The best seats in business on Air New Zealand's Boeing 777-300ER

By John Walton, August 11 2011
The best seats in business on Air New Zealand's Boeing 777-300ER

Flying in the Business Premier business class on Air New Zealand's Boeing 777-300ER from Auckland to Los Angeles or London?

Here's our guide to help you pick the very best seat on the plane -- and how to avoid being kept up all night by babies and lights shining in your eyes.

The plane

Air New Zealand flies the Boeing 777-300ER on its flagship route: Auckland to London via Los Angeles. The plane is sometimes seen in Australia when trans-Tasman demand spikes upwards -- expect to see it during the Rugby World Cup, for example.

Australian Business Traveller was among the first to bring you insider shots of Air New Zealand's new plane when it was on the ground in NZ. (Check out our rundown of what's new in business class on the big jet.)

Business Premier is split between a seven-row forward cabin and a four-row rear cabin.

Here's the front cabin, looking forwards.
Here's the front cabin, looking forwards.

There's an exit door and bar between the two, and Premium Economy is immediately behind the final row of Business Premier.

The Business Premier cabin

Air New Zealand's updated and remodeled Business Premier seats are among the best business class offerings in the sky for long-haul flights.

We reckon you'll agree that the updated seats look much more attractive.
We reckon you'll agree that the updated seats look much more attractive.

The 1-2-1 layout in angled herringbone style means that nobody's climbing over you in the middle of the night, and that half the cabin has a window seat. And since there's no first class on Air NZ, you're getting the best food, wine and Kiwi service that the airline has to offer.

The seat folds over forwards to become the bed, so the back side of the seat is padded.

A comfortable, thick foam mattress is also provided, which is probably the greatest improvement on the previous generation of Business Premier.

(If that description sounds like Virgin Atlantic's Upper Class, that's because it is -- Air New Zealand licenced the concept for their first Business Premier cabin, and have improved upon it in the new planes with extra padding and a more chic cream and purple ink cabin.)

On the downside, some people aren't fans of travelling at an angle (not that it's really noticeable when you're in motion) and the "seated" mode of the seat isn't especially adjustable.

The best seats on the plane

3A 3K 2A 2K 4A 4K: in that order. These seats are window seats in the middle of the forward cabin, which is quieter, further away from noise from Premium Economy and the lavatories, and doesn't have baby bassinets to potentially disturb you. Don't pick row 1, though: the galley kitchen and lavatories tend to be a bit of a gathering point.

3B 3J 2B 2J 4B 4J: much as above, these are excellent seats but don't have the option of looking out the window, if that's important to you. You're also slightly more likely to be disturbed if the person sleeping on the other side of the thin divider is noisy or bangs into it during the middle of the night.

One final frequent flyer tip from our experience: if you're connecting all the way through to London, consider booking seats on the opposite side of the cabin for each leg (so, 3A for one leg and 3K for the other). Changing the angle at which you're sitting, working, eating, watching TV or sleeping is a big plus on a 26-hour flight. 

The worst seats on the plane

Row 12: immediately in front of Premium Economy, you're likely to be disturbed by the noise and by the baby bassinets at the front row of the class behind.

Row 9: the Business Premier baby bassinets are in front of seats 9A and 9K, and the lavatories are immediately in front of that -- with the mingling stand-up bar area in front of them. So you're likely to be disturbed in these rows.

Rows 10 and 11: while only 10B and 10J are seriously bad (close to the babies in row 9 and, because the seats aren't immediately opposite each other, right next to the row 9 lavatories), avoid the rest of the back cabin too.

...and dozens more!

John Walton

Aviation journalist and travel columnist John took his first long-haul flight when he was eight weeks old and hasn't looked back since. Well, except when facing rearwards in business class.

10 Mar 2011

Total posts 526

The Air New Zealand business class is not bad... but the herringbone design is not that great... especially when compared to the new Cathay Pacific reverse herringbone seats. Also, it's annoying to have to get up to put the seat down (like it is on the Singapore Airlines business seats) rather than to just lower yourself into that position. The flight I flew on showed the white leather to be grubby as well... So I can't say I'm a fan.

28 Dec 2011

Total posts 3

I love this layout. I have flown this on NZ and AC and I think its great.


Qantas P1

18 Jan 2012

Total posts 73

I disagree with these "best seats". I've flown a lot on this a/c. And 7A and K are by far the best seats. They are extremely private given the B and J seats are further forward. 

03 Jan 2011

Total posts 665

Thanks for your thoughts, htc! You're right that 7AK are great for privacy, but I've heard reports of noise from the bar for those seats, which is why they didn't make the cut. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on that -- and of course any experiences from other passing readers too!


Qantas P1

18 Jan 2012

Total posts 73

I actually thought they were quite easily the best seats on the plane. They are set back and see private. In short, NZ's J product is superior to many and any seat in J is good. The bed is IMO best in class (and very comparable to many airlines F). This is the new 777 product.

05 Apr 2016

Total posts 1

I completely agree with this. 

After reading teh forum I gave it a go. By far 7A/7K is the best.No noise... very private... the extra coverage with the bulkhead there too. 


Easy access off the plane there too.

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