The middle pods (affectionately called “innies”) are great for people traveling together as you can actually turn sideways, face each other and share a small table for eating. My window seat (or “outie”) is better for single travelers with the one big downside that you’re slightly trapped in there if your aisle seat dweller falls asleep. It’s initially why I chose the middle as it can be awkward waking someone up in the middle of the night.
The pre-flight safety video on ANZ is the now famous Richard Simmons video, and shows off more of what makes this airline so fun, that they don’t take themselves too seriously.
Air NZ does something else I’ve not seen before, which is staff each plane with a “concierge” who actually introduces themselves in the lounge an hour or so before the flight. [Editor's note: Check out a video interview with one here.]
Now the seat doesn’t recline as far as a business class seat, but again it’s not one. What it does have is the curved walls, which allowed me to curl up and have something on either side of my head to mash the giant pillow into and fall asleep. That is the single most beneficial part of this Spaceseat to me. To recline, the seat slides forward rather than tipping backwards so there’s no sense of loss of space when the person in front goes all the way back. The seat also comes with a lovely plush purple ottoman pillow for your feet to get comfortable, and it looks like something you would see on the bed at a W hotel.
The in-flight entertainment is excellent. The Panasonic system allows you to order food and drink (even specify one sugar or two in your tea) right on the screen, which i think is so smart for reducing a flight attendant's workthere's no overhead beeping to get their attention, no two trips up and down the aisle, just a very efficient one trip with everything you need the first time.
Overall this is a very innovative anddare I say it“cool” seat, but at the end of the day the big questions is was I comfortable? Did i sleep? Yes, I certainly did. Granted it’s not a flat bed but at a much, much cheaper price point it blows away an economy seat with extra legroom, which is what most “premium economy” passes for these days. Good job, Air New Zealand.
Some more notes of things I loved:
· Both dinner and breakfast felt like business class.
· Lighting came on very gradually in the morning, waking people up with a pink glow rather than the instant-on flourescent “interrogation” lighting like the old 767s.
· Midnight snack selection on the screen was a wide selection of foods and delivered quickly after ordering.
· Messages were flashed on the screen, like “fasten seatbelt” and “breakfast to be served soon," etc. A really nice extra touch.
· This flight continues on to LHR from LAX so you don’t have to be flying to New Zealand to enjoy this 777-300ER product. If you’re doing London to/from Los Angeles, I strongly recommend trying it.
[All photos: Max Graham]