Advice for travel to Auckland

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Old Sep 13, 17, 10:30 am
  #31  
 
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Originally Posted by corporate-wage-slave View Post
It does, yes, but the trans Pacific aspect doesn't go away (and is in fact slightly longer). I don't quite know what the problem is, but it is the worst way around.
I didn't find the Pacific crossing that bad. We left YVR about 20:00 local time, and by the time dinner is served and cleared away we went to bed about 23:00, had a nice nights sleep and woke up for breakfast and then it was time for landing. Arrived in AKL about 06:00 and ready to start the day. We had no jet lag at all. I actually found it easier than a Atlantic crossing, as the sleep portion is too short on a TATL, even from YVR.
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Old Sep 13, 17, 10:34 am
  #32  
 
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Originally Posted by wolf72 View Post
Does US immigration have that bad a rep??
At the risk of grossly stereotyping, my experience in both land and airport border crossings is the US customs agents are often young men with not particularly great educations who enjoy wielding the fairly large amount of power they have. I will go to great lengths to avoid entering the USA now.
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Old Sep 13, 17, 10:55 am
  #33  
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Originally Posted by Jagboi View Post
I didn't find the Pacific crossing that bad. We left YVR about 20:00 local time, and by the time dinner is served and cleared away we went to bed about 23:00, had a nice nights sleep and woke up for breakfast and then it was time for landing. Arrived in AKL about 06:00 and ready to start the day. We had no jet lag at all. I actually found it easier than a Atlantic crossing, as the sleep portion is too short on a TATL, even from YVR.
Yes, if starting from North America and 5 - 9 hours over from Europe, then I can see that works OK. From Vancouver it would be silly to go the other way around. But from Europe (or Halifax!) I would say different time effects would apply.
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Old Sep 13, 17, 11:47 am
  #34  
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Wow! Thank you all very much for taking the time to share your thoughts and recommendations. I have just logged back in, and will have a lot of research to do over the next evening or two based on the recommendations, but plenty of options by the looks of things!

Also thanks for the warm welcome
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Old Sep 13, 17, 11:56 am
  #35  
 
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Originally Posted by clarkeysntfc View Post
Yes, but it's more the fact that you can be on a same-plane service from LHR-AKL and still have to enter the USA during the pit stop at LAX. Bizarre.
Transfers in Canada also need to go through immigration and customs. They may be a little friendlier, but they're no less vigilant.
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Old Sep 13, 17, 12:26 pm
  #36  
 
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Originally Posted by corporate-wage-slave View Post
I've been travelling to South Island, from the UK, twice every year for many years. I've tried all sorts of options over that time and many airlines. Now I don't get jetlag, but I've travelled with relatives who certainly do (and won't take advice!).

On a service that long you need to consider whether you'll be able to operate in the first 48 hours or not on arrival. Maybe your first 48 hours won't matter, you can plan on crashing out until your body reaches you, in which case just book the cheapest. The worst way is on the Air New Zealand service via LAX. With US immigration..... A good enough airline, but the time zones and sheer boredom of trans Pacific will not have a good impact. Nearly as bad is via Dubai/Qatar etc, in fact they can be worse if the layover in the Middle East is of poor quality. SIN is OK, so that would mean a booking via SYD or MEL, and booking onwards from there either via the Contact Centre or Travel Agent, be cautious in the second scenario.

But actually the best route, and the shortest amount of flying unless you go via NRT, is via Hong Kong, so your idea may well be the best. Now I'm a big fan of HKG, having lived there in the past, but if you take an overnight in HKG and plan on "best endeavours" sightseeing there, then you'll arrive in New Zealand in the best shape overall.

Ideally wake up a bit earlier than normal on the day of departure, take a later services from the UK to HKG, ideally an A350 from Cathay or BA's A380 - the latter is worth paying a bit extra for if you can get upper deck WT, assuming you are in economy. Then you'll be in your hotel in HKG around 4pm, so early light meal, and early to bed. Then book a next day evening service from HKG to NZ, which arrives lunch time in NZ. Spend the morning and early afternoon in Hong Kong doing the Peak and Star Ferries, being outdoors in other words in what passes for fresh air over there, to get the body to work for you. Then in NZ an early-ish night and you should be fine. Two nights in HKG is better still of course!
I'm taking my first deviation from BA in years and flying OSL - LHR - SIN - AKL on SQ in J in January. There's only a 1h50m layover in SIN so I hope we're not going to be ruined, but if we are we have 48 hours in AKL without any real plans.

On the return we're going CHC - SIN - LHR with a 9 hour layover which will enable us to chill at the fabulous Crowne Plaza Changi.
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Old Sep 13, 17, 12:58 pm
  #37  
 
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Originally Posted by Rufin View Post
Wow! Thank you all very much for taking the time to share your thoughts and recommendations. I have just logged back in, and will have a lot of research to do over the next evening or two based on the recommendations, but plenty of options by the looks of things!

Also thanks for the warm welcome
There are definitely a multitude of options available to you!

It really depends on your budget, class of travel, dates, and whether you are willing to take a bit of a detour and/or fly some extra legs in order to get a better deal.

I'm also from NZ and fly back to Auckland every year, and I've done it in economy, premium economy and business. I will try to summarise my experiences:

Economy:

- I've done NZ via LAX, NZ via HKG (no longer possible), NZ via PPT (Tahiti, also no longer possible), QF, EK and CX

- I actually prefer EK in economy. I personally love the A380 and if you get on the newer A380s, you have a massive personal TV screen. Food, crew and entertainment really is quite good. But in terms of OneWorld, CX is a solid choice, especially if you have access to lounges as Sapphire or Emerald

- NZ via LAX is my least favourite. The transfer in the US is horrendous and you arrive in LAX extremely tired (UK time is around 2am when you land in LAX), then you have to last another 2 hours in transit before getting on the final 12 hours to AKL. I think NZ also use a cramped 3-4-3 configuration 777. Definitely avoid.

Premium Economy:

- The one time I've flown BA to NZ (at least to SYD). This was an ex-EU deal from Dublin for around 1,100 - premium economy between LHR to SYD via SIN, and then economy on QF to AKL. I was a silver at the time and because I was on BA metal most of the way, I netted a fair bit of Avios too!

Business:

- Last year's amazing Qatar deal to Auckland. FRA-DOH-AKL, and returning AKL-DOH-LHR. I could've paid 1200 if I returned back to FRA but I ended up forking out an extra 300 to try the A380 back to LHR and also to save half a day of annual leave. My most amazing experience to date and also helped me get to Gold. Would definitely recommend if there is a good deal going. You'll also get 600 Tier Points, and silver territory!

I hope this helps! Do keep us posted and please feel free to ask more questions!
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Old Sep 13, 17, 1:07 pm
  #38  
 
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Originally Posted by wolf72 View Post
Does US immigration have that bad a rep??
US immigration is unpleasant and takes, literally, 5-10 times longer than HKG immigration. If you don't stop for long in HKG you don't even need to pass immigration, just hang out in the (excellent) lounges.
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Old Sep 13, 17, 4:50 pm
  #39  
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Originally Posted by Firipu View Post

Premium Economy:

- The one time I've flown BA to NZ (at least to SYD). This was an ex-EU deal from Dublin for around 1,100 - premium economy between LHR to SYD via SIN, and then economy on QF to AKL. I was a silver at the time and because I was on BA metal most of the way, I netted a fair bit of Avios too!
Thanks Firipu!

So with the ex-EU deals like the one described above, what is the best way to find out about these or access them? Is it a case of going onto the carrier website and then substituting departure airports and seeing the prices offered?
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Old Sep 13, 17, 5:02 pm
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Google flights is a handy tool, as it will show you a map of departure points. You can narrow the display options by class of service and either to a specific airline or an alliance.
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Old Sep 13, 17, 7:10 pm
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CX is a very good option particularly if you are traveling after end November and an even better one if your final destination is Christchurch as CX commence direct HKG -CHC flights from early December plus the choice 2 flights to Auckland (instead of 1 per day) in the summer season….1 per day in winter
CX offers the new A350 from Manchester and LGW daily to HK and this aircraft offers the best Y class experience of all IMHO. From LHR there are 4 daily flights to HKG most using 777 aircraft. The NZ flights leave HKG later evening and the connections ex UK are good should you decide to fly straight through. I have no checked for a while but I believe that the CX flights have the shortest flight time to NZ However as others have mentioned a night or two in HK will have you ‘arriving in better shape’ but then I am rather biased as I have lived here for 40 years. Have a great holiday !
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Old Sep 14, 17, 2:33 am
  #42  
 
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Originally Posted by Rufin View Post
Thanks Firipu!

So with the ex-EU deals like the one described above, what is the best way to find out about these or access them? Is it a case of going onto the carrier website and then substituting departure airports and seeing the prices offered?
Yes. I normally use a search engine such as Kayak and pop in a few different options to price it up. The main candidates for ex-EU tend to be DUB, AMS, BRU, DUS, FRA, LUX and CPH, since these are also in the Zone 1 avios redemption band, keeping the cost of your positioning flights low. Just make sure you take your flights in order!
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Old Sep 14, 17, 6:58 am
  #43  
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All depends on your budget and whether you want to have stopovers or not. I personally wouldn't wish to have a stopover anywhere in the Middle East so that would rule me out using the airline of choice for budget concious FT BAEC Golds.
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Old Sep 14, 17, 7:09 am
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Originally Posted by HIDDY View Post
All depends on your budget and whether you want to have stopovers or not. I personally wouldn't wish to have a stopover anywhere in the Middle East so that would rule me out using the airline of choice for budget concious FT BAEC Golds.
Why? It's a layover. You don't have to leave the comfort of an OW lounge.
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Old Sep 14, 17, 6:16 pm
  #45  
 
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Originally Posted by corporate-wage-slave View Post
On a service that long you need to consider whether you'll be able to operate in the first 48 hours or not on arrival. Maybe your first 48 hours won't matter, you can plan on crashing out until your body reaches you, in which case just book the cheapest. The worst way is on the Air New Zealand service via LAX. With US immigration..... A good enough airline, but the time zones and sheer boredom of trans Pacific will not have a good impact.
Sorry really don't get your comment about 'sheer boredom of trans pacific' how is it any different to flights via Asia? Pretty much all the flights require an final 12-14 hour sector to New Zealand.

The flights ex YVR,SFO,LAX,IAH all depart late afternoon/evening arriving into AKL early morning effectivity being overnight services.
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