A US airline just launched a 17-hour flight (and the fourth longest in the world)

A US airline just launched a 17-hour flight (and the fourth longest in the world)

During those bad first days of the pandemic, restrictions and stay-at-home orders made it difficult to drive a few hours to the next town. Perhaps a 16-hour flight was like a trip to the moon.

With airlines suspending flights and most countries closing borders to non-citizens, air travel has virtually halted throughout 2020. According to the United Nations Air Transport Agency, air traffic in April was down 92% from 2019 levels and 60% in all of 2020. .

More than 400,000 aviation workers worldwide have also been laid off, laid off or placed on indefinite leave by the beginning of 2021.

This complete shutdown not only disrupted individual plans to visit Europe during the summer, but also disrupted routes that some airlines had been planning to launch for years.

Straight to Auckland, please

Air New Zealand (ANZFF) which has been transporting people to and from the island nation since 1940, has just launched its first flight between Oakland and New York City.

The flight will bring the number of US destinations the airline flies to to seven. It was originally scheduled to launch in October 2020 but has been pushed back by nearly two years as New Zealand is notorious for having one of the world’s toughest pandemic responses.

The country only reopened to international tourists in July 2022 or more than a year and a half after most countries in Europe and North America did so.

The Oakland – JFK route is also amazing for its length – 17.5 hours between New York City and Oakland and, due to the wind direction, 16 hours in the opposite direction.

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While Air New Zealand already has non-stop routes between West Coast cities like San Francisco and Vancouver, this is the airline’s first direct flight to the eastern United States.

“As one of the world’s greatest cities, Air New Zealand is proud to add the Big Apple to its list of 29 international destinations,” Air New Zealand CEO Greg Foran said in a statement. “[…] This is great for our customers.”

The flight will operate three times a week on the 787-9 Dreamliner and start at $1,400 for economy class and $8,500 for business class.

The future and very long trips

The inaugural flight landed at JFK on September 17 carrying Foran and New Zealand Tourism Minister Stuart Nash.

As CNN first reported, there was a small snag reflecting the current chaos at the airport – some found that their luggage had not been brought back with them on the return flight.

With airlines struggling to meet the high demand to the skies that came with many flights eventually being delayed for years due to the pandemic, such scenarios have been all too common across the world over the past six months.

In July, Delta (DA) Fly an Airbus A330-200 from London to Detroit without passengers but over 1,000 pieces of baggage stranded due to not enough baggage handling at many airports across Europe.

“Unfortunately, due to additional fuel requirements due to bad weather, some customers’ bags have not been able to be loaded into New York and we are moving them to New Zealand as soon as possible,” Alex Marin, director of operations for Air New Zealand, told CNN.

The Auckland-JFK flight is set to become the main route for Air New Zealand. The term industry refers to the route taken on the airline’s largest aircraft and with the highest level of business class service.

Air New Zealand is also preparing to launch a flight from Auckland to Chicago at the end of October.

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