Anurax manages a local IT consultancy and software house. His love is technology and how it can be implemented to improve lives from a social-ethical-productive perspective. Flying has always been his passion, and the view of the world at 35,000 feet has always been magical.
Singapore Airlines A380 New Business Class SIN-SYD
Air New Zealand B777-200 Business Class SYD-AKL
HiFly A340-300 Business Class (ex-Emirates First Class) AKL-SYD
Singapore Airlines A380 New Suites SYD-SIN
Virgin Atlantic A330-300 Upper Class LHR-IAD
NZ 101 AKL –SYD
Flight Time: 3hrs
Cabin Class: J
On the Ground
This was the start of my 15,000 mile journey from Auckland to Washington, via SYD-SIN-LHR-IAD.
A 48-hour journey of 4 flights, touching 4 continents, and over 15,000 miles.
I had to wake up at 3am to check out, reaching the Airport at 5am for my 7am flight.
The Auckland Airport has a single terminal for international flights, and is easy to navigate. Air New Zealand offers a Premium check in for Business class passengers at the departure hall with a direct lift access to immigration. The staff on the ground were very friendly and helpful.
Located on the second floor, the lounge is big and spacious, and similar to the one in Sydney, has a modern and contemporary design which I really like.
As it was really early in the morning, food availability was limited. I had an omelette and a cappuccino which was not great but kept me going.
The lounge has quite a number of seating sections which are quite well-spaced. Unfortunately, the food was not ready so I did not get to experience the quality.
Overall, the lounge is big and modern.
I think I would have enjoyed the lounge more if I were catching an afternoon or night flight, but I was too busy trying to catch some Zzzs for my upcoming 48 hours of flying.
I have to admit the toilets are clean but is nothing else to brag about.
For a lounge this big, I think the number of cubicles may not suffice if the lounge were full, so this may be an issue during peak hours.
Boarding was again a breeze, with the gates just a few steps after the escalator, with priority boarding for Business Class and Star Alliance Gold passengers.
In the Cabin and Seat
This Air NZ flight is a wet lease from HiFly, which means both the plane and the crew are from HiFly.
There were two Air NZ flight crew on board to assist only in administrative matters.
The airplane is old, really old.
If a plane is stripped of its colours and painted all white, it is either headed to the graveyard or in some poor service airline.
As mentioned, this is an ex-Emirate A340, and while most of the things were removed, you can still see the bling trimming at the side of the seats and at the windows. The seat that was allocated to Business Class passengers were the old Emirates First Class. The seats were still functional and quite comfortable for the short flight.
The last time I sat on an Emirates seat, it broke down on me. The seat could not return to an upright position after lying flat. Thankfully, it did not happen this time. However, the Emirate bling and faux wood is something I just can’t seem to appreciate.
The in-flight entertainment is an old 9 inch screen stored in the arm rest. It’s pretty much like the old SQ planes that have the Ultimo seats. The screen is fuzzy and the resolution is something you would brag about back in the 90s. The entertainment selection for bad, with limited movies and no play-on-demand. One have to follow their start and end cycles, which is pretty much what you’d expect in the 90s.
For this flight, the meal service was a packaged sandwich on a tray. The food was not very pleasant, to say the least.
My understanding is that even the food is by HiFly, and not Air NZ.
In-Flight Service and Conclusion
The service on this flight was not very good.
Most of the cabin crew could not speak English, but mainly Portuguese. They seemed very rushed and wanted to just get the job done. They weren’t rude or malicious, but I sense they did not really care.
This was an interesting flight despite the disappointment that I did not get my Dreamliner experience.
Considering the Dreamliner track record, it may be good to skip one generation of Boeing.
In all honesty, I don’t think HiFly is doing Air New Zealand any justice. My previous flight with Air NZ was so much better especially in terms of the soft product. While an ex-Emirates First Class seat is more comfortable than a Herringbone seat, the entertainment system and internal finishing is pretty bad.
This plane is just too old for an airline like Air New Zealand.