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New Zealand is one of the most beautiful countries I’ve visited but when it comes to getting there on miles and points, it’s one of the most difficult places to reach. I usually advise people to not rely on nonstop flights to get to New Zealand since there are so few offered but that trend is starting to change a bit. United/Air New Zealand just announced that Air New Zealand will begin nonstop flights 3X weekly between Auckland (AKL) and Chicago (ORD) beginning Nov. 30, 2018.
US Nonstop flights to New Zealand
The US currently only has limited nonstop options to New Zealand:
- SFO-AKL: United and Air New Zealand
- LAX-AKL: American and Air New Zealand
- IAH-AKL: Air New Zealand
The new nonstop between New Zealand and Chicago will be a 15 hour and 5 min flight from AKL to ORD and a 16 hour and 20 min flight down to New Zealand. The total flight distance will be 8,184 miles, which is definitely an ultra long haul flight but surprisingly not even close the longest flight in the world, as Auckland-Doha comes in at 17:40 to 18:20 hours!
Now that the Midwest will have service at a hub airport in Chicago, this will make connecting from eastern regions of the US a lot easier.
The new Air Zealand route will be serviced by their Dreamliner. Air New Zealand’s Dreamliner has a herringbone configuration which is very similar (if not the same) as what Virgin Atlantic has in its Dreamliner. I’m personally not a fan of this configuration at all since there is little to no storage/counter space and you’re not facing the windows. However, I was very impressed by the Air New Zealand check-in experience and lounge at AKL.
I recently booked a flight with Air New Zealand on their Dreamliner (787-9) but due to engine issues our aircraft was swapped for an old A340. I technically received an upgrade since my Air New Zealand business ticket was bumped to first class on that A340 but the product was way outdated and I ended up being moved to business class since my seat wouldn’t work!
Anyway, it’s great to see more nonstop flights to New Zealand, as United also announced that beginning in April 2019, they will operate year-round flights between SFO and AKL so again we might see inventory get a little better on awards down to the land of the Kiwis.
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Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and creator of the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned full-time credit card rewards/travel expert and has earned and redeemed millions of miles to travel the globe. His content has been featured in major publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, US News, and Business Insider. Find his full bio here.