Flight test: Air New Zealand 747 business premier

Aircraft Air New Zealand Boeing 747-400.

Route Auckland to Los Angeles.

Class Business, seat 18A.

Seat pitch and width 79½-inch pitch, 22 inches wide. Seats fold flat for sleeping.

Seat configuration A total 46 business-class seats: 10 upstairs, where it's a 1-1 configuration, and 36 downstairs, where it's 1-1 in first seven rows then 1-2-1.

Luggage allowance Two pieces of checked luggage with a combined weight of 64kg; one piece of cabin baggage up to seven kg.

Scheduled flight time 11 hours, 40 minutes.

On-time performance Just two minutes late on touchdown.

Lounge access Air New Zealand's Koru Lounge at Auckland Airport has a good selection of self-serve food and drinks, spacious seating areas, wireless internet and large, comfortable shower rooms.

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Aircraft condition Excellent.

Console/entertainment While not as user-friendly as some of the airline's other planes (there are no touch-screen controls, for example) the system has TV shows, games and 76 movies.

Comfort Being in the upper cabin means noise is at a minimum. The back of the seat folds over to join the ottoman, creating a comfortable flat bed. The herringbone layout faces passengers inwards on a 45-degree angle, and finding yourself looking at the passengers across the aisle takes some getting used to. The advantage of this layout is you aren't disturbed by people walking down the aisle.

Service Our host, EJ, introduces herself to all upper-deck passengers individually and is highly attentive throughout the flight.

Food and drink Eye fillet, salmon or roast chicken are the main-course options, following a spiced prawn appetiser. I choose the beef, which is reasonably good but a bit too saucy. Breakfast is excellent, with smoothies, fruit, cereal, bread, scrambled eggs, sausage, hotcakes and bacon rolls among the many choices. There are ''fast-dine'' options for dinner and breakfast for those seeking extra sleep.

Amenities Eye mask, socks, toothbrush and toothpaste, ear plugs, moisturiser and lip balm.

Flight frequency Air New Zealand flies Auckland to Los Angeles daily with connections from Sydney and Melbourne. Fare is $7300 (low-season return).

Online airnewzealand.com.au.

Tested by Craig Platt, who flew courtesy of Air New Zealand.

Traveller