The plan once I returned from my trip to New Zealand was to write a series of blogs posts detailing my day by day adventures so you could see all that the country has to offer. But the moment I stepped onto my LAX flight to Auckland aboard Air New Zealand, I knew my first post was going to be a review of this fantastic airline.
Let me start by saying that New Zealand is certainly not a destination right in my backyard. Living in NJ, it takes a 5.5 hour flight from Newark to Los Angeles aboard their Star Alliance Partner United Airlines before I could officially begin my flight to Auckland. As I was getting ready to board my 12 hour flight to Auckland, I remember saying to myself "I hope this goes quick". And quick it did, thanks to Air New Zealand.
Air NZ offers economy, which is where I was, premium economy offering more leg room in mini pod like formations and slightly deeper reclines, and then Business class offering much larger lie flat options in seating. One of the cool things they offer in economy is the sky couch, perfect for couples and those traveling with small babies. You essentially are buying all three seats (the plane is configured 3-4-3) and offer leg rests which lift up to be even with your seats. This comfortably will allow two people to lie down and snuggle. Don't worry about a seat belt, Air NZ provides "cuddle belts" so you and your partner will be comfortable and safe. I was lucky enough to be sitting in a row with this option (I didn't pay for it. No one else paid for that row to be a sky couch so they just treat it like three economy seats) and while the stranger sitting next to me wasn't planning on cuddling (don't worry, the feeling was mutual) it did allow us to raise our leg rests a little and recline our seats so it felt like we were laying down in our own seats. Very comfy and perfect for sleeping.
Now lets talk about the entertainment on board. There were tons of movies, plenty of tv shows (not just single episodes. They had full seasons preloaded) and music albums out the wazoo to choose from. The screen was a touchscreen with a remote control available for games. One of the cool things I loved about the screens was the flight info page. It showed you not only where you were in flight but showed you when the cabin lights would be dimmed, when meals would be served, what the menu for those meals would be, and more. It allowed me to plan when I wanted to sleep. You could also order snacks and drinks from your seat. When I woke up from sleeping, I saw we still had two hours to a meal so I ordered a water and a cookie and within minutes, a very friendly flight attendant appeared with my order. How convenient!
That brings me to the staff. Could they be any nicer?! I think that would be impossible. They were such an attentive staff of flight attendants with a smile on their face and always happy to help. They were attentive and funny and started and ended my NZ experience the way every vacation should start and end, with great memories and a smile. In all my travels, both long haul and short haul, I don't think I've ever come across a more enjoyable flight experience and the staff was a very large part in me saying that. And I promise, that's not the New Zealand wine they serve during the flight that's talking. That's a 100% sober view
All in all, kudos to Air New Zealand. You made two 12 hour flights seem effortless and quick and almost leaving me wishing I could have just flown an extra 5 hours on your airline back to Newark instead of changing. I love United but nothing compares to your amenities and service.
NOTE: I traveled on an industry non revenue ticket. This in no way affected my opinions expressed in this review and did not influence my decision to write this