Why Air New Zealand’s New York route is a game changer for Australians
Anything that keeps travellers out of LAX is a good thing.
Air New Zealand today announced plans to introduce an Auckland-New York (Newark) direct service from October 2020.
The thrice-weekly service will offer 225 seats on a Boeing Dreamliner 787-9. At the same time, Air New Zealand will drop its Los Angeles-London flights.
That's a big change for New Zealanders, and it's also a big opportunity for Aussie travellers heading to the Big Apple.
Right now, arguably the best way to fly between Australia and New York is on Qantas's daily QF11/QF12 service, which operates Sydney-Los Angeles-New York.
The key upside is that you can stay on Qantas metal the whole way, rather than having to travel with US domestic airlines, which are less generous with meals, facilities and luggage allowances.
The big downside, though, is that you still have to grapple with the horror of LAX in Los Angeles, which will never be anyone's pick for favourite airport.
Air New Zealand's new flight opens up the possibility of flying Sydney-Auckland-New York. There's still a stopover, but you won't have to clear New Zealand customs at all and you won't have to clear US immigration and customs until New York.
Flights from Oceania to New York are becoming increasingly competitive.
Qantas has been scoring lots of publicity in recent weeks with its Project Sunrise experimental flights, testing the feasibility of flying direct from Australia to either New York or London.
Last week, a 19-hour test flight was run to assess how passengers and crew would cope with such massively long flights.
Air New Zealand's proposed flight isn't quite that long, taking 15 hours and 40 minutes from Auckland to New York and 17 hours and 40 minutes on the return leg. Though this does still make it longer than Qantas's soon-to-launch Brisbane-Chicago service.
Obviously, dedicated Qantas Frequent Flyers will be likely to stick with Qantas's flights to maximise their points and status credits. However, for Star Alliance members, the Air New Zealand offering creates lots of new points possibilities flying to the US.
Angus Kidman's Findings column looks at new developments and research that help you save money, make wise decisions and enjoy your life more. It appears regularly on Finder.