Airlines to New Zealand.

Our Blog features several stories (see below) about airlines operating flights between the USA and New Zealand for the first time. Now, another US airline has joined the fray. From October 28, Delta Airlines will launch its first ever direct flight to New Zealand. For travelers, this is great news, because it will have the effect of driving airfares downwards, especially in the short term.

Delta Air Lines has announced it is launching a number of new services, including its first ever direct flights to New Zealand, as part of the carrier’s network restoration.

The Atlanta-based carrier is currently in the process of restoring its international network to pre-pandemic levels, and this latest announcement comes after a similar expansion announced last fall.

From October 28, Delta will begin operating a daily nonstop service between its hub at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and Auckland Airport (AKL). An Airbus A350-900 will be used to fly the route, which has a total capacity of 306 passengers. This includes 32 Delta One Suites, 48 Delta Premium Select seats, 36 Delta Comfort+ seats, and the remaining 190 in the Main Cabin.

Delta's great advantage will be the aircraft they will be using on the Los Angeles - Auckland route, the Airbus A350-900. New technologies used in the A359-900 means a reduction in the effects of jet-lag on long-haul flights. Here's how Delta described the aircraft.

"Delta Air Lines became the first North American operator of the state-of-the-art Airbus A350 Thursday, continuing its ongoing effort to transform the travel experience and deliver innovative products and services for customers.

The 306-seat A350-900 redefines the international onboard experience with the award-winning Delta One suite and Delta Premium Select cabin. It's also the first long-haul aircraft to feature next generation 2Ku internet connectivity, and will fly primarily on routes across the Pacific.

"The Airbus A350 sets a new standard of flying experience for our customers, representing years of product innovation as it continues to transform into a leading global carrier," said Ed Bastian, CEO. "Our new flagship A350 fits well in Delta's long-haul network, combining an exceptional customer experience with strong operating economics and fuel-efficiency as we retire older, less-efficient aircraft."

The 32 redesigned Delta One suites will offer customers a private, personal experience, with a full-height door at every suite for enhanced privacy and comfort. Every suite offers a full flat-bed seat with direct aisle access — a standard among Delta's international widebody aircraft — as well as more personal stowage and large in-flight entertainment screens.

In the all-new Delta Premium Select cabin, customers will enjoy more personal space with up to 38 inches of pitch, up to 19 inches of width and up to seven inches of recline along with an adjustable leg rest and headrest. Throughout the aircraft, customers will find free seatback in-flight entertainment on high definition screens, in-seat power ports at every row, high capacity overhead bins, and next generation 2Ku internet connectivity.

Customers flying on the A350 will also benefit from larger windows and optimized cabin pressure, temperature and humidity to feel more refreshed after a long-haul flight. A full list of amenities throughout the cabin can be found here.

These enhancements are part of the airline's multi-billion dollar investment in the customer experience that includes a cabin modernization program featuring new seats, seatback entertainment systems with free entertainment, high-capacity overhead bins, access to Wi-Fi on nearly all flights, free Main Cabin meals on select flights, upgraded free Main Cabin snacks, chef-curated meals in Delta One, a seasonal wine program, an Alessi-designed collection of service ware in Delta One and First Class, and more.

The long-range Airbus A350 will continue optimization of its Pacific network, operating primarily on long-range routes between the U.S. and the Pacific. With a lightweight airframe, and fuel-efficient Rolls Royce Trent XWB engines, the jets are expected to generate a 20 percent improvement in operating cost per seat compared to the Boeing 747-400 aircraft they will replace."

Lindsay Barron

Lindsay Barron • Feb 17, 2023