(CNN) – After 16 hours in the sky, Air New Zealand’s first direct flight to New York City arrived at JFK airport on September 17.
“One of the largest cities in the world, 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. world.
New Zealand reopened to international tourists on 31 July 2022.
The airline’s desire to find a seat in JFK was never a secret.
When flights were announced earlier in 2022, Foran said, “Traditionally, flights 1 and 2 are used for an airline’s flagship route. And that will be New York — our flagship route.”
In addition to New York, Air New Zealand flies to five other destinations in the United States, including San Francisco and Honolulu.
As New York City is the airline’s first (and currently only) direct flight to the east coast, it will be easier for passengers from New Zealand to connect to their North American and European hub cities.
Everything on board was made to feel special to the landing voyage.
Meals on board consisted of New Zealand meats, wines and produce, including the airline’s debut paua saucisson (abalone sausage).
Some New Zealand dignitaries were also on board, including Stuart Nash, New Zealand’s tourism minister, and former prime minister Helen Clark. The current prime minister, Jacinda Arden, plans to attend, but is instead served by Queen Elizabeth II. It was reported that Elizabeth had to go to London for her funeral.
However, there was an unexpected wrinkle over the weekend.
Some passengers on the NZ1 itinerary from New York to Auckland discovered that their bags were not traveling with them upon landing.
“Unfortunately, due to additional fuel requirements due to adverse weather conditions, some customer bags could not be loaded in New York and we are taking them to New Zealand as soon as possible,” Air New Zealand COO Alex Marren told CNN Travel.
“We are in touch with customers to update and reassemble their bags. We apologize for the inconvenience this has caused.”
The airline assures CNN that this is a one-time issue and adds, “We have processes in place to ensure our customers get to their destinations safely and to try to reduce disruption as much as possible during extreme weather events.”
Air New Zealand is in fierce competition in the battle for the world’s longest passenger flight.
The airline has ordered 12 Airbus A350-1000s aircraft in hopes that the ultra-long-haul routes could be operational by 2025. These flights will take more than 19 hours, making them the longest nonstop flights in the world.
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