Premium Economy Waste of Money
I have flown Air New Zealand multiple times in the past year, in fact, I've just earned Silver status and am quickly on my way to gold status with this airline. You would think the problems regarding the true, factual experiences of a more valued customer would be heeded, but this is not the case. Without whining about the details, a brief summary of the factual events are below. I am happy to discuss in greater detail, and am willing to provide details to journalists who need evidence to write articles about either Air New Zealand, or its Premium Economy class of service.
1) Tried to charge me a US$150 change fee to upgrade from regular Economy to Premium Economy, when the fare terms state that this fee was to be waived when upgrading to a higher class of service. Had to argue with customer service agent for 45 minutes until he finally logged in as me on my online profile and saw that I was right. I did purchase Premium Economy service at an extra cost of US$903 for an Auckland-San Francisco segment.
2) One of the reasons I upgraded was supposedly power ports in "most of the seats". I was told by the gate agent that no power ports existed in the Premium Economy cabin on this flight. Writing Air NZ customer service later, they now argue that this was not the case (essentially calling me a liar). This is in direct contradiction to the onboard power ports advertised on their website (ask me for a print-out of the airline's website page)
3) The food, which was supposed to be the same as business class, was disgusting (in particular, a fish dish). The food in regular Economy cabin has always been much better.
4) Due to the change in daylight savings time, the crew got our arrival time wrong and therefore only Business Class passengers got breakfast. All other passengers were not offered any meal service whatsoever. This seems odd to me - why would business class passengers be served an hour earlier than regular passengers? This sounds calculated to me.
5) Bags of Premium Economy and Business Class passengers were supposed to be delivered at the same time - earlier than regular economy passengers. Mine were delivered a full THIRTY Minutes after the other premium economy/business class passengers. Huge waste of my time.
In summary, Air New Zealand's "Pacific Premium Economy" service means a premium profit for the airline. True, you get more leg room, a cheap amenity kit, and nicer headphones, but these are small wins in the face of the other shortcomings. Most importantly, and disappointingly, my follow-ups have been completely disregarded by the company. I receive lip service but the airline will not stand by its mistakes. I cannot recommend Premium Economy on Air New Zealand. It was a complete waste of my money. I will also be trying the nonstop Auckland-Los Angeles service on Qantas Airlines in the future. Perhaps they will value my business more.
To the airline's credit, I have no issue with the flight attendants. The inflight service was very good. However, it was the airline's complete post-flight washing its hands of responsibility that have irrevocably disappointed me, and which are the impetus for my crusade to share the truth with other passengers who regularly fly between the US and New Zealand.