American Airlines About to Announce Service to New Zealand

When American Airlines announced new Los Angeles – Sydney service they teased possible flights to New Zealand. And acknowledged Auckland was on their radar.

Qantas used to fly Los Angeles – Auckland until May 2012, when they ceded the US non-stop market to Air New Zealand. The Star Alliance carrier flies from Los Angeles and San Francisco (as well as Vancouver and Honolulu). Air New Zealand even used to manage a Christchurch non-stop in addition to Auckland.

United promised Houston – Auckland flights, but then Southwest Airlines flights from Houston Hobby to Mexico made them uneconomical (yes, that was United’s claim — though Air New Zealand will be inaugurating Houston service anyway in December).

United just announced they’re introducing San Francisco – Auckland.

Los Angeles – Auckland is about 900 miles shorter than Sydney

On the heels of that announcement, it appears that American seems close to announcing Auckland – presumably Los Angeles-Auckland rather than Dallas-Auckland – made possible by:

  • Their closer joint venture with Qantas
  • The Boeing 787

The American Airlines 787 is a great ride in business class but could be especially tight in coach.

Nonetheless, the US-New Zealand market is seeing a lot of additional capacity with the introduction of Houston and San Francisco service, and with American expected to take on Air New Zealand head-to-head in Los Angeles. Expect plenty of sale fares to New Zealand a year from now.

It’s been noted that Dallas – Auckland remains a possibility. That would be better, perhaps, for East Coast connections. However that would take on Air New Zealand’s new Houston flight, and likely offer less local traffic. And American has said that new Pacific growth should be expected in Los Angeles, not Dallas. Either way, capacity to New Zealand seems on the verge of going way up.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

More articles by Gary Leff »



  1. Way to be thorough Gary…you posts go beyond the obvious and makes us think about the possibilities that gets award/paid travelers more options to the South Pacific.

  2. Mark, I’m glad the post is long and has all the details. There are too many “snippet” news articles these days.

  3. Considering it’s one of the hardest awards to get, all the new capacity is hudge news. Easy choice for expansion.

  4. Always good to see more options coming online. The AA 787’s tight Y seats are bad, though the lack of articulating screens is in some ways worse, really makes it hard to see properly in some instances…that was a cheapskate move to not install better screens. NZ’s Y seating feels just as tight but the IFE is better as is the service. I try to avoid UA in general.

  5. Mark – Then maybe you should just stick to reading Gary’s headlines if the bodies of his articles bother you so much. I, personally, appreciate his level of detail, which is why I open his articles and read them in their entirety.

  6. Asia, geographically is not defined a Australia and New Zealand. Like NRT is a connecting hub for thru traffic it makes sense for AA to operate LAX, DFW, ORD.. Hopefully and soon the squabble between AA and DL over LAX HND will come to a close. AA should be looking for other routes that competition let go which AA should acquire and develop. LAX BKK was until recently operated by Thai Airways as a non-stop then as a direct flight thru ICN.. Thai’s fares were so out of reach that agencies would book connections on other airlines. BKK offers many connections to other countries in Asia and AA should give a look at LAX MNL with continuing service to SGN. Knock heads with NZ if you wish but the money is in the other routes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.