Bucking the trend in modern business class cabins which often adopt a 1-2-1 layout, Air New Zealand 'Business Premier' business class comes instead in a 1-1-1 configuration on its Boeing 787-9s that you'd otherwise expect of first class.
Like 1-2-1, that provides each traveller with direct and uninterrupted access to the aisle, but also sees you facing towards that aisle, rather than straight ahead as you might traditionally be accustomed.
Spread across six rows, you'll find the 'A' seats (such as 1A, 2A etc.) on the far left, the 'J' seats running down the centre of the aircraft and the K seats lining the windows on the right.
Even though they're all the same basic seat, not every business class pod is created equal – we show you the best and also share which are best avoided the choice is yours.
Best seats in Air NZ's Boeing 787-9 business class
3A, 4A: All things considered, we'd peg these seats as the best all-rounders. Nestled a few rows back from the galleys and restrooms but a few rows forward of the premium economy baby bassinets, you're in an acoustic 'sweet spot' in avoiding one noise source without becoming too prone to another.
The left aisle is also used only by passengers in the 'A' seats, which means five other travellers roaming past as opposed to twice that in the other aisle: and being further back, you'll hardly notice the passengers in the forward rows.
6A, for privacy: With the business class curtain directly behind 6A and separating this area from premium economy travellers, the only people passing your seat mid-flight should be the cabin crew as other travellers will all walk forward from their seat to use the facilities, not backward.
Beware, though, the benefits of this seat are moot if a screaming child is planted directly in the bassinet behind you.
Any other 'A' seat: Again, for the benefit of less aisle traffic which means less chance of being bumped or disturbed by heavy footsteps – the further back the better.
1K, with an infant: Whether holidaying with the family or bringing them along on your business trip, 1K is the only Business Premier seat with bassinet facilities. Other travellers, however, note that you may be asked to move to accommodate families with small children.
Consecutive seats, for couples: At first glance, choosing a 'J' and 'K' pair across the aisle might seem suitable for couples wanting to chat...
... but remember you'll be talking – nay, projecting – at a volume audible to other passengers, whereas choosing consecutive seats in the same area, such as 3A+4A, 2J+3J or 4K+5K allows one passenger to turn back slightly for an easy chat above the seat's privacy shell.
If you get separated in the cabin, one member of the couple can always use the other's footrest as an ottoman to share a meal together or chit-chat, so keep that as your back-up plan.
Otherwise, avoid 1K, 2K, 3K: A crew rest facility in the ceiling above seats 1J, 2J and 3J means these travellers have no lockers of their own...
... and therefore place their luggage in the lockers above 1K, 2K and 3K. On overnight flights, these seats are best avoided by lighter sleepers as these centre passengers may disturb you when retrieving items from the lockers above your head.
Avoid 6K: This is another gamble: it's the second-most private seat in the cabin but suffers the same fate as 6A due to another baby bassinet directly behind that has the potential to disturb.
Some original material by David Flynn.
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