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AIR NEW ZEALAND: Joins the ‘arrival with no luggage’ club on inaugural New York to Auckland flight

AIR NEW ZEALAND: Joins the ‘arrival with no luggage’ club on inaugural New York to Auckland flight

Air New Zealand started its inaugural direct 17-hour service between Auckland and New York this month. The flight to New York went pretty much without a hitch, but the return flight – New York to Auckland – not so much.

Emulating the groundbreaking service of Qantas of late, Air New Zealand flight NZ1 out of New York managed to leave without most of its passengers’ luggage, despite a 2-hour delay in departure, caused by the usual evening clogging of flights at JFK each evening.

The flight was scheduled to leave at about 10 pm local NY time but didn’t leave until about 11:50 pm. It caught up an hour and arrived in Auckland at 8:30 am Monday morning, just an hour late.

Weather = more fuel = luggage left behind

According to Radio New Zealand (RNZ) Air New Zealand chief operating officer Alex Marren apologised for the lack of luggage being transported on the flight, explaining:

“Unfortunately given additional fuel requirements due to adverse weather, some customer bags were unable to be loaded in New York and we are getting them to New Zealand as soon as possible. We are in touch with customers to update them and reunite them with their bags. We’re sorry for any inconvenience this has caused.”

Air New Zealand chief operating officer Alex Marren

Will this be a regular feature of this new longggg route?

Could be. Weather is a predicted complication, but with the flight needing every drop of fuel it can lift, this may well not be a one-off incident. Besides being ultra-expensive (NZ$17,000 return from Auckland in business), it seems like a fair bet you might not arrive with your luggage.

This flight at approx 17.5 hours is the longest Air New Zealand operates, and the fourth longest scheduled flight in the world.

The advantage of the flight is you don’t have to traverse the west coast of America, especially the dreaded security transfer at Los Angeles Airport (LAX) before transiting onto your flight to New York. Instead, it’s a direct flight to the big apple, with no transit.

The new seat, ready for 2024

2PAXfly Takeout

The aviation industry has a difficult road ahead when it comes to sustainability. It’s going to require a relative revolution in technology, with ‘electric planes’ or hydrogen planes, or some form of jet engine that doesn’t require a carbon based fuel. And that is going to require the development of an alternative to jet engines probably.

It’s a big ask. It will take time to develop.

This move to home grown and manufactured SAF is a first step – maybe even a baby step in a very long road of innovation. In the long run, US$200 million won’t even touch the sides.

So, a direct flight to New York from Auckland sounds like a good idea, and indeed Qantas has announced it will offer the same route from June/July 2023 to compete with Air NZ. But, when reality bites, and you have to dump bags for fuel, then is it worth the price?

I would possibly argue yes, but have you seen the old-fashioned herringbone set-up that Air NZ has as an excuse for business class?

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