American Airlines Working on Auckland New Zealand Service

When American Airlines announced new Los Angeles – Sydney service this week, they teased possible flights to New Zealand.

The closer and more integrated relationship [between American and Qantas] also provides opportunities for future growth into trans-Pacific markets not currently served by either airline, such as New Zealand.

American acknowledges its ‘on their radar’. (HT: ORDPLATAA)

Of course 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, and will be starting Houston service as well (and also flies from 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 (United actually claims this).

While American will operate Sydney service with a Boeing 777-300ER, reducing the number of seats on a given flight that Qantas has been offering on a 747 by about 55 seats, the Auckland service would be new and is something that Qantas decided didn’t work for it with an A330. So I’d bet that an American Airlines 787 would be the launch aircraft for the route – smaller and more economical. That’s a great ride in business class but could be especially tight in coach.

Service wouldn’t likely be this year, but could come in 2016 or 2017.

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 »

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  1. Perfect opportunity for Doug Parker to come thru on the idea of new transpac nonstop from PHX. 😀

  2. I’m hoping this is from DFW! That would make it so much easier than having to take a Transcon flight before hoping on a flight to New Zealand.

  3. If AA ever flies to NZ, a coach award ticket will cost well over 100k miles. That is to say, the big devaluation will precede the start of service to NZ.

  4. Yeah if I thought they were ever going to have award seats available in J or even C inventory for an upgrade I might be interested. But 18 hours in 10-across economy on a 787? No. Never.

  5. I used to fly LAX-AKL fairly often back in the 90s. QF used 747-400s then on the service, with ongoing service to SYD. Curiously, economy was almost always oversold, so upgrades to biz at check in were a pretty common occurrence. I spoke to the agent once (after I’d been upgraded) and asked what their criteria was. She said they usually just looked at their open seats in F, moved their solo biz people up, then filled biz with solo travelers that had frequent flier numbers attached to their tickets. Since I was banking my miles to AA and flying alone, up I went.

    Oh, how much easier this game was 20 years ago.

  6. Gary – do you think that if AA were to start service to NZ that it would be a separate and distinct route from the U.S. or might it be more of a fifth freedom route with continuing/connecting service to SYD and/or MEL?

  7. Just as an interesting side note, Air New Zealand flies from Rarotonga to Los Angeles as well.

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