Airline Review

Air New Zealand Boeing 787 Business Class Review – Auckland To Perth

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Immanuel Debeer | 19/05/2021

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77/ 100

Our Rating

While slightly dated, the Air New Zealand "Business Premiere" cabin is one of the best options for crossing the Tasman right now. While the food can be improved, the service and crew make up for any shortcomings.

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  • 18/ 20
    Ground Experience
  • 15/ 20
    Lounge
  • 14/ 20
    Seat & Cabin
  • 19/ 20
    Crew & Service
  • 11/ 20
    Food & Beverage
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Pros

  • Modern aircraft (B787-9)
  • Excellent crew & service
  • Comfortable bed
  • Streamlined premium ground experience

Cons

  • Dated business seat design
  • No privacy
  • Food needs improvement
  • No wifi

For my first international flight in almost 1.5 years, I locked in a speculative booking with the Kiwi flagship carrier across the ditch.

If you want to learn how I booked this flight, click here for a detailed guide on how to use points to book Air New Zealand business class using a range of different frequent flyer programs.

I had planned to fly the B787 in “business premiere” last year, but due to engine problems, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner was swapped out for the less superior B777. You can check out my YouTube review of the B777 here.

Tip: check out our guide on everything you need to know about the Trans-Tasman travel bubble.

Air New Zealand Boeing 787-9

While the flight from Perth to Auckland has terrible timing (departs at 7:30 pm and arrives around 6:00 am) with a short flight time of fewer than 5 hours, the return is a leisurely daytime flight taking off at 10:30 am and arriving in Perth around 2 pm with a flight time of 7+ hours.

Note: Did you enjoy our unbiased review? Consider booking your next flight with our Air New Zealand partner link to support our work at no cost to you!

Checking In – Air New Zealand Auckland Premium Check-in

Auckland Airport has a dedicated priority check-in area for Air New Zealand business class & Star Alliance Gold guests. It’s tucked away through some sliding doors to the primary check-in area’s right-hand side and offers a shortcut to the security checkpoint via a private elevator.


On this occasion, the fast lane was closed but considering only a handful of international flights are departing, security screening has been the most empty I’ve ever seen.

The Lounge – Auckland Koru Club

The Auckland Koru Club is spacious with plenty of seating options, a lounge area, a TV room, and a terrace (too bad it has windows). A centrally located bar offers barista coffee and drinks service however, there are a few fridges around the lounge where you can help yourself to anything on offer.

Air New Zealand lounge auckland

Of course, shower suites and toilets are also available inside the lounge, which is perfect if you want to freshen up before your flight.

Air New Zealand B787 Business Cabin

The Air New Zealand B787 business class cabin features a somewhat dated design popular at least a decade ago. In contrast, most airlines have adopted the superior reverse herringbone layout. Air New Zealand has stuck with the traditional herringbone design, which means seats face the isles and away from the window.

Due to the size of the B787, the cabin is split up in a 1-1-1 design with the right-hand side seats facing each other.

Where the seat excels is the lack of privacy. When seated, you will be able to stare directly into your neighbour’s ears due to the low privacy barriers. Everyone’s feet are also sticking out into the aisle, so when the mood light comes on, the vibes are that of a nail salon. Unfortunately, pedicures are not on the menu.

Ok, I might hear you say; is there anything positive to say about this seat?

And yes, there is! The Air New Zealand seat flips over into a bed; while this isn’t ideal, the bed itself is actually really comfortable and perfectly flat. This is all thanks to a very thick memory foam mattress pad, and although it’s a little bit tight around the shoulders, it’s pretty comfortable.

Best Seats On Air NZ B787-9?

The best seats are on the left-hand side of the cabin (A) since you won’t have to share the aisle with those sitting in the middle. For the most privacy, go for 6A since no one will be behind you. Alternatively, 1A because you won’t see anyone unless you turn back.

Air New Zealand B787 Seat Map

In-Flight Entertainment

A flip-out touch screen monitor is stowed in each seat which offers plenty of movies and an intuitive layout. The headphones provided are shockingly inadequate, so I’d recommend you bring your own.

Food & Drinks

On both my flights, menus were absent, so I will share images and a rough description of what I think the food was. Essentially there was a fixed entre and a selection of beef, chicken, or fish. After speaking to the staff, the food turned out to be identical to what is served in Premium Economy, and based on my previous flight (pre-covid), I’m sure the food served now isn’t up to scratch and somewhat hit-and-miss.

For starters, I had the smoked Wahu, which had a grey/blue tint to it and smelled weird, so I didn’t touch it. As a main, I had the chicken breast with gravy and spinach. It was uninspiring.

Desert was a simple ice cream, so nothing could be faulted there. Champagne on offer is Laurent Perrier, and a selection of New Zealand wines was also available.

While I can understand the current airline trend of cost-cutting due to a lack of demand, I feel that covid is now used to excuse anything and everyone from delivering what was paid for. I’d much rather get better quality food and skip the amenity kit.

Amenity Kit

Air New Zealand still offers an amenity kit in business which features a range of moisturisers, eye mask, socks, and toothbrush. While I do enjoy some of the nicer amenity kits (think Swiss, Singapore Airlines, Qatar), I feel like it’s somewhat wasteful, especially if I only use the toothbrush and leave everything else behind. I think Singapore Airlines has the best solution in business class where they offer everything on demand. The takeaway is that airlines should offer either something extremely luxurious and worth keeping or simply get rid of a kit altogether and use those savings to improve things that matter, such as food.

Air New Zealand Crew & Service

The one thing which is consistently impressive with Air New Zealand is their crew. I’ve never had a bad flight with Air NZ, and the crew are always what makes or breaks a flight. They manage to find the balance between friendly and professional with a touch of Kiwi hospitality.

Summing Up – Air NZ B787-9 Business Premiere

If you thought this review was negative, it really wasn’t! I just think there are some shortcomings by Air New Zealand that could be easily addressed (except for the seat). While most reviews out there are paid for and thus biased, I fund my own travel either with points or by paying so I can share my opinions freely, both the good and the bad. Air New Zealand is supposed to be working on a new Business Class cabin design which I’m extremely curious about, but no doubt this will get pushed back due to “you know what.” In any case, the Air New Zealand B787 is a great choice to cross the pond with, and I hope the food gets an upgrade as travel demand picks up.

Flight Details

  • Flight Date: May 7th 2021
  • Aircraft:Boeing 787-9
  • Registration:ZK-NZQ
  • Route: Auckland to Perth
  • Seat: 1A
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Immanuel Debeer

Chief points nerd and travel hacker at Flight Hacks

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