A few weeks back, I posted a query regarding traveller's experiences with the newly launched Premium Economy SpaceSeat by Air New Zealand in their Boeing 777 (tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g1-i10702-k4572641…). I can now share my experience having flown from Auckland to LAX on July 11 and from LAX to LHR on July 14.
On the first flight from Auckland to LAX, I was in the middle 2 seats with my 4yo daughter. Here are the positives:
- It is truly a spacious SEAT: wide, comfortable, and good leg space when sitting. The term SpaceSeat is very appropriate.
- Service was impeccable and it was clear that the Air NZ staff enjoyed being allocated to Prem Eco.
- Food and beverages were excellent and equivalent to some Business Class offerings.
- The A/V system was top quality with good options.
- A child can easily sleep lying down because the centre arm rests between the 2 middle seats descend to the level of a seat and they can stretch out. My daughter slept for at least 9 hours.
- The seat in front of you cannot intrude into your space.
BUT, there is one significant negative - the SpaceSeat is a seat first and foremost but extremely cramped for sleeping for anyone over 175cm tall. It is definitely not a spacious sleeping seat! The recline of the seat is limited and your legs are forced into a small, angled space under the hard shell of the seat in front of you. If you try stretching your legs into the aisle space, they will be bumped, trodden upon or hit with a trolley. It was just impossible to get comfortable and I managed just 2 hours of uncomfortable, almost painful, sleep.
On the flight from LAX to LHR, I had an aisle seat on the left hand side of the plane. All of the above applies with these additions.
- Check in was with Business Class and was exceptional at LAX T2
- I felt that I had more side support, more leg space with the seat reclined and I managed more comfortable sleep.
Thus, my advice is as follows:
- Air NZ should be applauded from trying something completely different with Premium Economy.
- If sleep is unimportant to you on a long-haul flight, you will definitely enjoy the comfort and space of the seat.
- Wait until September 1 2011, when Air NZ removes a row of Prem Eco SpaceSeats (they have clearly accepted the negative feedback on sleeping space from other travellers), which will add a few extra centimetres of space and will probably make leg space better and sleep easier.