Air New Zealand connects Auckland and New York for the first time

(CNN) – After 16 hours in the sky, Air New Zealand’s first direct flight to New York City arrived at JFK Airport on 17 September.

The flight, NZ2, was first announced in March and has been a mainstay of the airline’s post-pandemic rebound. Its companion flight, NZ1, flies the opposite route from JFK to Auckland in 17.5 hours.

“As one of the world’s greatest cities, Air New Zealand is proud to add the Big Apple to its list of 29 international destinations,” Air New Zealand CEO Greg Foran said in a statement, adding that the fight connects his two favorite cities. world.

New Zealand reopened to international tourists on 31 July 2022.

The airline’s desire to secure a slot at JFK was never a secret.

When the flights were announced earlier in 2022, Foran said: “Traditionally, flight numbers 1 and 2 are used for the airline’s flagship route. And that will be New York – our flagship route.”

In addition to New York, Air New Zealand flies to five other destinations in the United States, including San Francisco and Honolulu.

New York is the airline’s first (and currently only) direct flight to the East Coast, making it easier for New Zealand travelers to connect to North American and European cities.

Everything on board was made to feel special for the inaugural voyage.

Meals included New Zealand meats, wines and produce, including paua saucisson (abalone sausage), which made its airline debut.

According to the New Zealand Herald, Foran himself was on board and served meals to customers in premium economy and economy cabins. Passengers reportedly applauded as the 787-9 Dreamliner touched down.

Some notable New Zealanders were on the flight, such as Stuart Nash, New Zealand’s Tourism Minister, former Prime Minister Helen Clark. Current Prime Minister Jacinda Arden was said to have planned to join, but had to go to London for Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral.

However, there was an unexpected wrinkle over the weekend.

Some passengers on the NZ1 route from New York to Auckland found on landing that their bags had not made the trip with them.

“Unfortunately, given the additional fuel requirements due to the bad weather, some customers’ bags were unable to be loaded in New York and we are moving them to New Zealand as quickly as possible,” Air New Zealand CEO Alex Marren told CNN Travel.

“We are contacting customers to update them and reunite them with their bags. We apologize for any inconvenience this has caused.”

The airline assured CNN that the issue was temporary and added: “We have processes in place to ensure our customers get to their destinations safely and to try to minimize disruption during an extreme weather event.”

Air New Zealand has a lot of competition in the battle for the world’s longest passenger flight.

Today, the two longest flights in the world are operated by Singapore Airlines: one between Singapore and New York JFK and the other between Singapore and Newark International Airport. The former covers a dizzying 9,534 kilometers and spends about 18 hours in the air.
Australia’s Qantas is one of ANZ’s main competitors, and the airline isn’t about to be left out of the mix when it comes to long-haul flights. It will launch a long-haul Melbourne-Dallas flight in December.
Earlier this year, Qantas took an important step towards launching Project Sunrise, its long-cherished goal of establishing direct flights between Australia and the cities of New York and London.

The airline ordered 12 Airbus A350-1000s, hoping to launch ultra-long-haul routes in 2025. These flights will last more than 19 hours, making them the longest non-stop flights in the world.