Business Class Review: British Airways & Air New Zealand
Over the last 6 months we have been travelling the world, researching for Travelling Divas’ 2016 tours, plus exploring new destinations and working on other business projects. It has been a fantastic experience and really shows how life is so much more mobile now, with our office being on our laptops and being able to work from anywhere in the world.
Luxury travel is what we do and we decided to check out a few business class products to share our experiences on these airlines. Whether you are travelling for work or a holiday, if you do travel business class it should be a pleasurable experience and it should help you to hit the ground running and maximise your time, particularly when you are flying 24 hours+ to get to your destination.
So here is a Travelling Diva’s review of British Airways and Air New Zealand.
British Airways (BA) Club World
I worked for BA for 13 years, so to say I have a soft spot for them plus huge loyalty is no exaggeration. I hadn’t flown them long haul in Club World for over 10 years and was really excited to be flying them from Sydney to Singapore, the first part of our journey.
It was quite a shock to the system when BA tried to charge us for seat selection on a business class airfare prior to travel. We declined this option, deciding to chance it at check-in and fortunately it was all good.
On arrival into Sydney, we headed to the Qantas lounge. This is an excellent space to sit and relax before a flight, with lots of light and room, never feeling over-crowded. I had also left my sunglasses in the lounge in Brisbane and the attendant at the desk sorted that for me with a big smile and a lot of help. This was a great way to start our journey and it did heighten our sense of anticipation for our trip.
We then went to the departure gate to board our flight where boarding was an absolute shambles. There were only Qantas staff to board the flight and the priority access for business class was a free for all. I know that within an alliance it is common practice to have a partner airline manage your ground handling, but it is essential that they care for your customers throughout, and this was not the case. The operating carrier needs to have someone at the gate to ensure their standards are being met.
The product on board was tired and out of date and the configuration didn’t work, with space available for storage within the aisle seat area non-existent. The only saving grace was the crew who were making the best of a poor product, and the food was quite good.
Having witnessed the high points of BA as a premium product provider, I was really saddened by this experience and we will probably not fly them again. I do hear that their long haul product from London to other destinations is excellent but I doubt that we will chance it again when airfares in business class are such an investment.
Air New Zealand (NZ)
This flight experience was exceptional. I have only ever flown economy on NZ so had no expectation (maybe that is a good thing) about flying with them.
Checking in at Tom Bradley Airport in LA was also a pleasure, as it has now been completely renovated and therefore it is a much nicer beginning to your flight. It is now slick and contemporary versus the horrible, dingy space that it used to be. Once through customs the shopping is also great with a good selection of brands to hunt through whilst waiting for your flight!
The NZ lounge is very good, and a great space to hang out and not do too much before your flight, with a good selection of drinks and snacks – all that you need really.
We boarded the aircraft and it is here that this product truly excels. The crew onboarding were attentive and friendly, showing us to our seats, offering a drink and it was a very warm welcome. I had a really bad sinus infection and the crew were outstanding in terms of care and attention, making sure that I had everything I needed to try and ensure my eardrums didn’t pop (thank you) and then checking on me as soon as the seat belt sign went off. This care continued throughout both of our flights on NZ.
The food was excellent and well presented and this applied to the beginning of the flight and also the meal at the end of the flight from LA to Auckland (when food is usually a tad rubbery). We were shown how to use our seats properly, even had our bed made for us (sweet). The beds were comfortable and flat – which is all that matters!
I guess the overall difference between the two was that we felt NZ really cared about their customers and made us feel we were the priority. BA didn’t leave us with that feeling at any time, or a sense that we would want to fly with them again. So now we are members of both Star Alliance and OneWorld, meaning split loyalties. Something no airline wants in these increasingly competitive times.
I hope this helps and please let me know about your experiences regarding airlines as well – it is always great to share them with other Divas!
Have a great week and chat soon.