Flight test: Air New Zealand economy class

Aircraft Air New Zealand A320-200.

Route Sydney to Rotorua.

Class and seat Economy, seat 9D.

Seat pitch and width 9D is in one of the nine rows of "Seat+" space (reserved for gold frequent flyers), which has a generous 35-inch pitch; otherwise economy has a fairly standard 30 inches.

Seat configuration 3-3.

Luggage allowance 23 kilograms; one carry-on item under seven kilograms.

Scheduled flight time 3 hours 15 minutes.

On-time performance Slightly late out of the gate but nothing a tail-wind can't fix. We touch down seven minutes early.

Aircraft condition Upholstery getting a little tired in the five-year-old aircraft but nothing to mar a fresh and airy space.

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Console/entertainment All quiet in the cheap seats courtesy of the on-demand system with touch-screen console. There are 30 movies, dozens of TV shows, 230 CDs, 20 games and even a bunch of talking books. If you haven't figured it out, the demonstrators in the inflight safety video are naked save for body paint — ensuring that passengers do indeed pay attention.

Comfort Configurations these days make economy flying pretty brutal, especially for bigger passengers, but the Seat+ rows are roomier than most with a four-inch recline. The folk behind get a trifling two-inch tilt which is so slim as to barely register.

Service Unusually for Kiwi staff, the crew are on the perfunctory side of personable.

Food and beverage Breakfast was pared back to a bacon and egg tartlet, "fruit salad" (actually diced melon) and a muffin (sans butter); underwhelming, frankly, though there is plenty of complimentary booze for those preferring the breakfast of champions.

Flight frequency Twice weekly ($259 one way).

Online airnewzealand.com.au.

Tested by Max Anderson, who travelled courtesy of Black Communications.

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