Airline Review: Air New Zealand Premium Economy – Auckland to Shanghai

I am sitting in Air New Zealand’s (AirNZ) Auckland International Koru lounge killing time and waiting for my boarding call to Shanghai.  An AirNZ staff member comes around asking if anyone is flying on NZ289 to Shanghai this evening.   I raised my hand, wondering to myself ‘is there something wrong with our flight’?   The AirNZ staff member introduced herself to us as the  Purser  on the flight and informing us that our scheduled departure was still on time.   I must admit this is the first time that I have ever encountered our flight purser to introduce herself to us.

I immediately thought this is going to be a good flight with good service.

I left the lounge before they made the boarding calls as I wanted to do a little bit of duty free shopping.   I arrived at the gate a little early but was only a 5 minute wait before the boarding call was made.

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As usual when the boarding call is made, Business, Star Gold and Koru are asked to board first followed by economy passengers.  We we entered the plane, the purser greeted us, where she remembered me from the lounge.

I was greeted with a set of noise cancelling headphones, slippers and felt amenity kit which includes socks, pen, lip balm and moisturiser.   The slippers are new, as I have only encountered the slippers on flights Japan. But mind you this was my first time flying direct from New Zealand to Shanghai.

The flight departed 15 minutes later than scheduled.  it was a full flight with no spare seats in Business or Economy.   It was not until after the safety video that I found out that my entire entertainment system and reading light did not work and there was no where else that I could sit with a working entertainment system.   The screen was reset several tries and after each time (8 minutes) it still did not respond.

A hot towel was provided as soon as the seatbelt sign came off.   the hot towels are generally a hit and miss, as I have had some hot towels being dry and cold or hot and dry.  Never perfectly warm and moist.

Dinner

Bread Service – A selection of freshly baked breads were offered – Garlic, White and Brown sour dough and olive bread.  I opted for the brown sour dough and Olive bread.  They would  be the best breads i have had on the plane.  Extremely soft and fresh.

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Some gai lan was provided but this was over cooked, soft and brown.  when I attempted to pick it up it broke in half with my chopsticks.  the sticky rice was stuff with pork but did not have much flavour to it.

I requested a spicy tomato juice, it was extremely spicy, I think the crew member did not know how to make a spicy tomato juice properly.

Entree

Prosciutto with Preserved Figs, Bocconcini and Green Olive Salsa was dry which needed a sauce.  It was a good thing  that I was provided with some olive oil with my breads which i used to pour on minter.  The mozzarella was not buffalo mozzarella.  There was plenty of figs and diced green olives.

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Main

Dim Sum – I was not very hungry so I opted for something light, so i decided to go for something light – the mixed dim sum which consisted of  a  vegetarian dumpling, and two sui mai.  The skin of the spinach dumpling was thick, where he tops of it was slightly dry. The sui main was passable.  I found the accompanying chilli sauce to be too salty and the soy sauce to be far to sweet.

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Some gai lan was provided but this was over cooked, soft and brown.  when I attempted to pick it up it broke in half with my chopsticks.  the sticky rice was stuff with pork but did not have much flavour to it.

The main was fairly average to be honest, in which my own dim sums would taste nicer that the ones on offer.

Dessert – is always a tart of some sort in premium economy.  Today’s dessert was a lemon tart.  it was as expected.  with a slight tang and creaminess.   the accompanying passionfruit cream did not taste of passionfruit.   I found the desire to be fairly rich for my liking. and ended up only eating a quarter of my dessert.

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After supper I had to request a cup of tea.   Peppermint with ceylon cinnamon was a first  as I have not encountered this tea before.  A subtle hint of cinnamon which reminded me of a chai without the milk.   The tea was accompanied with a Cadbury after dinner mint.

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If you are feeling a bit peckish during the night, there is a snack box with a selection of food in which you can help yourself to.

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Breakfast

First Course – The Continental breakfast

Fresh fruits were on offer which consisted of yellow and green cantaloupe (rockmellon) pineapple and grapes.

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Cereal followed with a selection of toasted or light and tasty w milk or yoghurt.  I opted for the light and tasty

Bakery  warmed croissants was offered.  I opted for one  as I am always keen to try how the croissants turn out.  Sometimes they are tough and rubbery but on this occasion they were soft, flaky and buttery.  The croissants comes with either strawberry or marmalade.  I chose strawberry as I find a croissant with strawberry jam to be a satisfying classic.

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Hot meal

Lemon scented brioche.  As you would expect from a brioche being soft and fluffy.  I was taken back how delicious this was.  You could say it was a a very soft french toast with blueberry compote without the fig.  the lemon scented yoghurt wa a nice touch rather than the use of cream to keep the brioche light.

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I was totally bloated after breakfast.

Verdict

This would be the worst flight I have been on.  My entertainment system, overhead lights etc (the entire control unit did not work)  even a number of resets and restarts. which left me twirling my thumb for 13 hours.  I ended up reading a mazagine standing by the galley where some light was being emitted so that I can read the text from the magazine.

We arrived 30 minutes earlier  than scheduled, which was a a bonus, as Plus one who was flying Singapore airlines had arrived an hour earlier than me.

AirNZ Premium Economy seating is exactly the same as economy with the extra added legroom with a selection o business class food and service.   If you can, I would recommend flying Premium Economy especially on a long haul flight.

I flew AIRZ 777-200 on the old AIRNZ premium economy seating.

AirNZ business premier is a great product with a fully flat seat, where you can adjust the seating position to the position that feels most comfortable for you during take off and landing.  The food is generally good, and you can dine with your travelling companion if you wish to.   The staff would tend to acknowledge you by your name which was welcoming.

I flew AirNZ 777-200

AIR New Zealand flies to Shanghai 7 days a week.  At the time of my travel, AIRNZ uses a mix of the 777-220 and the 767 aircraft.  They have no recently removed the 767 in place for the new 787-9 which flies once a week departing Auckland on Tuesday evening.

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One Response to Airline Review: Air New Zealand Premium Economy – Auckland to Shanghai

  1. Wow. Bummer about the entertainment and lights. They should have given you something as a consolation.

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