Air New Zealand's new business class seat launches late 2019

Air New Zealand's new business class seat launches late 2019

Air New Zealand will debut an upgraded version of its Business Premier international business class seat by the end of 2019, ahead of the debut of an all-new business class seat in the early 2020s.

That next-gen seat – currently under development at a secret site dubbed 'Hangar 22' – will replace today's circa-2005 sleeper and crown the pointy end of AirNZ's forthcoming non-stop flights to New York and other far-afield destinations on either the Boeing 777X or Airbus A350 from 2022.

This seat, announced today by the Kiwi carrier, is slated for its Boeing 777 and Boeing 787 jets in a rapid rollout due for completion by the end of 2020 in order minimise the 'seat lottery' which can bedevil business travellers during extensive fleet upgrades.

So just how new will the new seat be? Air New Zealand is calling it an 'enhanced' model of the existing Business Premier seat, which was last updated and remodelled in 2011 and also takes pride of place on the Boeing 787s.

The current Air New Zealand Business Premiere seat

In fact, the new face of Business Premier is all about the enhancements, according to AirNZ CEO Christopher Luxon, who tags these improvements as extending beyond the seat to meals and drinks.

AirNZ CEO Chris Luxon is enhancing the airline's business class experience

“We have undertaken considerable customer research and testing over the past 12 months to come up with enhancements to the existing award-winning seat as well as a new food, beverage and service offering that reflects the essence of who we are as a nation," Luxon says.

In related news, inflight Internet access will now be free on all AirNZ flights, with the Star Alliance member dropping the previous price tags which saw WiFi costed as NZ$30 - NZ$40 for an entire flight, or NZ$9 for a one-hour pass.

David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.
 

9 comments

  • Koru17

    Koru17

    28 Mar, 2019 09:42 am

    The current herringbone seat was introduced way back in 2005. I'd hardly call the 2011 refresh 'enhanced' other than brown to white seat covers and new IFE.
    NZ business may replace what was the 'club world' joke now that BA have upped their game.
    If you are based in NZ there is not really an alternative airline.
    No member give thanks

  • reeves35

    reeves35

    28 Mar, 2019 09:42 am

    It sounds like a revamp rather than a new seat which explains how NZ can complete the entire fleet in a year.

    Confused why they would persist with the existing herringbone design. I can't imagine what update could lift it so it is considered comparable with the latest reverse herringbone or staggered seat set-ups.
    No member give thanks

  • StuParr

    StuParr

    28 Mar, 2019 10:15 am

    Even if they install a reverse herringbone I’d be happy. I am just tired of seeing everyone in the cabin while I’m trying to work. That said when travelling with the family I can watch our 3 year old from my seat to make sure he is behaving.
    Member who gave thanks

    mallee

  • poopbunny

    poopbunny

    28 Mar, 2019 11:27 am

    I estimate Air NZ fitted 1 or 2 business seats less than they could on the 787 when they persisted with the herringbone (1-1-1 due to narrower 787) instead of an off the shelf staggered 1-2-1. I would have thought this was a good opportunity to fix that shortcoming and improve passenger comfort at the same time.
    No member give thanks

  • Ricardo

    Ricardo

    28 Mar, 2019 11:29 am

    I like everything else about Air New Zealand, food, drinks, staff - but until they get rid of the cattle stalls in business I only ever fly them when there is no choice.

    In row 1 or 2 it’s sorta OK, but if you’re at the back of business, on take off and landing I feel like a cow in a diary stall, just waiting to be milked.
    No member give thanks

  • Lake Pacific Airways

    lakepacificair

    28 Mar, 2019 09:15 pm

    I have experienced milking cows on my best friend's farm in Cobram, the diary stall was laid out exactly the same way as the Air New Zealand's Business Class seats. The stall was designed for the ease of reaching out to the udders by using the electric motor driven vacuum pumps whilst the cows were squashed side by side saving some space. The cows must be fed while milking, otherwise they will become very upset, sometimes exasperated or even petrified.
    No member give thanks

  • Jason Hamilton

    JKH

    28 Mar, 2019 07:07 pm

    It’s just a minor re-furb of their sardine can / derrière-in-first concept. The dairy stall comment was spot-on and leaves plenty to the imagination too! 😉
    No member give thanks

  • Scott Wilson

    Libertyscott

    28 Mar, 2019 10:46 pm

    Ironically, Virgin Atlantic (which pioneered this seat by and large), will be announcing its brand new seat in just over a week (albeit it wont be retrofitted to existing aircraft apparently)
    No member give thanks

  • julius-grafton

    julius-grafton

    29 Mar, 2019 04:46 pm

    Having flown Virgin Atlantic recently, and Air NZ reasonably often, I don't mind this seat.
    No member give thanks

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22 May, 2019 03:12 am

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