Air New Zealand launches in-flight putting competition

You might be able to sink a putt at your local muni course, but can you do it from 30,000 feet?

In a recent release by the New Zealand Herald passengers aboard the A320 airliner traveling between Auckland and Queenstown will have a chance to compete in an in-flight putting competition from the relative safety of cruising altitude. Part of a marketing arrangement to celebrate the airline’s sponsorship of the New Zealand PGA pro-am, the airline has lauded the contest as a world first for in-flight entertainment.

In order to take part in the contest and to be eligible for prizes (which include, amongst other things, flights and accommodation to the final round of the event and a new set of Callaway RAZR clubs), putters must fill out an entry form in the departure lounge and be randomly selected by Air New Zealand flight staff.

Winners of the contest will be notified by March 27. In the meantime, check out the leaderboard to see who has skillfully sunk the longest putt and perfectly played the lie of the high altitude turbulence.

Video of the day: Air New Zealand’s Economy Skycouch, sheep, and David Hasselhoff

A commercial for Air New Zealand’s Economy Skycouch might not be what you would expect in a Video of The Day post, but truly, these guys have outdone themselves on this one. Bound to be an internet hit, the airline is using the finest of all tools to promote their new comfy seating options: comedy. Air New Zealand has now launched a video series on YouTube starring a pair of inseparable sheep, Mason and Jason. But that’s not all. This quirky little ad features none other than Mr. David Hasselhoff riding a playground pony.

The product: a trio of seats forming an Economy couch. The news of these seats is actually kind of old (we covered it in January 2010), but the videos are new. These seats are, of course, a coveted resting post for bleary-eyed travelers and a loveseat for in-air lovebirds, but the question remains… does this or doesn’t this help expand the membership of the Mile High Club? (And how much does that even matter for this cozy tradeoff?).

Win trip for two in Air New Zealand Like Totally 80’s contest

Air New Zealand has never been afraid to show off its sense of humor. From matchmaking flights to cheeky commercials to risque in-flight safety videos, the Kiwi airline knows how to get attention. Now, however, we might actually benefit from their creativity with prizes that include a trip for two to New Zealand. They’re celebrating the decade of excess with their Like Totally 80’s contest on Facebook. To enter, you just need to upload a photo of yourself rocking some classic 80’s clothes. Too young to have owned your own acid-washed jeans? Well, hit up the vintage stores and take a picture of yourself just dressing the part. It’s a small price to pay for the chance to publicly humiliate yourself win a trip to one of the most beautiful places in the world.

The airline’s Facebook fans will vote for their favorite photos and the final 10 will be judged by a panel. The winner wins a trip for two to New Zealand. First runner-up will win an iPod compatible “boombox” while the second runner-up will score a case of Tab cola, the soda for beautiful people. Just last year I enjoyed some cold, “delicious” Tab with my Gadling buddy Scott Carmichael. My advice: Try not to come in third place in this contest.

Tomorrow is the deadline to enter Air New Zealand’s Like Totally 80’s contest, so act fast.

Would you turn a Skycouch into mile-high club membership?

Remember the Air New Zealand Skycouch? It’s a new seat that’s made the term “cuddle class” pretty popular, as it opens some great opportunities for passenger comfort and mile-high club membership. It’s a pretty exciting development in an industry that tends to invest little in customer comfort. The Skycouch makes it possible to turn three economy seats into something of a bed for two passengers.

For Air New Zealand, it’s pretty important to be at the leading edge when it comes to comfort, according to general manager Ed Sims. He said, “The majority of our long-haul flights are overnight and we fly on average 90 minutes longer than any other airline.”

So, here’s the big question: now that these seats are making it out into the market, would you use it to join the club? Leave a comment below to let us know your thoughts.

[photo by Deanster1983 via Flickr]

Air New Zealand debuts entirely redesigned 777

This morning Gadling is on the ground at King County International Airport (Boeing Field) as Boeing officially delivers Air New Zealand’s newest pride & joy, the completely redesigned 777-300ER.

Air New Zealand has been hard at work for nearly 4 years in an effort to reinvent their long-haul experience. Working with multiple design firms and a series of focus groups, the airline developed two entirely new styles of seats for their Economy and Premium Economy classes in addition to an array of brand-new features never before seen on a 777.

Economy class on the new craft features a design dubbed as the ‘Skycouch‘ (also known as Cuddle Class), with footrests that transform three-across seats into a lie-flat area for couples or families traveling with children.

The new Premium Economy features two types of hard shell designs; inboard seats geared towards couples and those looking to socialize, and outboard seats for individual passengers who prefer to have privacy. Every single seat on the plane has a standard power outlet, USB port, and an S-Video connector to display your personal media on the seat back’s touchscreen.


The airplane’s galleys are equipped with induction ovens; which will hopefully change the age-old notion of “airplane food” by cooking up steak, burgers, pizza, and proper Kiwi breakfasts on-demand via Panasonic’s custom In Flight Entertainment system.

Air New Zealand has also created in-flight experiences such as a children’s story-time in the rear galley, and a social galley in the front of the plane that will host wine tasting sessions with an Inflight Concierge.

In a time when most carriers are cutting corners and looking for ways to nickel and dime the passenger, it’s incredibly refreshing to see such forward-thinking features in every class of the cabin. And it’s already paying off for Air New Zealand; more than 30 airlines have expressed interest in licensing the new seat designs after an 18 month period of exclusivity for ANZ.

Check back for updates and full impressions as Gadling joins the inaugural flight of ZK-OKM to LAX and on to Auckland!