Air New Zealand has been flying their new 787 dream liner to Shanghai and Tokyo for nearly a year now and it has only been now that I have actually flown on this specific aircraft. As usual AirNZ hosts 3 cabin types, Economy, Premium Economy and Business Premier. I was lucky enough to fly Business Premier on our flight home from Shanghai to Auckland.
The cabin actually uses the newly refitted seats, in Business Premier it has same style herringbone lie flat seating in the white leather upholster – which I do not understand why, as you can clearly see more of the wear and tear and markings on white upholster. There are 6 rows of Business Premier seats providing a total of 18 seats. of which two of the isles face each other while the remaining row provides a much less disturbance feel to it, while the Premium Economy seats has the much more softer/fatter style seating with seating configuration 2x3x2.
I managed to preselect my seat in the single isle thinking I would get less disturbance
Arriving or departing China is notorious for delays, there were no known delays so we managed to board our flight on time. though we did not start to back out of our gate until 15 minutes after our schedule departure time. The taxi to the start of the runway was very slow as there were a large queue of planes waiting to take off, which meant we did not actually depart until 1 hour after our scheduled departure time which I thought was petty good for China standards.
I managed to pre-select my seat in the single isle thinking that I would get less disturbance. To be honest I felt a bit closed in. The seat width seemed to be tighter which looked onto the back of the other Business Premier isle in the middle.
Our awaiting seats were prepared with the flight menu as well as a limited edition 75 years of AIRNZ amenity bag which included a limited edition felt bag that doubles as an iPad bag, post cards and your usual lip balm, eye shades and socks.
What I found to be quite nice was the automatic window shades. There is no longer this shade that you have to slide up and down but now a button that allows you to dim the window that turns blue.
Once we made ourselves comfortable, we were offered a welcoming drink, which included the selection of sparkling wine (Charles Heidsieck), orange juice or water. Shortly after we were asked what we would like for our Entree and Main.
Proscuitto w Preserved Figs, Shaved Parmesan Cheese, Grilled Artichokes & Balsamic reduction – was fusionised with fried shallots. Due to my dietary requirements I could not have any of the starters, Even though I had emailed AirNZ a week ahead whether they can offer me an alternative as you can clearly request other special meals such as gluten free, vegetarian, Muslim etc etc. but it is interesting that they do not cater for pregnant woman.
Smoked Salmon w Chilli Mayonnaise, Pickled Ginger & Cucumber Salad, Cashew Nus and Toasted Sesame Seeds – was definitely a nicer starter than the proscuitto.
Szechuan Style Beef Fillet w Jade Rice, Bean curd, Chinese Green Vegetables, Corrinader and Green Onion – it was a version of a European trying to cook Chinese food. It had lacked flavour, the beef was not tender and was very oily. The accompanying Shanghai rice which is white rice with vegetables was dry.
Seared Cod on Saffron Crushed Potatoes w Snow Peas, Cherry Tomato Compote & Caper Olive Salad – was horrible, the fish was not fresh, with that slightly sour flavour. I must admit it had been a very very long time since I had such poor quality fish either at home, at a restaurant or even on a flight. Due to my condition after I took a bite i left the remainder on the tray. Later informing the staff that the fish was not fresh.
Ice cream – Strawberry and Chocolate – is always the best choice to choose when flying business class and is always my first selection.
Cherry & Oat Crumble Tart w Cinnamon Cream & Cherry Compot – Dry and chewy. it actually needed some sort of coulis or something moist rather than this quinelle of mascaopne.
Cheese and Crackers – it amazes me that it is not clear to the air hostess serving us an even telling them that I was pregnant that they still offered me wine and champagne as well as soft cheese which you clearly cannot have when you are pregnant. They clearly do not have any attention to detail. Being a frequent flyer I would have expected to be acknowled by ur names, but never did. The service especially by the Chnese staff were very poor compared to the local staff on board, though I had only seen one kiwi staff member which was the inflight superfvisor who to me looked very fragile.
Just before I headed to bed, I was tapped on the shoulder by one of the staff memebers asing if i wanted a lite snack of sandwich and dim sum. Knowing that there was a high probability of not being able to eat the sandwiches I opted for the dim sum.
Dim Sum – consisted of 3 fairly large dim sums. Slightly larger than what you would get at a restaurant.
Sui Mai – large chunky prawns with minced pork meat filled this little morsel. The sui mai was succulent, and moist with good flavours.
Har Goa – sweet large roughly chopped prawns encased inside a slightly thicker than usual skin. Though this is what I would expect on the plane rather than at a 3 Michelin star restaurant.
Pork Dumpling – pork mince held within a medium thickness rice dumpling skin. Of the three dim sums, this would have to be my least favourite.
I would say that these three dim sum was much tastier, and fresher than the dim sum that Mr Wasabi had in Premium Economy when we flew from Auckland to Singapore. Not only they were fresh, they were also succulent.
Breakfast was served 2 hours prior to our arrive into Auckland. I was awoken by people chatting and the cabin light being lit.
Smoothie – Four fruits smoothie, tasted more like a drinking yoghurt with a light hint of fruit rather than the usual smoothies that I have normally had when in Business Premier
This was followed by a hot towel but in this instance the towel was warm but was dry.
Cereal – a selection of Bran Flakes and natural muesli was served. I opted for small portion of half and half with plain yoghurt and fruit on the side.
Bakery – a selection of toasts – White, wholemeal, fruit and croissants were on offer. I opted for the fruit toast as I had been craving for some decent fruit toast for the past two weeks.
Hot Meal – The usual suspects were made available being either, eggs and sausages, stir fry noodle dish and pancakes.
I never opt for the eggs and sausages as it is probably the last thing I would ever order. So Mr Wasabi and I decided to split our decision and order one of the remaining two hot items.
Stir Fried Noodles w White Fish, Prawns, Oyster Sauce and Pak Choy – where not the usual udon noodles that you get but actually egg noodles. The dish looked far superior to all the noodle dishes that I have had in the past on an AirnNZ flight. it was tasty with enough sauce to wet the noodles. 3 large prawns displayed on top with some small sliced vegetables and shiitake mushrooms mixed within the noodles itself.
Banana Coconut Hotcakes – these were not the pretties nor the fluffiest hotcakes I have had onboard an aircraft or at a cafe. I was served with 3 relative small and dry hotcakes with yoghurt and fruit served on top and a side of maple syrup. The hotcakes are a bit of a hit and miss to be honest. Todays hotcakes were average in my opinion. I have had better on a previous flight.
It appears that the food in Business Class is going down hill. Ever time I fly business class the quality food seems to go down hill every time. There is one good thing about the new inflight entertainment system is that it is now touch screen compatible. You can always send seat to seat messages with other passengers. Notifications are also announced not he screens such as inflight snacks etc.
People rave on abut how good AirNZ is. The only thing that I can say that is true about AirNZ is that their hard product is fairly good. everything else, from he food to the service is very indifferent and does not compare to other airlines such as Singapore Airlines or Cathay Pacific
We flew AirNZ 787 – Air New Zealand’s newest fleet member. Due to the flight time I had trouble getting to sleep, as the flight departed at 2.15pm and landed 5am local time, which was the time I normally went to bed while I was away.
Seating configuration in AirNZ Business Premier is 1x1x1.
AirNZ flies daily from Shanghai to Auckland. Visit www.airnz.co.nz for more information and flight times.