Going for Platinum - Part 2, Auckland to Los Angeles Air New Zealand Business Class NZ6
I had just landed in Auckland following a fabulous flight as reported in Part 1. The next flight was 'NZ6' from Auckland to Los Angeles on board a Boeing 747-400 in seat 6A, Business Class.
With a couple of hours to spare it was off to the international Koru Club for a quick shower and a drink.
Auckland Koru Club Shower Room
Auckland Koru Club Shower
After a very relaxing and refreshing shower I went to explore the facilities. The lounge features a very extensive selection of beers along with the expected New Zealand wines and the usual spirits. There was hot food available but I was really full from the previous flight and with a big dinner ahead on the plane I just had a ginger ale. The lounge seemed quite spacious too. There are some seats which feature some partial tarmac views which is something I like.
Tarmac View From My Seat - The 747 tail to the right is my flight
Whilst I was sitting in the lounge chatting on Facebook there was an announcement made, it was the inflight manager from NZ6 introducing himself! I was really impressed by this. He said he would be coming around to answer any questions we might have prior to the flight. I had never come across this kind of personal service in a lounge before and it was a very memorable touch which really made Air New Zealand stand out.
Soon after I decided to head to the gate...
Lounge Departures Board
ZK-NBT preparing for NZ6 to Los Angeles
Flight Information Display
There was a fairly long security line for US bound passengers, it took about 15 minutes or so to get through. I arrived at the gate and found a great view of my aircraft. Today's flight was to be operated by ZK-NBT, a 20 year old Boeing 747-419 named 'Kaikoura'. Air New Zealand's oldest Jumbo.
Boarding had already commenced and I proceeded down the jetway to Door 2L. Once again I was warmly greeted and directed to the left with the crew member saying 'Welcome to our Business Premier Cabin'. Nice!
I walked through the 2nd business class cabin and into the nose section which was completely full and I was the last passenger to arrive in that area. Each seat had an amenity kit with a drawstring bag, wine and food menu on the ottoman, as well as bottled water beside the seat. As I was placing my bag in the overhead one of the cabin crew came over to ask if I was familiar with the seat and if I needed to know how to operate it. Having worked it out on the previous sector I said I was fine.
Amenity Kit and Menus
The 'exclusive' Boeing 747 nose
Within moments one of the 2 male crew members serving my area was at my seat confirming I would like a glass of 'Bubbles' as my welcome drink. Of course I said yes!
View From My Window
Cute Amenity Kit
Menus - The Wine Guide is huge!
Looking Out From My Seat
I put my headsets, amenity kit and water bottle in this area behind the seat
Flight time was announced by the captain as 11 hours and 30 minutes. He expected smooth flying conditions en route although cloud and rain was forecast in Los Angeles the following morning. We were soon pushing back and making our way to the runway. It was pretty cloudy in Auckland tonight and shortly after lift off we entered a cloud layer:
Once we were in clear skies the seat belt sign was switched off and the crew came around taking drinks orders. I stuck with Champagne. We also were offered some canapes and warmed nuts.
Sunset During Dinner
The meal service commenced shortly afterwards, I chose the Beef. Meal service went like this:
Taking Orders For Main Course
Some Turbulence During Dinner
Two of the Lovely Crew, Wine In Hand
The meal was fabulous from start to finish. I enjoyed every course! The sauvignon blanc I was drinking with it was going down a treat, I wish I knew which one it was but I have forgotten. It sure was nice though. Afterwards I decided to try and get some sleep so I stood up and pressed the bed button, the seat back does a complete flip and looks like this:
Along with the pillow and duvet there is a bed cover to place over the seat. All up it makes a very nice flat sleeping experience with quite a bit of privacy. I was very content tucked up in bed with my seatbelt over the duvet just in case the seatbelt sign went on whilst I slept.
Tucked Up in Bed Crossing the Date Line, 9 hours 13 mins to LA
Almost exactly 7 hours later it was time for breakfast. I hadn't slept the entire time, I did wake up and watch TV for an hour or so halfway through, but I was very refreshed none the less. The bed was very comfortable and leaps and bounds ahead of any angled lie flat business class I have tried.
To start breakfast hot towels followed by a fruit smoothie were on offer:
Breakfast was served from a trolley and you could pick and choose what you wanted. On offer was yoghurts, fruit salad, fresh fruit and a selection of cereals. I started with orange juice, coffee, and fruit salad with boysenberry and blackberry yoghurt. It was very good! The crew were continually topping up coffee and tea and making sure all passengers were well looked after.
From the bakery I had a few pieces of fruit toast, the first time I had come across this in the sky and it was great! For my hot breakfast I had the cheddar and chive scrambled egg, chicken sausage and mushroom ragout. It was one of the best egg dishes I'd had on a plane too.
On each long haul Air New Zealand service there is always an 'inflight concierge'. This one flight attendant is able to provide advice to passengers of any class on sightseeing, tours and other destination information. During breakfast our inflight concierge put a message both over the PA and as text on the inflight entertainment system that if anybody had long transits at LAX they could offer suggestions on short itineraries available in the Los Angeles area. Very nice touch indeed.
As we were approaching North America it became quite cloudy outside. The crew cleaned up from breakfast and I freshened up in the lavatory making use of the amenity kit. All too soon we commenced our descent and entered heavy cloud with quite a bit of rain streaming past the window.
On the Ground in LAX
My First Sighting of the New UNITED livery
As we taxi'ed to the gate I felt a little sad. My Air New Zealand flight was over already! I had always heard they were great to fly with but I left this aircraft absolutely and totally impressed. What a great way to spend 12 hours or so. The crew were delightful, the food was magnificent. I hope to have a chance to use them again very soon!
Parked at the Gate at LAX
Next up in this trip is Continental Airlines domestic first class from Los Angeles to Honolulu. Stay tuned!