Mud off your passport and pack your finest pair of over-ear headphones, as a result of a brand new extremely long-haul route is right here — and it’s good for many who can not stand a layover at LAX.
As one of many longest flights provided on the planet, Aussies will now be capable of jet throughout the Tasman to Auckland earlier than boarding a direct flight to New York Metropolis – a route utterly bypassing the chaos usually encountered on the West Coast of the US.
Air New Zealand’s 16-hour outbound journey, and virtually 18-hour return jaunt, is among the rising variety of ultra-long haul flights being rolled out around the globe.
The flight is now one of many best methods for east coast Aussies to get to the east coast of the US, with flight instances to Auckland from Brisbane and Sydney sitting at round three hours a method. Add on the brand new 17-hour flight to New York’s JFK Airport means you’ll spend round 20 hours within the air.
“It’s actually vital and one thing that’s been within the making for 4 years, the airline’s CEO Greg Foran mentioned forward of the primary flight from the departure gate in Auckland.
“The US is the third largest marketplace for us [New Zealand], it’s price a billion or a billion and a half incoming into New Zealand. This flight alone based mostly on the restricted schedule of three flights every week will generate $65 million to the New Zealand financial system so it’s a very massive deal.”
Formally taking off on September 17, the brand new route for New Zealand’s nationwide provider is a cheeky win over rival airline Qantas — which gained’t be launching the identical route between the capital metropolis and JFK till June subsequent 12 months.
Talking of the latest choice to imitate Air New Zealand’s launch, Mr Foran mentioned he wasn’t stunned by the rival airline’s choice to leap on the identical route.
“I’m not stunned by Qantas,” he laughed.
“Why wouldn’t they? Sooner or later below their Undertaking Dawn they want to have the ability to go direct, they simply don’t have the steel to have the ability to try this at this stage … They don’t even have a airplane at this stage that may do the space.
“So making an attempt to set one thing up is one thing that is smart. We compete with them in virtually each route so, welcome them on. Competitors is nice, and we are going to give them a great wave after we move them within the skies.”
What’s the Auckland—New York flight like?
The Air New Zealand flights will function thrice every week on a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner plane.
The journey is lengthy, particularly for these sitting in direction of the again of the airplane. Fortunately for me, I used to be in a position to expertise all of the wonders in direction of the entrance finish of the plane — being the airline’s award-winning long-haul Enterprise Premier providing.
With a flat-lay mattress and virtually something you need on faucet (particularly when you love a pinot noir), it’s clearly the easiest way to endure the prolonged journey in a single go.
However in financial system, regardless of the size of the journey and the shortage of legroom — passengers mentioned the journey flew by, actually.
“It has been extremely lengthy … I don’t assume after we signed up for 16-plus hours something can fairly put together you for it,” financial system passenger Rangiora laughed, who deliberate on spending two weeks in Huge Apple.
“It’s been surprisingly not too unhealthy in any respect although. I believe we would have some early onset jet lag happening proper now, but it surely’s been actually good. Little bit of sleep and an extreme quantity of flicks alongside the best way … however I’d do it once more in a heartbeat.
“To have the ability to go to New York straight is great.”
The brand new route is among the longest on the planet and Air New Zealand has been working to improve its cabin service so passengers aren’t struggling all through the prolonged journey.
On the preliminary announcement of the route, Mr Foran mentioned the cabin will present consolation for all travellers in every cabin class.
“Prospects have the selection to both join straight onto their New York flight or arrive a number of days early and discover the whole lot Auckland has to supply,” Mr Foran mentioned earlier this 12 months.
“We’ve labored arduous over the previous couple of years to make this ultra-long-haul service a actuality – it’s one of many longest routes on the planet.
“To make sure prospects arrive in New York feeling refreshed, we’ve put loads of thought into the on-board expertise and groups are working across the clock to ensure it is a nice flying expertise.”
Why this a game-changing flight for Australians
Following the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, particularly on aviation, the best way the world views and needs journey has modified.
Increasingly airways are becoming a member of the long-haul sport, given folks’s priorities have shifted in direction of considerations for his or her well being.
Based on Linus Bauer, managing director of Bauer Aviation Advisory, ultra-long-haul flights have vital advantages over the present and extra frequent mannequin of stopping and altering planes at an enormous hub halfway via your journey.
Talking about long-haul flying to Europe particularly, Mr Bauer mentioned airways who embrace some of these routes “seize an entire new demographic of travellers who might have beforehand opted to take the most affordable choice together with a stopover within the Center East or Asia”.
At Qantas’ full-year earnings in August, CEO Alan Joyce mentioned the airline would additionally embark on a brand new route from Australia to New York — by way of Auckland — from mid-2023.
The announcement put the route in direct competitors with Air New Zealand.
Mr Joyce mentioned the explanation to embark on the route got here all the way down to the success of the Perth—London journey, and rising buyer calls for for journeys with out layovers.
He defined that flying by way of Auckland would supply “higher connectivity” from extra locations in Australia, earlier than an uninterrupted 16-hour flight to New York.
“We expect this route shall be extremely popular with Australians given the chance to attach by way of Auckland and it additionally offers New Zealanders extra alternative,” he mentioned on the time.
This author travelled on board the inaugural flight from Auckland to New York as a visitor of Air New Zealand.