The first ever nonstop flight between New Zealand and New York is set to launch in September, shortly after the South Pacific nation opens to American visitors for the first time in two years.

Traveling between New York and New Zealand has always been a bit of an endurance test. It's an ultra-long-haul flight that's prolonged by the inevitable stopover on the way, with journey times averaging a grueling 30 hours.

Starting September 17, just as spring begins in the southern hemisphere, that trip will become a lot easier as Air New Zealand launches its first direct flights between John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in New York and Auckland International Airport.

New York to New Zealand flight times

Traveling northbound from Auckland, flights will depart at 7:40 pm and take about 16 hours to reach New York. Traveling southbound from JFK, passengers will have about 17 hours and 35 minutes in the air, due to the prevailing wind. Flights will depart New York at 9:55 pm local time and arrive in New Zealand at 7:30 am — essentially two days later due to the time zone differences (Auckland is 17 hours ahead of New York).

Flights will depart on Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays on board the airline's roomy Boeing 787 Dreamliners.

Air New Zealand
The nonstop NZ to NYC service will start on September 17 ©Rusell Hendry/Getty Images

The service was due to launch in October 2019 but was put on the backburner when the pandemic hit. When it begins in September, four months after New Zealand opens its borders to American visitors in May, it will be the sixth US airport served by Air New Zealand, following Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Houston, and Honolulu.

"In the six years leading up to COVID, the US visitor numbers to New Zealand doubled so we expect our much-awaited non-stop service to be incredibly strong year-round," Air New Zealand CEO Greg Foran said on Tuesday.

What to do on the long-haul flight

"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 a great flying experience," Foran added.

Passengers can choose between business, premium and premium economy seats. There's also the SkyCouch option which allows passengers to book a row of three seats that can be transformed into a lie-down bed of sorts by removing arm rests and covering the footwell (prices start at about US$400 [NZ$598] for the upgrade). Free snacks and drinks are available between meal services in all cabins, and each seat has its own entertainment unit.

How to survive the new ultra-longhaul flights that could last nearly 20 hours

The rise of the ultra-long haul flights

Even though the journey will be significantly shorter than it is currently, the non-stop New York to Auckland service is still an endurance as the fourth-longest commercial flight in the world.

The title of the longest is currently held by Singapore Airlines' New York-to-Singapore flight, a mammoth 9,537 miles journey that roughly takes 18 hours and 45 minutes. Though it may not be long until Qantas takes the lead when it launches the so-called Project Sunrise, its plan to operate nonstop flights between London or New York to Sydney or Melbourne in Australia.

Air New Zealand's nonstop flights are now available to book on its website, starting from US$691 (NZ$993) one-way from New York to Auckland and US$686 (NZ$986) for the return leg.

You might also like:
Find a cheap transatlantic fare? Tips for managing a long haul flight in basic economy
Ask LP Kids: what’s your top tip for flying with a baby?

Explore related stories

JetBlue JFK T5 inaugural flight to Dublin March 13, 2024

Air Travel

Now landing in Ireland: JetBlue launches a new route from NYC to Dublin

Apr 3, 2024 • 6 min read