Air New Zealand begins non-stop New York flights on September 17

The 17-hour marathon flight is sure to be a big hit with travellers wanting a bite of the Big Apple. 

By Chris Ashton, March 23 2022
Air New Zealand begins non-stop New York flights on September 17

Kiwis will be strapping themselves in for one of the world’s longest scheduled passenger flights later this year, with Air New Zealand taking on the non-stop trek between Auckland and New York City from September 17.

Lasting up to 17½ hours, the journey is expected to fall shy of Singapore Airlines’ direct service connecting the Red Dot and the Big Apple, which currently holds the crown for the world’s longest flight.

And calendars will show the flight arriving 15 minutes after it takes off, leaving Auckland at 7:40pm and landing in New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport at 7:55pm local time.

On the return, it will depart the Big Apple at 9:55pm and arrive into the City of Sails at 7:30am two days later.

Proudly bearing the flagship numbers NZ1 and NZ2, the 14,200km journey will be flown by a Boeing 787-9, with Business Premier class featuring fully lie-flat bed in a 1-1-1 layout.

Following a special inaugural flight on Saturday September 17, the marathon service will run every Monday, Thursday and Saturday.

The Star Alliance airline originally planned for the Auckland-NYC marathon to take off back in October 2020, but plans were scuppered by the global spread of Covid-19. However, the bum-numbing route is firmly back on the map – and there’s a lot to get excited about.

The launch of the non-stop Auckland-New York service will give Air New Zealand a competitive edge over Qantas, with the Red Roo’s much-hyped Project Sunrise – which will also offer non-stop flights from Sydney to New York, as well as London and potentially Paris – now not expected to take off mid-2025. 

On the back of the New York announcement, Paul McLean, General Manager Australia for Air New Zealand, also tells Executive Traveller the airline will also resume direct flights to Chicago and Houston in the fourth quarter of this year. 

Air New Zealand Chief Executive Officer Greg Foran says the flag-carrier is “thrilled to be able to offer our Australian customers more choice to get to North America, connecting onto our flagship Auckland – New York flights from our nine Australian ports.”

“We’ve worked hard over the last few years to make this ultra-long-haul service a reality. To ensure customers arrive in New York feeling refreshed, we’ve put a lot of thought into the onboard experience and teams are working around the clock to make sure this is a great flying experience.”

Route-specific changes have been introduced to help travellers cope with the long flight time, with Mr McLean revealing the introduction of “a sleep ritual for Business Premier customers, which sees the introduction of relaxing balms and sleepy teas and snacks.”

For those needing help to unwind a little more, the airline will launch ‘Zentertainment’ on its inflight entertainment system to encourage a restful sleep. And before descent into Auckland, a brunch service including a classic Kiwi flat white coffee will be offered.

Zentertainment is part of our sleep proposition and includes meditation to help customers get a good night’s sleep – this will be available in all cabins.

In New York, Air New Zealand’s business class passengers will be able to access the Lufthansa Business Class Lounge at Terminal 1, while high-flyers with Airpoints Gold or Elite status, or equivalent Star Alliance Gold status, will be ushered up to the more exclusive Lufthansa Senator Lounge on level two.

22 Jan 2018

Total posts 95

Sounds amazing! Air NZ is a good airline.

for Australians, changing aircraft at Auckland or Nadi sure beat changing from domestic to international at SYD. Qantas better watch out, kiwis don't steel too many premium passengers. Changing aircraft at LAX or even DFW is painful if heading to NYC, cf. at Auckland.

01 Dec 2012

Total posts 30

For travellers from and to Perth, one stop to/from New York on 787s via an easy transit in Auckland and the excellent Air NZ lounge there would be very attractive if timings work.

Jetstar Airways - Qantas Frequent Flyer

24 Aug 2018

Total posts 106

Not having seen my son and family in Memphis, Tennessee for two years, this flight connecting with United ( thank God, Domestic) in NY to Tennessee, might be a far quicker way to go rather than LA or DFW with no potential for baggage to go"west"

Thai Airways International - Royal Orchid Plus

15 Jan 2013

Total posts 421

It's a way better connection to all of America at AKL.I did the Domestic to International way back in the day when NZ operated Sydney to Los Angeles both ways and it was a hassle.Connected from Adelaide on Ansett(This was 2001).there are times I wish Air NZ was operating direct from South Australia at the time.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

06 Mar 2015

Total posts 239

Great Airline , Great service but their  Business Class Seats are woeful.

One of the worst seats I have ever flown in , horrible!!!

Until they provide a better seat then it's another carrier for me.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

19 Aug 2011

Total posts 168

It's curious that Lufthansa's lounge for business class ticket holders (and so Air NZ at JFK) is inferior to the lounge for Star Gold and above status (Senator lounge).  So Air NZ Business Premier passengers without Star Gold status get an inferior lounge to economy passengers with Star Gold status. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

11 Oct 2014

Total posts 685

One would have to ask significant questions about the timing of this service:

As admirable an achievement it clearly is, the late arrival into New York (JFK) at 7:55-8:00pm means that luggage collection, clearing Customs and Immigration would make JFK connections to anywhere .. err difficult, if not impossible. 

Apart from the approx 2.5hr usual connect time, lets not forget that Star Alliance partner United has virtually NO domestic services from JFK. One wonders why Air New Zealand wasn't tempted to launch this flight into Newark, rather than JFK?

For onward international connections to Western Europe, the majority of convenient evening flights tend to be banked between 8:00-11:00pm, ex JFK. An on-time arrival into JKF would be a bit of an impossibility to make any international connection before 9:45-10:00pm. Any delay in arrival time by Air New Zealand (NZ) would have the potential to incur particularly expensive IROPS (hotel costs in NYC ain't cheap, let alone extras such as food / beverage costs). 

This flight is a great stride forward. However, I can only see it being attractive to East Coast Australian passengers as an interim stop-gap, until QF launches JFK (Sunrise). Even during that window, the NZ flight is still a one-stop from Australia.

 It is equally possible to do a SYD-DFW-JFK/LGA on Qantas, or a SYD-IAH (Houston)-EWR/LGA flight on United.

For New Zealanders headed to New York City, this flight brings Air New Zealand into the ULH (Ultra Long Haul) club, but I have doubts about its ability to snag too much of QF's or UA's market, ex Australia. However, it will provide an interesting challenge to United's New Zealand operation.

changing aircraft at LAX, DFW or IAH from int to dom is awful. As AKL like NAN changing from int to int is incredibly easy & might require a 100 to 200m walk. I think NZ will steel a huge % of pax wanting to go to NYC from all over Australia, as long as flight from Australia to AKL connects reasonable well in AKL in both directions. Can see that working easily from BNE, SYD, MEL. ADL  ? PER ? CNS, OOL, MCY  ? Per has other options via Asia.

Etihad - Etihad Guest

10 Apr 2019

Total posts 5

Air NZ is good service wise, but the 10hr flight to Singapore from Auckland is uncomfortable enough in their below average economy and business. Can’t imagine 18hrs to NYC. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 Jan 2017

Total posts 20

Have to agree with Rod H.  Those business class seats are a shocker!  Very narrow, not ergonomically designed at all, packed in like sardines.   Flew once across the Ditch - never again.  Would hate to be stuck in them on a long haul.  Air NZ's premium economy, on the other hand, very comfortable and spacious.  

Sort those horrific business class seats out and I’m in! 


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