After five years of design and development work, the new Air New Zealand business class cabin is expected to formally launch this week. This includes the new Business Premier Luxe offering in the bulkhead row, first revealed by PaxEx.Aero in late March.
The new views now available are still renderings of the final product, not the real thing. But they unveil a few more details about both the new Business Premier and Business Premier Luxe options.
Sliding door suites for Business Premier Luxe
The front row of each business class cabin (Row 1 and what appears to be row 9, though row 8 is missing) will feature a pair of sliding doors to increase privacy for passengers. A full height door will slide back from the front of the seat, filling the entry area to the seat all the way to the floor. A second, half-height door will slide forward from the seat shell, completing the space.
The rendering also shows a significantly larger ottoman space in the Business Premier Luxe space. That space can be used for a second passenger to sit for meals. The rendering shows the larger, single-piece tray table with two place settings on it.
A seatbelt is also included on the ottoman for the guest passenger, slightly off to the side of the large in-flight entertainment screen included in the suite.
Half-door for Business Premier
The regular Business Premier seats will not have the full height door for privacy. They will, however, still have a mini-door that closes above the side table, shielding the aisle a bit.
This design is either a gimmick to claim a sliding door on the seats or a nice option to increase clearance from mid-thigh up for passengers entering the seat. Or even, perhaps a bit of both.
The footwell on the Business Premier seats taper, unlike the larger space at the bulkhead row.
Other Air New Zealand Business Premier seat details
All seats feature USB-A and USB-C, as well as universal AC power points. Wireless charging is also included on the narrower of the two side tables at each seat.
Seat covers are fabric, rather than leather, a move the company says helps lower the carbon emissions impact of the flights. Plates and other service-ware will also be 20% lighter than the prior generation, further lowering fuel burn and emissions.
The company says it invested more than 170,000 work hours to design and develop the new seat. This includes work with Boeing and other partners to ensure it can fly on the airline’s 787 fleet. When the design first slipped out in March the company said “[M]ore than 80,000 design and engineering hours have gone into the new Business Premier seats, along with 18 months of customer research and testing.”
SkyNest Economy Sleeping Pods
Business class is swanky, but far more travelers will fly in back half of the plane. Air New Zealand’s new 787-9 config delivers a big win for them as well. The new cabins will also include its “SkyNest” sleeping pod in economy class.
First announced as a concept in February 2020, and developed through the company’s Hangar 22 innovation center, the SkyNest bunkbed design offers six fully-flat beds for part-time use by economy class passengers.
Initially the carrier intended to choose whether to launch the seating option following its inaugural Auckland-Newark flights. While the pandemic delayed some of the new routes, it did not halt development of the SkyNest.
Additional details on the Business Premier Luxe, Business Premier, and SkyNest products are expected later this week when the company issues its formal announcement.
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