May 29, 2019 at 8:47 am NZST #5711
I just returned from the US and flew AKL-IAH on Air NZ in Economy.
I filed a RU for the outward leg and it did not clear; I re-filed same for return leg and it did not clear either, so ended up in Economy both ways.
It’s been a while since I flew that far on Air NZ in Economy and I won’t be queuing to do it again any time soon. Usually I try and get PE but since I paid for this flight with Airpoints, I did not do so this time as it was too expensive from memory.
The seat was narrow, not very comfortable and had very little storage space for the variety of things you always end up wanting close by on a 14+ hour flight. Effectively, it was enforced sleep after the dinner service and there was not much sign of the crew for a pretty long time. I got cramp in several odd places on both flights and one of the cabin crew actually said to me that in his view nobody over 30 should be flying in Economy!
It felt to me that the service was not as good as it used to be. The food was not great – I do not expect gourmet delights in the cheap seats, but I have certainly had better food from Air NZ in the past and it felt as though the bean counters had been at the menu. This was especially true of breakfast which was poor in both directions and there was not even so much as a bread roll, never mind a croissant etc.
The help yourself snack options were the corn chips or the cookies that they serve on the domestic flights and that was all, which seemed pretty poor to be honest.
The return flight was worse because outbound I had an empty seat next to me but not on the return. Another thing I noticed was that the aisles are VERY narrow. At night, it is difficult to move down them to go to the bathrooms etc without tripping over feet, knees and so forth. It also struck me that evacuating a plane in emergency conditions when there were that many people and the exit route was that narrow would be extremely difficult to achieve in a safe and timely manner by the time you throw in panic.
My wife flew separately via LAX. She cleared a RU on the return so that helped but she also felt her economy flights were worse than they used to be.
Metal was 777-200. When I booked the flight, it was 787-9 but they changed it. That was also a bit annoying, as I picked 36C on the 787-9 due to the fact that it has no seat in front of it because the row in front has 2 seats and 36 has 3 with C being the end. When they changed the plane, I was still placed in 36C but on the 777 it has no benefit over any other seat!
Overall we both felt Air NZ had slipped a bit – my wife even said the service in PE was less than it was last time she flew.
IIRC Air NZ recently slipped a bit in the rankings and based on this last flight, I am seeing why. I am flying to Siem Reap later in the year via HKG in PE so will see how that goes. If that seems poor too, then it may be time to shift long haul carriers.
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