Between the silver screen-worthy landscapes and the cosmopolitan dining options, not to mention the sexy accents, New Zealand has everything an American could want in a destination – minus, of course, the easy access. Recently, though, two airlines have announced new routes that should make the journey go by a bit faster. 

Auckland's skyline at dawn, view from Cyril Bassett VC Lookout
Next year, United and Air New Zealand will launch the first-ever nonstop service between Auckland and Newark. Image © Klanarong Chitmung/Shutterstock

In late October, code-share partners United Airlines and Air New Zealand confirmed that they would launch nonstop services between New Zealand and New York next year, making them the first carriers to offer a connection-free route between Auckland (AKL) and Newark Liberty International Airport. (Similar nonstop flights from Chicago were announced last year.) 

Lyttelton Port and Harbour in Christchurch, New Zealand
In partnership with Qantas, American Airlines will be launching its own nonstop route between LAX and Christchurch. Image © courtesy of American Airlines

According to a press release, Air New Zealand will fly the route year-round, three times per week; southbound, the flight time will be just under 18 hours, while the northbound leg will be just under 16. "Our non-stop flight will cut travel time by around three hours, putting New Zealand in easy reach of New York and the US Eastern Seaboard," says Air New Zealand’s acting CEO Jeff McDowall said in a statement. 

Two penguins, one facing the camera and one looking away, on a cliff overlooking the water on the Otago Peninsula
The wildlife of the South Island's Otago Peninsula will soon be more accessible than ever. Image © Vladislav T. Jirousek/Shutterstock

Then, just a few days later, American Airlines announced that as of next year, it would be launching the only nonstop service from Los Angeles International Airport to Christchurch (CHC), the South Island’s largest city, as well as the only direct service between Dallas Fort Worth International Airport and Auckland – both thanks to a recently-approved joint business venture with Qantas.

Coastline along Tasman Sea on South Island, New Zealand
The carrier will fly the LAX to CHC route three times a week. Image © American Airlines

According to a press release, the carrier plans to fly from LAX to CHC three times a week from October 2020 through March 2021, and it’ll be the only airline operating that route, providing a unique opportunity for one-stop connections to the South Island and beyond to Wellington and Melbourne too. It will also add three weeks to its current seasonal LAX to AKL service, making the country more accessible from 70-plus cities across the US.

Panoramic scenery of Whanganui River Road and National Park in autumn, on the North Island of New Zealand
It's no wonder Peter Jackson selected New Zealand as a stand-in for Middle Earth. Image © PK289/Shutterstock

“Now, we’re able to get customers from places like Louisville, Savannah, or Monterrey, Mexico, all the way to New Zealand with just one stop,” Vasu Raja, American’s senior VP of network strategy, said in a statement. 

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