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Air NZ finds a way to make the ‘middle seat’ attractive

June 6, 2019 Headline News No Comments

Air New Zealand says it is getting “tremendous customer feedback” from travellers who have flown the Tasman in its new A321neo planes – and the airline has found a way of making the “middle seat” in economy desirable.

Air New Zealand’s senior manager distribution, Blair Catton, said the A321neo had better in-flight entertainment and free Wi-Fi, which went down well with customers.

Then there’s the “middle seat” in a row of three seats – customarily the one that passengers try to avoid, preferring either aisle or window seats.

Air New Zealand A321neo

Air New Zealand has made this more attractive for passengers simply by making it wider than the seats alongside it, Catton told the CINZ MEETINGS conference in Auckland.

Seats on the A321neo, made by British firm Acro, feature an extra 1.5 inches (3.8cm) of width for the middle seat, compared to its neighbours. Choose the middle seat and you get that little extra bit of space! That’s important, given that the A321neo configuration is all-economy, 3×3 layout with the x being the aisle.

Air New Zealand still operates A320s on the Tasman and the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. It is also receiving A320neos for deployment on the route.

Seats on the Air New Zealand A321neo

On other routes, Catton said Air New Zealand was increasing capacity by 20% on the Auckland/Chicago route, operated by 787-9 Dreamliners fitted with the Economy Skycouch, luxury leather Premium Economy seats and lie-flat beds in Business Premier.

In the domestic arena, Catton said bookings on the airline’s new Auckland-Invercargill route, scheduled to start at the end of August, are looking “very positive”. Air New Zealand will kick off the first-ever direct scheduled service between Invercargill and Auckland, its longest domestic flight, from 25 August 2019.

The airline will operate the direct flight five times a week using its Airbus A320 aircraft.

The two-hour non-stop leg between Auckland and Invercargill covers 1174 kilometres,  about 180km shorter than Melbourne-Brisbane.

Written by Peter Needham in Auckland, New Zealand

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