Flying To New Zealand

Air New Zealad Flights | Singapore Airlines Flights | Flights to New Zealand

There are two basically two air-routes to New Zealand. Via Los Angeles or via Asia.

American travellers usually travel via L.A. and Asians via Asia. Europeans have a choice since New Zealand is a similar distance from Europe in either direction.

Singapore is the most popular Asian airport by far. It’s also possible to travel via other cities such as Kuala Lumpar, Hong Kong and Tokyo.

So, what are the pros and cons of Los Angeles versus Singapore?

(Note: In late 2005, Air New Zealand will be upgrading its aircraft and increasing the number of flights from San Francisco to Auckland. When this happens, one or two of the conclusions drawn below may change.)

Flight Route 1 London – Singapore – Auckland (or Christchurch)

Heathrow – Singapore: 12 hours 40 minutes non-stop.
Singapore – NZ: 9 hours 45 minutes non-stop.
Total Flying Time: 22 hours 25 minutes

1. Excellent food and in-flight service.

2. All seats equipped with entertainment modules. You can choose the films/TV shows/music/computer games you want. Invaluable for kiddies and, for adults, help the flight pass more quickly.

3. Families with young children and invalids board the plane first.

4. Singapore airport is a wonderful, clean, organised place. It puts Heathrow and many other European airports to shame. Spending time there between flights is relatively pleasant.

5. Comfortable transit hotels within the airport complex mean there’s no need to clear immigration. Step off your flight, have a shower and enjoy a few hours sleep stretched out in a comfortable bed. No need to lug your baggage about. Provided you’re flying on within 24 hours, your baggage is forwarded automatically to your next flight.

6. Singapore Airlines air-crew are renowned for their good service.

1. Singapore Airlines allows a mere 20 kg of baggage plus 7 kg of hand-luggage. If you are immigrating to New Zealand, the airline’s official position is they will raise the baggage limit to 25 kg. In practice, a number of migrants have been able to get an allowance of 30 kg or even 40 kg after discussions with the airline. Bear this in mind and do you best to negotiate an extra baggage allowance if you can.

Infants are permitted 10 kg of baggage.

A number of people flying with Singapore have found that, although their baggage is heavier than it should be, they are not charged for excess baggage. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee of this and overloading those suitcases would be an expensive chance to take.

2. The space between economy seats is less on Singapore Airlines than Air New Zealand.

Space Between Seats for Singapore Airlines
Ticket Class Seat Pitch
First Class 78″ (198 cm)
Business (Raffles) Class 58″ (147 cm)
Economy Class 32″ (81 cm)

3. The 777-200 aircraft on flights to Christhcurch have seat rows arranged 3-3-3. This means couples and families are more liable to be spilt on either side of an aisle than on Boeing 747′s. (747′s have seat-row arrangement 3-4-3.)

Singapore Airlines operate a mixture of 777-200 and 747-400 aircraft on flights to Auckland. If you are a family of four, you may prefer to book on a 747-400.

More tips

Usually flights from Heathrow to both L.A. and Singapore are less full than the flights on to NZ. If you can, make the most of this opportunity to stretch out a little.

You will often be able to get cheaper tickets from a travel agent than booking directly with the airlines.

Not always though – you can often buy one-way or return tickets online from Singapore Airlines at
very competitive prices.

Other recommended Asian airlines are Malaysian and Cathay Pacific, although most flyers opinions’ are that these airlines are not quite as good as Singapore Airlines.

Flight Route 2 London – L.A. – Auckland (or Christchurch)

Heathrow – L.A.: 11 hours 15 minutes non-stop.
L.A. – New Zealand: 12 hours 45 minutes non-stop.
Total Flying Time: 24 hours 00 minutes

This route is operated by Air New Zealand, with a four hour re-fuelling stop in L.A.
1. Air New Zealand offers a huge baggage allowance of 64 kg per person plus 7 kg of hand-luggage. Infants are permitted 32 kg plus a car seat or collapsible push chair.

2. Families with young children are given priority when boarding the plane.

3. If you don’t take a stop-over in L.A., your luggage stays on the aircraft for the whole trip.

4. Air-crew service is usually of a high standard.

5. Economy class seats in Air New Zealand 747′s offer more leg-room than most.

Space Between Seats for Air New Zealand
Ticket Class Seat Pitch
First Class 80″ (203cm)
Business Class 50″ (127cm)
Pacific (Economy) Class 34″ (86cm)

Note: Seat pitch is the distance between a row of seats – between the same position on two seats, one behind the other. It is NOT the leg-room.

1. If you stop-over in L.A. you can experience problems with your luggage owing to the transfer.

2. Air New Zealand does not offer individual entertainment modules. Their aircraft are currently fitted with large-screens playing to the whole cabin.

3. The transit lounge in L.A. is spartan and uncomfortable. Considering that passengers are between lengthy, tiring flights, the transit-lounge is unacceptable.

4. Even if you do not stop-over in L.A. and just spend time in the transit lounge, you will be fingerprinted and photographed by U.S. security personnel.

5. The attitudes of the occasional air hostess/steward may not be as positive as the airline would wish.

The Bottom Line Opinion

If leg-room and a large baggage-allowance are your main criteria, fly Air New Zealand via L.A.

If good-service, general comfort and entertainment are your main criteria, choose Singapore Airlines.