Air New Zealand PVG-AKL: The Black Mamba

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The Air New Zealand Shanghai Auckland Business Class Flight Review is part of the Tahiti Triumph Trip Report. It covers the following cities:

See the Picture Preview here and see how this $60,000 trip cost $1999 here. Be sure to check out TPOL’s Map, the best feature of the blog.


You’re in for a treat on this flight. I skipped writing another review on the Air China Business Class Lounge Shanghai because it was just as I left it, full of patrons peddling for pasta. Instead, I’m going to focus on the sleekest airplane I’ve ever flown, the Air New Zealand Black Mamba.

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The livery is a bold departure from the usual.

The Intro 

It’s very difficult to find a direct flight on Air New Zealand in business from PVG-AKL. In fact, my flight was supposed to go PVG-NRT-AKL with the latter leg on the Dreamliner. With predictable delays in Shanghai, the airline switched us to the direct route upon checking in. That was very nice of them. Otherwise we probably would have missed our connection to AKL.

The Black Mamba
The Dreamliner Black Mamba

The Cabin 

After experiences Emirates First to Dubai then to Shanghai, it should come as no surprise that I was disappointed with the layout of the business class cabin. Of course it is unfair to compare business to first, let alone, Emirates to Air New Zealand. Still, saying that the cabin was crammed is not an exaggeration.

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Hope your neighbor is friendly
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Air NZ Business Class
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A useless window
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Kia ora: The screen is small but it’s fine because of its proximity to the passenger.
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Close quarters
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The business class seat

The Service 

The service was peculiar. In some airlines like Cathay Pacific, the flight attendants have a sixth sense for knowing what passengers need. Without having to ask, the champagne is replenished or some ice cream is served. On Air New Zealand, the crew were friendly enough but I definitely had to hit the ding button more times than I am comfortable doing to get a refill. Since the passengers are in close quarters, it was impossible not to notice what your neighbor ordered. Like waiting for an entrée at a restaurant, I became jealous of what the guy next to me was being served. What followed was the domino effect of me requesting the same thing which was followed by the person next to me doing the same. It was pretty comical.

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Tradition

The Amenities Kit 

The socks were the best. There were no pajamas offered which was surprising but I didn’t need pajamas when I had these baller socks. The rest of the amenities were lame.

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The amenities kit
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That’s it
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Everyone sporting their socks

The Entertainment 

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air is one of my favorite shows. Watching Geoffrey Butler be Geoffrey while I was way up in the sky was just great. Another entertainment offering was the ability to chat with other passengers. After copying my neighbor’s Irish coffee order, I sent him a quick message saying cheers! #notcreepy

Yo homes smell ya later
Yo homes smell ya later
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Don’t be shy, chat with your neighbor

The Wine 

New Zealand is famous for its pinot noir and sauvignon blanc. Air New Zealand’s menu does not tell you what kind of wine is served. Instead it uselessly plugs some wine experts in the description.

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The wine ‘list’
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Great red and appetizer

After sampling what they had on board, I agree with the experts’ assessments but can’t understand the usefulness of putting it on a menu.

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The red

The Burger 

The burger was so fantastic, it deserves its own heading. It may seem unorthodox for an airline to offer a burger in business class but how many times can someone eat a steak in the sky before admitting that it is not as good as on the ground. The same cannot be said of this burger. It was first-class all the way. I actually wanted to order another and was quite happy when another passenger let me finish hers.

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Excellent!
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Look familiar?

The Food 

The dessert was yummy and the eggs were on par with the burger.

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Ice cream
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Eggs
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Pancakes

The Bed 

Oh so comfortable. Sure we were squished together in the business class cabin but once the bed was made I was in my own heaven. The duvet was very soft and I fell asleep almost instantly.

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Time to rest
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The bed

Overall 

I know I pointed out some quirks about this Air New Zealand flight but overall it was excellent. It is different from any other business class product that I have experienced and I felt very lucky to enjoy more uninterrupted hours in the sky by flying direct.

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