There’s no doubt the 787 Dreamliner has had a tough time since entering commercial service in 2010, though as the kinks get worked out there’s no doubt it’s a big winner for the airlines, thanks to the low operating costs.

So far only the 787-8 has entered commercial service (I just had my first flight on the 787 a couple of weeks ago). However, next year the stretched version, the 787-9, will enter service starting with their launch customer, Air New Zealand.

Air New Zealand has announced that they’ll first introduce the 787-9 on their route between Auckland and Perth as of October 15, 2014.

Air-New-Zealand-787-9

Air New Zealand’s 787-9 will feature a total of 302 seats, including 18 Business Premier seats, 21 Premium Economy seats, and 263 Economy Class seats, including 14 Skycouch rows. By the end of 2014 the 787-9 should be serving Shanghai and Tokyo Narita as well.

Air-New-Zealand-Routes

Based on the 787-9 seatmap that Air New Zealand published, it looks like Business Premier will feature herringbone seats in a 1-1-1 configuration. It looks like it’ll be the same product they have on the 777-300ER.

NZ-Business-Premier

Their Premium Economy cabin is different than the Spaceseat they have on the 777-300ER (I assume because the aircraft isn’t quite as wide).

NZ-Premium-Economy

Meanwhile the aircraft also has Air New Zealand’s innovative Skycouch, which I still can’t see the value of unless you’re really short. The three seats turn into a 5’1″ surface, which just seems more trouble than its worth.

NZ-SkyCouch

Economy class will be in a 3-3-3 configuration, as has become the norm on the 787. When ANA first took delivery of the 787 they just had eight seats per row in economy class, but since then nine has become the standard unfortunately.

I love Air New Zealand (and for that matter New Zealand is one of my favorite countries in the world), though they’re extremely stingy with releasing award space. Back in the day the key to snagging business class award seats on their routes between the US and New Zealand was to book 60 days out, when they seemed to release many unsold business class seats. Unfortunately since then they’ve tightened up space even more, to the point that I don’t remember the last time I saw a business class award seat out of their mainland North America gateways.

On the plus side they do release at least some award space on their routes out of Asia, though here’s to hoping the Dreamliner configuration doesn’t cause a further reduction in award space. Their 777-200s feature 26 business class seats, so the 787-9 does represent a reduction of eight business class seats.

  1. November 8th, 2013 at 10:02 am

    Tony said,

    I think you mean seats not seas.

  2. November 8th, 2013 at 10:19 am

    ralf said,

    Love NZ and the country as well. But AirNZ has gone downhill in several ways recently.

  3. November 8th, 2013 at 10:45 am

    lucky said,

    @ Tony – Oops! Thanks!

  4. November 8th, 2013 at 10:49 am

    The Global Traveller said,

    It looks like NZ’s 787 seating will not be as good as on their 77W in all classes.

    Business seats slightly shorter, and appear to be at higher angle to the forward direction thus likely also slightly narrower. IFE screens are smaller.

    Premium economy backwards step from space seats to marginally better than economy seats.

    Economy has reduced pitch 31-32″ and increased recline (5″) – so difficult to watch the IFE or work in the seat, and if passenger in front reclines you will need to as well.

    Seems to be narrow seats and aisles in both economy and premium economy.

    On the plus side at least 767 (with poor business class and no premium economy) finally stops on the long Shanghai and Tokyo flights.

  5. November 8th, 2013 at 11:04 am

    Gene said,

    This will be a huge improvement over the 767 torture chambers they currently use on some of their Asia to AKL routes. NZ’s 767 business class seats are easily the worst in the world.

  6. November 8th, 2013 at 11:20 am

    day_mee said,

    I actually liked the 767, was on it a few days ago in Y. My knees never touched the back of the seat in front of me, 33″ was the pitch. I thought the seat was more comfortable than the A320 and had a fair bit of back support.

    Also Lucky I think the reason for no Spaceseat on 787 is revenue-based – couldn’t fit 2-3-2 with previous design due to unique structure. If I recall correctly, Spaceseat was designed especially *for* 787 but was brought on to 777 due to 787 delivery delays. Seems strange not to have it on what it was specifically designed for! Skycouch kind of forced 3-3-3 layout – would be strange having 3-2-3 to keep 3-seat blocks and no-one would fork out extra if Skycouch was a block of 4! (In a 2-4-2 layout scenario)

  7. November 8th, 2013 at 10:52 pm

    wwk5d said,

    http://boardingarea.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/onemileatatime/files/2013/11/Air-New-Zealand-Routes.png
    If I’m not mistaken, the great circle route from Perth to Auckland takes the aircraft further south, correct? Why does this map show the route curving north?

  8. November 9th, 2013 at 12:13 am

    lucky said,

    @ wwk5d — Yeah, my guess is they drew it that way just so it looks pretty.

  9. December 13th, 2013 at 12:47 pm

    Keith said,

    The Premium Economy has been degraded actually. It’s not because of the width of the aircraft. The Spaceseat work in a 2-2-2 configuration on the 777. With 2-3-2, they have actually downgraded their product to fit in more seats.

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