Air New Zealand is in the midst of refurbishing its Boeing 777-200ER fleet, and is showcasing the planesâ€™ new Premium Economy and Economy Skycouch seats during a North American â€œPleased to Seat Youâ€ tour.
The seats are on display in a 26 foot, 5 ton, glass-walled truck that will cover more than 7,000 miles, giving the public a chance to see and sit in the -200â€™s new seats. The airline introduced the innovative Skycouch in its Boeing 777-300s â€“ the footrest in a row of three seats can be positioned at the same height as the seat cushions, giving a flexible space for passengers.
With the update of the -200s, all of the long-haul aircraft in Air New Zealandâ€™s fleet will include the Skycouch, along with the new Premium Economy seats also found in its Boeing 787-9s.
This isnâ€™t the first time Air New Zealand has given potential passengers the opportunity to put their butt in a seat, according to Chris Allison, Manager, Sales and Market Development for Canada.
â€œA similar truck was in Los Angeles and San Francisco last year, but this is the first time for Canada, where weâ€™ve see tourism demand to New Zealand growing between 5% and 6% annually,â€ he said. Vancouver is the airlineâ€™s Canadian gateway, where the newly-refurbished 777s will begin service at the end of October.
Currently with US-originating flights from SFO and LAX, Air New Zealand will begin flights to Houston on December 15. Allison says that â€œthe Houston service will be between 13.5 and 14 hours, and will be the longest flight in the network.â€ He explained that Houston will be an ideal connection point for US East Coast passengers, with a shorter first flight from their originating airport than to LAX or SFO.
After visiting Vancouver and Victoria BC, the tour will travel to Toronto, Manhattan, Washington, Dallas, and Austin, before finishing up in Houston in mid-October. With glass walls, the truck will no doubt turn a few heads on the roads!