Air New Zealand Dreamliner in flight

A bucket-list destination for many travelers, New Zealand is a country full of breathtaking scenery and heart-pumping outdoor adventures—and getting there has never been easier. Air New Zealand, the flag carrier airline of the islands, seems to have one goal in mind—ensuring your vacation begins and ends in style, comfort and luxury. After recently flying with the airline, I discovered they do not, in any way, fall short of this goal.

For me, the journey began in Los Angeles. With a business class ticket in hand, I was able to head to a separate—and shorter—check-in line, where friendly faces greeted me, handled my luggage and directed me to the Star Alliance Lounge. Yes, business class grants you access to the lounge and I highly recommend it. Peaceful, quiet and stocked full of food and drinks, it was the perfect place to unwind before the long 13-hour flight ahead of me.

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Once onboard, the Business Premier cabin was everything I had hoped for. Large overhead bins provided more than enough space to stow away my two allotted carry-on bags, a leather armchair that converted to a lie-flat bed allowed me to rest in comfort and the pull-out tv in my individual pod gave me access to more in-flight entertainment than I even had time for.

After I found my seat, I was immediately offered a complimentary drink before my flight. Once we were in the air, another round of beverages was handed out. On my footrest was a menu for my in-flight meal. Air New Zealand likes to keep it traditional and offer popular appetizers and entrees the country is known for—like char-siu duck, for example. No matter which direction you go, I promise it will be the best airplane food you’ve ever had.

Also on my footrest was a complimentary bottle of water and travel bag full of deluxe toiletries like a toothbrush and toothpaste, mouthwash, hand cream, lip balm, earplugs, an eye mask and a pair of socks. It’s the little things you didn’t realize you needed that make all the difference in your experience.

In-flight entertainment was made easy thanks to the noise-canceling headphones waiting for me at my seat. On-demand offerings included a wide range of recent blockbuster movies, my favorite tv shows and a CD collection of some of the best music. If you’re traveling with younger ones, there’s a dedicated section just for them with more than enough content to keep them occupied the entire flight.

Lie-flat bed in Air New Zealand's business class cabin

Once the evening turned to night, the flight attendant asked me If I’d like her to make up my bed. After washing my face and brushing my teeth in one of the two—yes, two—bathrooms reserved strictly for business class passengers, I returned to my seat to find it made into a luxurious 6-foot-plus bed, complete with a memory foam mattress, two full-sized pillows and a warm and cozy duvet. I’ve never been one to comfortably, if at all, sleep on a plane, and I surprisingly got a good 7 hours of restful sleep that night.

When the morning hit, I was offered a delicious smoothie to start my day, followed by a coffee and breakfast that included items ranging anywhere from hotcakes to cereal to bagels. The hotcakes were absolutely delicious, perfectly fluffy and warm, which wasn’t expected onboard an aircraft.

Business Premier cabin onboard an Air New Zealand Dreamliner

Before I had time to remember I was even on a plane, the flight was over. The journey of getting there was an experience unto itself. The friendly, attentive and engaging staff were what really set the airline apart from the others. Top-notch service really made me feel important and cared about.

Air New Zealand is doing definitely doing it right. Your adventure starts as soon as you board that plane and your experience can make or break how your vacation begins. If you’re looking for luxury, ultimate comfort and exceptional care, Air New Zealand is the only way to go when you’re finally crossing this beautiful destination off of your bucket list.