Now the time has come. American announced service to Auckland today.
“Bayswater Marina Auckland New Zealand” by Bayswater marina, Creative Commons
They will fly Los Angeles – Auckland with a Boeing 787-8 starting in June.
Here’s the schedule:
- Los Angeles – Auckland, 10:45 pm – 6:35 am +2
- Auckland – Los Angeles, 1:20 pm – 6:30am
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. United’s service begins July 1.
American Airlines CEO Doug Parker said, “We are excited to be the first U.S. carrier to offer a truly premium experience between Los Angeles and Auckland.” And I’m not exactly sure whether he was suggesting that’s because:
- They’ll beat United to New Zealand by a matter of days, or
- United’s service isn’t ‘truly premium’ since their business class product isn’t as spacious, lacking ‘all aisle access’
American Airlines Boeing 787-8 Business Class
The service is in addition to American’s Sydney flight launching next month.
Los Angeles – Auckland is about 900 miles shorter than Sydney
American’s Auckland service is made possible by:
- Their closer joint venture with Qantas
- The Boeing 787
I’m surprised to see American moving forward with this with the government dragging its feet approving American’s tie-in with Qantas.
Nonetheless, the US-New Zealand market is seeing a lot of additional capacity with the introduction of Houston and San Francisco service, on top of American taking on Air New Zealand head-to-head in Los Angeles. Expect plenty of sale fares to New Zealand for next summer!