm such a lightweight druggie) but before that: review of Air NZ's brand-new 777-300 Premium Economy class.

Looks good: angled pods, cream leather seats, USB ports and other techno-features, big feather pillows, bean bags for the feet, business class food (though minus the cocktails) - all good, even excellent. (Mmm, juicy curried prawns and green rice.)

But in preventing the dreaded personal space-invasion caused by the traditional reclining seat, the design means that in-pod reclining is severely limited - just a few centimetres, which feels like almost nothing. So spending an entire night in this cabin is a bit of a trial, with lots of shifting about and hip-relieving. It's disappointing.

The only thing that makes me feel better about the extra expense (or airpoints) involved here is looking back down into the economy cabin, where everyone's jammed in with their elbows tucked into their sides, looking distinctly strait-laced and Victorian. If that's the alternative (ignoring here the impossible expense of personally-paid-for Business, with its - spit - LIE-FLAT beds) then Premium Economy is the only way to go. But don't expect to be wafted off to the Land of Nod without pharmacological assistance. Or alcohol. Probably both.

Mind you, as compensation for the recline fail, there's the size of the loo, which in airplane terms is enormous, with space for oooh, whatever you might fancy. There's even a wall mocked-up as a bookshelf, complete with fictitious titles. Or possibly inspirational? Because one of them is 'The Mile-High Club.

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