Why you'll want the middle seat on the new Air NZ plane

travel 22/11/2018

Air New Zealand's new kid on the block, the A321neo, is just days away from operating its first commercial flight.

The aircraft is larger than Air NZ's current A320 fleet, which will slowly be phased out and replaced by new A320/A321neo aircraft from Airbus over the next six years.

Getting the middle seat won't be as upsetting as it is in other planes, as the new seat design adds an extra 3cm of width to the centre seat in each row. The two other seats have an extra 1cm, compared to current A320 seats.

The slim-line seats provide seven percent extra usable space between the rows, and the international version of the A321s will be fitted with new personal Android inflight entertainment systems.

"This aircraft is designed for the Trans-Tasman and Pacific routes, so they're set up for a three to five hour stage time. The domestic aircraft will be configured differently in terms of the inflight entertainment," said Cam Wallace of Air NZ.

One of the more obvious differences in the new aircraft is the toilet halfway down the cabin, which has a seat right across the aisle from it. The extra toilet is needed due to the increase in the number of passengers onboard.

However, Wallace says people are using aircraft toilets less.

"One of the big differences we've seen since we've had inflight entertainment on every seat is that is that passengers use the toilets less because they're more fixated with the entertainment," he said.

Take a tour onboard the new aircraft in this video.