Aoraki / Mount Cook surrounded by mountains

Airlines add new routes all the time and as you may suspect, most aren’t very exciting or newsworthy. Air New Zealand is however expanding their US reach, with a new direct flight between Auckland and Chicago and it’s very exciting. Even if you don’t live in New Zealand or Chicago, the flight brings a lot of new possibilities to a US market desperate for more direct flights to the South Pacific. Here’s why you should get excited…

a road with trees and mountains in the backgroundLess Transit

East Coast passengers en route to Australia or New Zealand are accustomed to the 5+ hour journey to California to connect onto their 12+ hour journey onward to the South Pacific. As if 12 hours on a plane isn’t grueling enough, the extra five just to get there certainly were. This new flight will put many US cities within an hours connection of a direct flight to New Zealand.

More Points

Air New Zealand is one of the most sought after ways to spend Virgin Atlantic, United and other points currencies. Without many flights, the competition made things extremely tenuous. But with the addition of a new Chicago flight, there will be increased chance to redeem points for a comfy ride between New Zealand and Chicago.

Less Jet Lag

The choices you make before and during the flight will contribute to your eventual jet lag, but Air New Zealand will fly new Boeing 787 Dreamliners on this new route, which are known to help passengers reduce the effects of jet lag. Improved cabin pressure, humidity and space make these planes a very cozy way to fly – in any cabin. These planes even feature the much sought after SkyCouch setup in economy, pictured below.

a seat in an airplaneMore Competition

The more airlines compete, the more passengers benefit from low fares. With more routes, more seats and new airline competition we can expect to see increasingly exciting flash sales to New Zealand and Australia. It’s no secret that Qantas is interested in launching direct flights to New York. Tickets have historically been over $1000 for round trip economy, but we could easily see $700 becoming the new “norm”.

Exciting Details

The new flight will launch November 30th, 2018. Air New Zealand partner United Airlines will also make their San Francisco to Auckland flight a year round service, rather than just seasonal. The flight will be the longest flight in the Air New Zealand network, with at least 15 hours of flight time.

Will you seek out this new option to New Zealand?

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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  1. I think the idea is great, but Air New Zealand has a reputation for not releasing Business Class award space for two passengers, particularly to partners. This strongly mitigates the value of the new flight.

  2. I live in Chicago, so this is great. But if I had to connect from the east coast, I’d much rather do flights of 5 and 12 hours than say 2 and 15.

  3. What’s the best vlaue using points/miles to get there? I’ve got lots of Amx Membership rewards points and quite a few URs points.

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