Up, up and away we go.
After many sorrowful goodbyes, our one-way ticket from New York to New Zealand couldn’t have been any smoother. Many assumed that we flew through LA to reach our destination however we actually flew from Toronto to Vancouver, which was a five hour flight, then onward to New Zealand for the last fourteen hours of our trip. We were not looking forward to being on the plane for an extended time period and even prepared for a little airplane yoga action to loosen the joints. Long-haul flights seem like a nightmare. The airplane seat reclines a mere three inches making your car seats look like Temper-Pedic mattress and the leg space is always inadequate as if you suddenly grew Inspector Gadget limbs prior to boarding. To make things worse, you’re either wedged in the middle seat between two strangers or on the aisle as the food trays find new ways to crush your knees and elbows. Seriously. Pick your poison.
Despite the imagery mishaps, both of us will go on record to vouch that the fourteen hour leg of our trip was the smoothest flight that we’ve ever experienced. If you’re planning a surprise visit to see us, here are a few things to expect on Air New Zealand.
Flight length: 14 hrs
Departure City: Vancouver
Destination: New Zealand
The aircraft has various seating configurations including our row of ten seats across the width of the plane. Two aisles separate the seats into three sections, three on the far left, four in the middle and three on the far right. A gentleman occupied seat D in the middle section, leaving an empty seat between him and Lucas (major bonus) while we occupied F and G. Adjustable head rests can be position to prevent your head from rolling off of your neck with the ability to angle the sides for greater support. It was nice in theory but for some reason I couldn’t quite get comfortable. No complaints though since it’s not intended to be a bed. Arm rests are available to recline with a usb port to charge a mobile device.
The Boeing 777 included 286 standard seats and 26 flat bed seats with a 180 degree recline. The seats convert into a skycouch by lifting the leg rest 90 degrees and using a mattress pad to accommodate a couple like us. You know, like Lucas and I…had we booked the magical seats. Note for the future: book the convertable window seats. The feature is not an option for the middle aisle seats. I know this because I watched the demonstration video and eyed each and every one of those seats on my way to the bathroom. Speaking of which, there are ten bathrooms of which five are at a comfortable distance in the middle of the plane with a handicap accessible bathroom.
The overhead compartment has enough space for your carry on items (although we had trouble opening one of the overhead bins and a flight attendant helped us out). You may need the grip strength of Samson or just ask for assistance.
Food and drink
We received dinner and breakfast which was surprisingly tasty and balanced. It was as good as airplane food gets! After dinner, red and white wine is served as a complementary treat as a part of Air New Zealand Wine Awards however we were in the process of catching up on our sleep.
Service and Amenities
Usually airlines have the boring spiel about safety procedures as passengers purposely occupy themselves with the few minutes of wifi freedom before take off. I waited for the safety routine as the overly cautious person that I am but never saw the attendees fight to get my attention. Turns out, as the official airline of Middle- earth and huge Hobbit fans, they created the most epic safety procedure videos for passengers to view at their own leisure. In some of New Zealand’s most stunning locations, the safety videos are mini blockbusters in their own right where athletes deliver flight safety on surf boards and other cool places. With over 19 million online views since its launch in October 2014, the The Hobbit videos were created to make safety interesting as possible for weary travelers. But if The Hobbit is not your cup of tea, I browsed through 11 distinctly different themed safety videos inspired by the likes of Men in Black, Surfing Safari, Sports Illustrated, Betty White and Bear Grylls to name a few.
Every seat is supplied with a blanket, headphones and a small lower back pillow. Per request, attendants will provide a toothbrush, tooth paste, earplugs and eyeshades at no additional cost.
It’s difficult to become bored with a variety of stellar movie selections. After trying to queue up a movie manually between our two screens for five minutes, I realized that there was a screen share feature that allowed us to simultaneously view the movie on our individual screens. The service allows you to select the same movie as your neighbor to watch a program at the same point, start the program from the beginning, or add the program to your favorites.
Before boarding the plane, you may be asked about your visa and accomodations. U.S. citizens are eligible for a visa-waiver and do not need to apply for a visa. On arrival, you may have to show proof of a). an onward flight to another country and b). evidence of funds to sustain yourself.
Fourteen hours of pure relaxation and entertainment are well the money spent. Has anyone else flown Air New Zealand? If so what did we miss?! Leave your comments or questions below!