Airline Classes21 October 2012
Having taken several flights over the last month, I now have a good idea of what various classes on various aircraft feel like. In the past I have always flown economy class, but in more recent years the amount of space provided seems increasingly stingy. For my recent trip, given that I had the cash to do so, I decided to splash out. This is my overview of my experiences.
Airbus A380 (Singapore Business Class)I was specifically recommended going on the A380, which I did using Singepore Airlines, and to be honest at first I thought I had accidentally walked into first class. You basically get a sofa-bed, although personally I did not try folding it down into a bed, so there is enough width for a sumo-wrester. I did not bring a laptop, so was unable to see how good the internet connection (provided via an Ethernet port) is.
Airbus A330-300 (EVA Air Premium Economy)Expedia (the website I booked through) claimed this was to be premium economy, which I only chose because it was the only class available on the direct flight route I took, but from memory it did not seem any more spacious than the cattle class seats on EVA's A330-200. Only difference I can recall is the window seats being in pairs rather than triples, but unfortunately for some reason I did not photograph the seats. In any case the extreme Hello Kitty theme was not something I was ever likely going to enjoy:
ATR72 (Air NZ Cattle Class)This is one of the turboprop aircraft used for short hops on South Island. Very 1970's to 1980's feel, but it is definitely well within what I would consider cattle class. To be fair all flights under about 2-3 hours these days are entirely cattle class, most likely due to competition from private hire jets and helicopters..
Boeing 777-200 (Singapore Business Class)Since this was a connecting flight after coming off the Singapore Airlines A380 it felt disappointing at first, especially the amount of width available. However leg-room was a-plenty, and on the whole the flight was quite comfortable.
Boeing 737-300 (Air NZ Business Class)This was an Air New Zealand flight I was originally going to do in cattle class, but at the last moment decided that 11 hours was too long and needed to upgrade. Lots of leg-room, but like the 777, felt width was a bit of a pinch. Think having a TV on a stand rather than the seat in front is a bonus.
Boeing 777/200 (Air NZ Premium Economy)I had heard good things about the amount of leg-room Air New Zealand provides on its premium economy, which I immediately thought was generous. On the whole I felt that it was comparable to what Air New Zealand provided in business class on the 737, and even though seats are in triples rather than pairs, I did not feel squeezed. On this flight premium economy is in the same section as business class, so getting on/off was fairly quick, and I could see what seats Business Class had. They were lie-down type seats, but given that I tend not to sleep on flights, I did not feel like I was missing much.