I had the chance to see Air New Zealand's new Economy and Premium Economy Class product on their 777-300ER to Auckland from San Francisco today. The airline is planning to upgrade the route to two daily (evening) departures from San Francisco.
The Premium Economy product looks like a full-fledged Business Class seat. Alas, it does not really recline much or go lie-flat. The service is the same as in Business Class, though. The seat pitch is 42 inches for this one. Certainly the best Premium Economy product I have seen.
The company is also pitching the Skycouch – a unique product that blocks the middle seat and allows two adults to 'stretch out'.
Air New Zealand always had a thing for quirky seating. Both options can only be booked on their website.
I still think it is a better deal to get the Chase Ink Plus with a 70,000 sign-up bonus and be just 10,000 miles short of a 'free flight' to New Zealand. Granted, it is REALLY hard to find any availability with Air New Zealand so you may have to go through Asia or Australia first (seriously no fun in economy).