Giddy-up! Air New Zealand is finally starting its long-haul nonstop flights between Auckland and New York JFK in September.
More than two years in the making, Air New Zealand is launching its long-awaited flights to New York in September. The globe-spanning flight was first touted in early 2020 with designs to begin in October that year, only for COVID-19 to derail it.
However, with New Zealand finally reopening for business, Air New Zealand declared on Tuesday that flights would begin later this year.
Air New Zealand CEO Greg Foran
The first flight to New York’s John F Kennedy Airport (JFK) will push back from Auckland International (AKL) on September 17. Operated by Air New Zealand’s flagship Boeing 787-9 aircraft, the 8,820 miles (14,194 kilometers) flight is not only the first direct passenger between the two cities; it is the first and only regular nonstop flight between any city in the Southwest Pacific and New York.
“We’ve worked hard over the last few years to make this ultra-long-haul service a reality – it’s one of the longest routes in the world,” told Air New Zealand CEO Greg Foran on Tuesday. “This latest route cements our commitment to developing growing tourism opportunities between the two countries.
“In the six years leading up to COVID, US tourist numbers to New Zealand doubled, and looking at the average spend in New Zealand by US visitors, we estimate that this new route would contribute an additional $65 million per year into the local economy. Traditionally, flight numbers 1 and 2 are operated for an airline’s flagship route. And that’s what New York will be – our flagship route.”
A minimum of sixteen hours in the air
After that inaugural September 17 flight, the schedule will settle into a three times weekly service from September 19. Leaving from Auckland at 19:40 every Monday, Thursday, and Saturday, due to the joy of timezones, NZ2 will land at JFK at 19:55 on the exact day.
But you’d be hungry if you waited to land to eat – flying time to New York is 16 hours and 15 minutes. Luckily, Air New Zealand provides every passenger on its long-haul flights.
Heading down to Auckland, NZ1 departs JFK at 21:55 every Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday from September 19. NZ1 comes at Auckland Airport two days later at 07:30 after 17 hours and 35 minutes in the air.
At JFK, Air New Zealand will fly in and out of Terminal 1 and use gates 4 – 10 – a brisk ten-minute stroll from security. Air New Zealand is yet to finalize lounge arrangements, but the airline is a completely paid-up Star Alliance member so there would be no shortage of choices.
Air New Zealand
Air New Zealand has two configurations across its 14 strong Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner fleet. Both configurations accommodate business, premium economy, and economy class passengers. However, the number of seats in each cabin class varies across the two configurations.
Air New Zealand’s 787-9 business class cabin is a comfortable but polarizing way to fly. The seats, which all have direct aisle access, are angle away from the windows and are not private. On the plus side, Air New Zealand is overhauling its Dreamliner business class product over the next few years.
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But Air New Zealand’s long-haul premium economy and economy class cabins are well regarded. Especially handy on long-haul flights like the AKL-JFK service is Air New Zealand’s sky couch economy class product, which the airline will offer on this route. Book an economy class sky couch, and a passenger will have an entire bank of seats to themselves – it’s a lie-flat in the economy and a good way to fly long-haul.
With Qantas yet to declare a resumption of their service to New York (although today’s Air New Zealand information may put a rocket under the Australian airline), NZ1 and NZ2 will be the easiest way to hop between New York and Australia.
Air New Zealand usually does good business transiting passengers through AKL to or from Australia. Air New Zealand’s New York flights will tap into that market very well.
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