The best way to book a flight to New Zealand
New Zealand's isolation is often a drawcard for many of you reading this blog from your part of the world. We are a little further away, so it makes sense to spend a little extra time here if you can, and we're definitely worth the extra effort and time it takes to get here. But what's the best way to get here? What airlines should you consider?
I say to many of our visitors from the USA that we are a little closer than perhaps you think - get to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, Chicago or New York, and jump aboard a late evening flight, enjoy a delicious Kiwi meal soon after take-off, watch a film or two or three and then drift off to sleep. When you wake you'll be landing in New Zealand, ready for an adventure.
Despite our geographical isolation, many New Zealanders are well-travelled. We're naturally curious about the rest of the globe and what is on offer in the big wide world.
Our nearest (and absolutely gorgeous) neighbour is New Caledonia 🇳🇨which takes 2 hour 40 minutes flying time to get to. Australia 🇦🇺, and Fiji 🇫🇯are just a smidgen further away taking 3 hours flying time to get to.
One of the more common questions we get is "can you book my flights from <INSERT 3-LETTER AIRPORT CODE HERE> to New Zealand?
Well, we could. And in previous jobs we have spent many years scrolling through flight combinations and airline options for clients providing them quotes and prices for countless options.
Today though, we choose to spend our time focusing on knowing New Zealand better than any one else. We take time on the fun experiences that really make a trip special, sharing our insights, advice and local tips with people like you. We'd much rather keep up to date on a new exciting place to see, or a dining experience, than worry too much about a seat in in the sky that gets you here.
So what's the best way to book flights to New Zealand?
You could contact your local travel agent, or I'm happy to recommend a great travel agent based in New Zealand that worked alongside me at Air New Zealand for many years. Travel agents do have access to specials that many online websites can never gain access to, and it's great to be able to discuss your options with another person - especially if you're wanting to stop off somewhere en-route or get a little more complex with your trip, like perhaps a journey that takes in New Zealand as part of an around the world adventure. But remember, when it comes to your arrangements while you're in New Zealand, our in-depth local knowledge greatly surpasses your local travel agent.
If you're keen to book a flight yourself online, my advice is to keep things simple. I would typically begin with Rome2Rio to get an idea which airlines fly from your home to New Zealand and what routes you can take to get here. Enter Auckland (AKL) as your destination as this is the most common airport in New Zealand that people fly in to, and out of. Rome2Rio will often come up with a few surprises you may not have considered or even thought of, and will give you a good indication on costs you can expect to pay. It's a good website to just get a guide if you're not ready to commit yet. I've never booked a flight through this website though, instead deciding to go directly to the airline website each time I'm ready to book.
Secondly, Momondo is the best fare comparison website out there that I've found. Again, enter Auckland (AKL) as the destination that you're flying in to, and out of, and see what airline options and combinations come up as the best prices for your chosen travel dates. It will easily show you flight prices for days either side of the travel dates you select too, should you be flexible with your travel dates. Again, I've never booked my flights through this website, choosing to go directly to the website of the airline of my choosing to finalise a booking.
If you're not booking through a travel agent that you can easily get in touch with should anything go wrong, then I always suggest booking directly with the airline - that way should you need to change or cancel anything, you can deal directly with the company involved in providing you the transportation. In my experience, many of the online booking engines out there are not the easiest to deal with when you need to change or cancel something, and if you're having a stressful time changing flights for some reason, the last thing you need is poor communication to stress you out more. A lot of clients that I've interacted over the years have taught me this lesson!
Finally, another hint is to check Wikipedia and type in both Auckland Airport and your nearest airport. Why? Well if you scroll to the "Airlines + Destinations" part of this page, you'll see a list of airlines that operate, and you might be surprised. For example, did you know if you're travelling from UK, Europe or North America that you have the option of travelling via South America? I wouldn't mind a quick 2 or 3 night stopover to perfect the 'tango' in Santiago before continuing on to New Zealand, wouldn't you?
Things to consider
Most international flights arrive into Auckland Airport, which is located in the northern part of the North island. Christchurch, Wellington and Queenstown airports also receive international flights too, and can be great alternatives to consider, especially if you want to focus on the Lower North Island and the South Island.
We recommend you look at flights going into and out of the same airport. So if you choose Wellington, make sure you fly in and out of the same airport. That way, we can provide a connecting flight, to connect with your international on the last day, or we can create a nice loop trip for you which is often cheaper when it comes to rental cars etc.
Also, often the 'cheapest' flight may not be the best choice. I've seen flights from the Eastern Seaboard in the USA to New Zealand via China, or Dubai that are a great price, but before you dive in and book, consider that you might be spending double the time on a plane when compared with more direct flight options.
Domestic flights within New Zealand
While we request you book your international flights yourselves, please note that we do sell flights travelling within New Zealand to help get you from one part of our Kiwi paradise to another quickly. So, once you've arrived in New Zealand, let us take care of the rest for you.
Planning your trip to New Zealand
Before you travel, be sure to check if you need a visa to visit New Zealand.