Air New Zealand's new business class seat launches late 2019

By David Flynn, March 28 2019
Air New Zealand's new business class seat launches late 2019

Air New Zealand will debut an upgraded version of its Business Premier international business class seat by the end of 2019, ahead of the debut of an all-new business class seat in the early 2020s.

That next-gen seat – currently under development at a secret site dubbed 'Hangar 22' – will replace today's circa-2005 sleeper and crown the pointy end of AirNZ's forthcoming non-stop flights to New York and other far-afield destinations on either the Boeing 777X or Airbus A350 from 2022.

This seat, announced today by the Kiwi carrier, is slated for its Boeing 777 and Boeing 787 jets in a rapid rollout due for completion by the end of 2020 in order minimise the 'seat lottery' which can bedevil business travellers during extensive fleet upgrades.

So just how new will the new seat be? Air New Zealand is calling it an 'enhanced' model of the existing Business Premier seat, which was last updated and remodelled in 2011 and also takes pride of place on the Boeing 787s.

The current Air New Zealand Business Premiere seat
The current Air New Zealand Business Premiere seat

In fact, the new face of Business Premier is all about the enhancements, according to AirNZ CEO Christopher Luxon, who tags these improvements as extending beyond the seat to meals and drinks.

AirNZ CEO Chris Luxon is enhancing the airline's business class experience
AirNZ CEO Chris Luxon is enhancing the airline's business class experience

“We have undertaken considerable customer research and testing over the past 12 months to come up with enhancements to the existing award-winning seat as well as a new food, beverage and service offering that reflects the essence of who we are as a nation," Luxon says.

In related news, inflight Internet access will now be free on all AirNZ flights, with the Star Alliance member dropping the previous price tags which saw WiFi costed as NZ$30 - NZ$40 for an entire flight, or NZ$9 for a one-hour pass.


David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

Air New Zealand - Airpoints

04 Sep 2012

Total posts 136

The current herringbone seat was introduced way back in 2005. I'd hardly call the 2011 refresh 'enhanced' other than brown to white seat covers and new IFE.
NZ business may replace what was the 'club world' joke now that BA have upped their game.

If you are based in NZ there is not really an alternative airline.

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 1035

It sounds like a revamp rather than a new seat which explains how NZ can complete the entire fleet in a year.

Confused why they would persist with the existing herringbone design. I can't imagine what update could lift it so it is considered comparable with the latest reverse herringbone or staggered seat set-ups.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

01 Mar 2012

Total posts 178

Even if they install a reverse herringbone I’d be happy. I am just tired of seeing everyone in the cabin while I’m trying to work. That said when travelling with the family I can watch our 3 year old from my seat to make sure he is behaving.

28 Mar 2018

Total posts 27

I estimate Air NZ fitted 1 or 2 business seats less than they could on the 787 when they persisted with the herringbone (1-1-1 due to narrower 787) instead of an off the shelf staggered 1-2-1. I would have thought this was a good opportunity to fix that shortcoming and improve passenger comfort at the same time.


23 Oct 2015

Total posts 22

I like everything else about Air New Zealand, food, drinks, staff - but until they get rid of the cattle stalls in business I only ever fly them when there is no choice.

In row 1 or 2 it’s sorta OK, but if you’re at the back of business, on take off and landing I feel like a cow in a diary stall, just waiting to be milked.

I have experienced milking cows on my best friend's farm in Cobram, the diary stall was laid out exactly the same way as the Air New Zealand's Business Class seats. The stall was designed for the ease of reaching out to the udders by using the electric motor driven vacuum pumps whilst the cows were squashed side by side saving some space. The cows must be fed while milking, otherwise they will become very upset, sometimes exasperated or even petrified.


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

23 Sep 2017

Total posts 149

It’s just a minor re-furb of their sardine can / derrière-in-first concept. The dairy stall comment was spot-on and leaves plenty to the imagination too! 😉

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

19 Aug 2011

Total posts 166

Ironically, Virgin Atlantic (which pioneered this seat by and large), will be announcing its brand new seat in just over a week (albeit it wont be retrofitted to existing aircraft apparently)

Having flown Virgin Atlantic recently, and Air NZ reasonably often, I don't mind this seat.


04 Nov 2019

Total posts 1

Sorry, but this is the WORST looking business class seat in the industry.

04 Dec 2019

Total posts 2

Any update on this?

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