Air New Zealand Economy Class | 777-200 | IAH to AKL

Air New Zealand Economy Class | 777-200 | IAH to AKL

Overview:

I have the privilege to call this my home course. This beautiful course was built in 2007 and designed by nationally renowned course designer, Greg Nash. The Crossings offers a fantastic ocean view, rewarding golf, and a great 19th hole experience.

Having played the course numerous times, it continually offers a new playing experience while the views never get old. Let’s dive into the review!

Flight Details:

  • Flight Number: NZ29
  • Port of Origin: Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport, USA
  • Destination: Auckland, New Zealand
  • Flight Time: 14:22
  • Aircraft: Boeing 777-200ER

Booking:

This flight was part of a quick seven day trip around the Pacific Rim! I booked a total of 7 flights for less than $1,100 and used some points along the way to get 3/7 flights in business class. Check out the full article here!

Lounge/Airport:

My lounge experience at Houston International Airport was limited due to my booking class along with time of day. Being economy class, I wasn’t able to access any business class lounges but that didn’t stop me. Thanks to my Priority Pass membership, I was able to access the KLM Lounge and the Air France Lounge. The Air France Lounge was closed, leaving me with the KLM Lounge.

KLM Lounge Entrance

I wasn’t very impressed by the lounge. It’s quite tiny with very limited food and drink options. Upon entering, you’ll see a large seating area with individual lounge chairs. Most seats had power outlets. In the center of the lounge was a small food section. There were pastries, snacks, chips, soup, pita with hummus, salad, and bread with butter. 

Food Options in KLM Lounge

There was also a small fridge with mixers for alcoholic beverages, beer, and soda. A small liquor and wine section was also available. Beyond the small central food area, there was another seating area in the back which seemed more like the quiet section. In all, it’s better than sitting out in a regular seat at the gate but the lounge is pretty lackluster.

Boarding:

Gate D4

After leaving the lounge, I headed to my gate, D4. The gate employees seemed overwhelmed from the amount of immigration checks and passenger calls that the flight required. However, they kept their cool and were very friendly throughout the process. Air New Zealand boards business class, then premium economy and flyers with status, then economy rows 60-51, 60-40, then 60-35.

Boarding process was seamless without headache.

Air New Zealand 777-200ER

The Seat:

My seat was 36K in the forward economy cabin. My seat is a preferred seat and paid $50 extra for it. It includes a seat in the forward cabin or emergency exit row and you board earlier in economy. I kept a close eye on my flight but was able to secure the entire row without paying extra. 

Seat 36K

Aside from that, the seat seemed a bit more firm and rigid compared to other economy seats. Leg room was plenty even for a six foot person like myself.

Full Seat Back

There is no brace between the window and middle seats so you have extra, unrestricted foot room under the seat in front of you. The seat also includes a blanket, pillow, and headphones. No amenity kit.

Seat Amenities

Entertainment screen is touch screen and average economy size. It includes a 3.5mm headphone jack and USB port.

 

Entertainment Screen

Tray table is small but standard. There is no AC power at the seat.

There are two buttons located on the armrest. The rear button reclines the seat and the forward button releases the foot rest/SkyCouch.

Tray Table

While I lucked out, I was indirectly able to experience the SkyCouch on Air New Zealand. The SkyCouch is a row of economy seats that can turn into a bed for 1 or 2 people. Normally, you have to pay extra for this feature, upwards of $999, but I snagged it, gratis.

Air New Zealand SkyCouch

After pressing the button to release what looks to be the foot rest, you pull up on the extension and should hear a click. Rinse and repeat for the two other seats. Soon, you’ll have seat to seat coverage and ability to sleep lying flat. I utilized this to catch up on 10 uninterrupted hours of sleep on my 14 and a half hour flight. Unheard of in economy class.

While my back was a little sore, I’m hardly complaining and think it’s something you should highly consider as it offers a lie flat experience for a fraction of the price compared to business class.

Entertainment System:

The entertainment system on board was more than sufficient. The small touch screen was extremely responsive and functional. There was a good variety of movies, TV, and music to listen to and keep you occupied on the long haul flights. 

There are also plenty of other cool functions like ordering New Zealand wine, pre-ordering a SIM card (only on certain flights), on demand snacks and drinks ordering, and other fun information about visiting New Zealand. 

Check out the time stamped video below to see a video going through the entertainment system.

Meal Service:

There were two meal services for the 14.5 hour red eye flight. We start with dinner which was a choice between pesto chicken, mashed potatoes, and steamed zucchini or penne with tomato sauce and beef. I opted to go with the pesto chicken.

Pesto Chicken Dinner Plate

The chicken was tender and juicy and very tasty. Mashed potatoes were very good as well along with the zucchini. Very solid meal and impressed. The salad was ok and almost had no dressing on it. I didn’t have any dressing on my dish either. The bread roll was great and the cheesecake was also good not being too dry.

Pesto Chicken

I slept for a majority of the mid-flight so I’m unsure if there is any snack offered. Breakfast came around about 2 hours before arrival and was a choice between an egg omelet or continental fruit plate. I went with the omelet.

Breakfast Omelette

The presentation was not great, but the food wasn’t that bad. The egg was good with melted cheddar cheese inside. The hash browns, while a bit soggy, weren’t too bad. The fruit was juicy and ripe, and the yogurt was also great.

In all, I’m impressed with the economy meals. It’s always a good idea to bring a snack on board just in case but I think Air New Zealand does a good job keeping economy class full.

Service:

The flight attendants were very friendly and warm. Morale seemed to be high and I only saw them for meals, bussing of plates, and an occasional water run through the cabin. No complaints and I enjoyed their presence.

Overall:

I think the Air New Zealand product is excellent. The food was pretty good for economy class and the service was good. 

For me, the SkyCouch is the game changer. It is a brilliant idea and one that I wish more airlines used. If you can’t get lucky ending up with an entire row, it may be something worth considering if you value sleeping and the ability to lay down on your flight. 

I will definitely be flying with Air New Zealand again and look forward to trying out their other cabin classes.

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