Booking Flight Tickets to New Zealand.
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- Read the post
- 1How Long Is the Flight to New Zealand?
- 2Which Airline to Choose?
- 3Can I Visit a City During a Stopover in Asia?
- 4Can I Book My Plane Tickets Without Travel Agencies?
- 5How to Get the Cheapest Plane Tickets?
- 6Can I Take Domestic Flights in New Zealand?
- 7New Zealand's Airports
- 8Should I Arrive in the Morning or the Evening?
How Long Is the Flight to New Zealand?
Booking a plane ticket is the first step to organize a stay in New Zealand. An exceptional journey that will take you across the globe, to a country with 12 hours of time zone difference with Europe.
Whether you start your stay on the North Island or South Island, you will land at Auckland or Christchurch. Other combinations are possible, but at the cost of the additional stopover in Australia. But the trip is already long enough not to make it even more difficult! To the 24-hour flight you must add the time spent in transports, baggage checking and the many hours lost in waiting rooms ...
In addition to flight hours, one must add the time lost in transportation, airports and stopovers.
Consider that between the moment you leave your home and your arrival in New Zealand, more than 30 hours will have passed! And once arrived in New Zealand, you still have to go through the customs and biosecurity checks before taking a shuttle to finally winning your bed at the hotel.
Depending on your age or physical condition, such a long journey can be exhausting, and you will face jet lag as well.
The flight to book must be chosen with care, especially when you realize that the quality of the service and the comfort differ from one company to another.
We will see together how to find your plane tickets at the best price, without using the expensive services of a travel agency. And to leave nothing to chance, I will also present the domestic flights and the airport's shuttle service you must book in advance if your flight arrives late evening.
This article does not give advice to increase the comfort during travel by plane (a subject already addressed in our guide about the Airbus A380). This guide is meant to help you book your plane tickets at the best value. People living in Noumea and other cities in the world will forgive me if I seem focused on flights from Europe, but the advice given is valid for every airport.
Which Airline to Choose?
A dozen airlines serve New Zealand from Europe. To compare their services, I have identified several criteria such as the aircraft model, the legroom or the airport where you'll have your stopover. A mandatory stopover because no direct flight exists between Europe and New Zealand.
Because each airline lands in a different city, the choice of the stopover is important if you want to enjoy your free time before your next flight to discover a city in Asia. I will cover this subject with more details later.
If the first part of the journey can take place on board a superb Airbus A380, the second flight lasting 8h will be performed on a classic Airbus A330 or a Boeing 777.
The A380 all by itself model does not guarantee comfort, but its more spacious cabin allows to stretch one’s legs more easily.
I will give you, of course, the opinion of Kiwipal about each airline, in addition to the reviews collected about the service on board. A simple five-star rating will help you to choose between the good and bad companies.
Please excuse me if I do not communicate any price, but the fluctuations are such that I would risk misleading you. Please just note that a round-trip flight between Europe and Auckland costs between $1160 and $2400 per adult.
An economy flight costs on average $1900 and the children benefit of a small discount between $230 and $300.
Fortunately, the price comparator service we built is based on Google Flight and allows to find the best price without any difficulty whatever the season. An outcome all the more exceptional it is obtained without having to undergo the usual lot of advertisements and false tariffs that too often accompany the online comparators on the Internet.
You will realize that there are often less than one hundred euro of difference between a mediocre airline and a great one.
Saving money is nice, but sacrificing comfort to save one hundred dollars is a very bad move, especially considering that you will have a whole day sitting in a cabin. Losing a few centimeters of legroom or enduring the bad service from a low-cost company accentuate the fatigue and impact the quality of your holidays.
Here is our review of the major airlines you can borrow to go to New Zealand from most European capitals:
|Cathay Pacific||Boeing 777||Hong Kong|
|Air France||A330||Shanghai or Canton|
|Malaysia Airlines||Boeing 777||Kuala Lumpur|
The best airline in this ranking lands at Changi (the best airport in the world) and Singapore downtown can be reached by subway (MRT) in only half an hour. However, if the service remains impeccable, the seats are a bit dated, the video system could be modernized and the menu served on board seems to be always the same for five years ...
Anyway, this company can still be booked eyes closed.
A quality of service equivalent to Singapore Airlines' but with an Airbus A380 even more comfortable. The stopover in Dubai is not ideal because if the city is close to the airport (only 15 minutes by shuttle bus) it has little to offer the casual visitor.
|Plane model||Boeing 777|
Its name does not sound Chinese, but Cathay Pacific is actually a Hong Kong company. Ranked among the top five airlines in the world for over 15 years, this is by far the best Chinese company. Another plus: the Hong Kong city center is only 20 minutes away via the Airport Express.
Despite the lack of an A380 model, the five stars are well earned.
My favorite airline because with legroom spaces' 5 cm longer than the average available in this sector, Korean Air is a very comfortable company. The stopover in Seoul makes the city visit possible (the train that connects the airport to the city is reliable) but the 45 of travel minutes significantly reduce the flexibility. Warning: the flights of this company land early in New Zealand ... a delicate subject that will be addressed at the end of this guide.
The French company serving several Asian cities is a safe bet, but the service can't match Asian airlines’ quality. One wonders why the Airbus A380 is not more present and one regrets that it is still necessary to switch to another airline for the second flight because Air France's planes doesn't land in New Zealand.
|Plane model||Boeing 777|
A mediocre company, which narrowly wins his second star thanks to the legroom. Kuala Lumpur is an hour away by train, which restricts the possibility of visiting the city except during a very long stopover.
China Southern Airlines
A company to avoid if you can, or to endure if you have no alternatives ... The 4th airline (by the number of passengers carried) delivers a poor-quality service, with planes not always very clean and a bad reputation due to frequent delays. What would be tolerable for a 2-hour flight is just impossible to accept for a long-haul flight.
China Eastern Airlines
Imagine yourself trapped in such a long flight without an individual screen! Just for this single reason, you would be well advised to avoid this airline that is among the most mediocre in the world. Too bad, because Shanghai is now just five short minutes from the airport.
Air New Zealand
Ranked among the best airlines in the world (first in some ratings), the national company is excellent but does not offer flights from all European country. You can also book Air New Zealand for your second flight (from an Asian city toward Auckland).
This is an excellent choice (if not the best) if you live in the UK with a departure from London.
Please forgive me not to cover the business categories, the premiums and other suites at $ 10000 per passenger. In general, people that can afford such luxury are not the ones reading practical guides like this one to save money!
Can I Visit a City During a Stopover in Asia?
Making a stopover in Asia or Middle East gives the opportunity to visit a city close to the airport. According to the booked airline, your stopover can take place in great cities likeSingapore, Dubai, Seoulou Canton.
A little escapade is entirely possible, but it cannot be improvised, especially if you want to avoid any risk of missing your correspondence.
You are not locked in the airport, sentenced to wait for your next flight! Most Asian cities are issuing free visas (valid for 24 hours) for travelers in transit.
You just have to fill a short form and pass the immigration controls to reach the subway or a shuttle.
However, for a quick visit downtown to be feasible, the airport must be close enough to the main tourist spots. I recommend you not tempt anything if you don't have at least two hours of safety margin to deal with any eventuality.
Consider for example the case of a six-hour stopover in Singapore. Count two hours of safety margins and one hour for the round trip with the subway (MRT) up to Marina Bay Sands. Then count 30 minutes to complete the visa form and buy your subway tickets. This gives you a maximum of 2h30 to visit the city. This is short, but enough to enjoy the view over the bay, have a stroll in the famous gardensand even a good meal in a restaurant.
It is necessary to be traveling with the least possible things to carry! Most of your baggage travels are registered and you do not need to recover them between two flights.
However, the hand luggage must not be too large, and otherwise you would have to store them in a deposit at the airport, or keep them while visiting the city (which is quite annoying).
But your biggest mistake would be to not take into account the local weather!
Leaving the air-conditioned airport of Singapore while wearing winter's clothes, and diving into a humid tropical climate at 35 °C can be a very uncomfortable experience.
In addition to having planned and studied a route prior to departure, you must have a plan of the transport network you will borrow. It is important not to improvise in order to avoid getting lost in a country where most people don't even speak your language.
Change a small amount in the local currency before your holiday! This will prevent you from wasting time searching for an ATM in the airport. Because you need cash to pay metro tickets, bus, taxi, restaurants, souvenirs... and you also need a reserve in case of emergency.
All these warnings may be enough to frighten the less adventurous of you, but if you are well organized and if you have a reasonable schedule, it would be a shame not to enjoy your stopover!
That said, if you're too stressed to try the adventure, there is a practical solution that might interest you.
Some airports (including Changi in Singapore) offer free bus tours. The bus respects a precise timing and return to the airport at the end, which limits the risk of to miss the plane. Still it is necessary that your flight schedule be compatible with the bus tours! Check the website of each airport to find more information.
Whatever you choose, I recommend you to travel as lightly as possible. In addition to passports, each passenger should always carry a copy of the electronic tickets and a map of the public transport network.
Plan your city visit on the return trip because the prospect of visiting an Asian city is a nice final touch that will extend your holidays and break the monotony of the return flight.
Can I Book My Plane Tickets Without Travel Agencies?
In reality you do not really have the choice and you have to book your tickets all by yourself. Most airlines have removed the paid back commissions to travel agencies, which means that these agencies have no reasons to help you anymore (they won't earn money to book your flight).
In practice, booking a flight to New Zealand is easy and can be done by anyone. The comparator tool we provide on Kiwipal works with Google Flight and without advertising.
Before considering booking plane tickets (but the advice is also valid for hotels and vehicles), you may contact your bank to temporarily ask a rise of the authorized debit limit of your credit card.
Because the transaction could be declined by your bank if you exceed the ceiling defined in your contract!
You will realize that tickets' prices are slightly lower if you accept to arrive and leave from the same airport in New Zealand.
However, if landing in Auckland and leaving from Christchurch costs a little more, you do not really have much choice if you want to visit both islands of the country.
Booking plane tickets is so easy it could be done by children.
The operation is very easy on the Internet but you will need your passports, because their numbers will have to be entered in a form during the passenger registration process.
Even if it is a bit more expensive, this is often better to land in Auckland and to leave from Christchurch.
It is usually at the end of the booking process that the airline will specify the number of authorized baggage (you will pay an extra for any additional luggage). The dimensions and weights allowed are also mentioned, and should be respected. Make sure also to note the boarding time and the limit to register your luggage.
In this regard, if you want to subscribe to a cancelation insurance (or a complete travel insurance), I recommend reading ourpractical guide about insurance for New Zealand. Keep in mind that any cancelation insurance must be purchased within the 48 hours following the booking of the holidays.
The airlines usually consider multiple stopovers as separate trips: Extending a stopover for a few days (for example to visit Sidney) can explode your budget! In this case, I recommend that you contact the airline by phone to negotiate a lower rate (the result is not guaranteed, but you can have a nice surprise).
To make your flight more enjoyable and reduce fatigue, I recommend you also read our special guide about the flight from Europe to New Zealand. You'll find practical advice to sleep better and fight jet lag.
How to Get the Cheapest Plane Tickets?
Booking plane tickets impact the full organization of your stay. Accommodation, vehicle hire ... nothing is possible without knowing the date of your arrival in New Zealand.
Airlines equipped with Airbus A380 models are the first to be fully booked. If you wait until the last minute, you may pay your trip 20% more expensive, or you will have to book Asian airlines far less comfortable.
In your quest for the lowest price, you sometimes come across deals offered $300 cheaper than the average, but with the express condition to multiply stopovers.
A false economy because you spend money between each flight and you will arrive exhausted in New Zealand to start your holidays.
Actually, the major reason why it is so difficult to find an airline ticket at a reasonable price remains largely unknown to the general public. Airlines' websites are able to track your visits and the nature of your research on their pages.
As if by magic, the flight of your dreams sees its price increase for no apparent reason overnight. When it is not the number of seats that melts like the snow in the sun while you are urged to book the “last available seat”.
The airline companies will always seek to sell their seats at the most expensive price, but they sometimes use dirty tricks.
There is a technique called the IP Tracking that should be banned by the European Union. Most airlines foresee sanctions and gradually abandon such questionable business practices, but you’d better know how it works.
To escape IP Tracking you should avoid to search for plane tickets price at home, and use your office computer for this purpose.
Then, you will book directly from your home and the airlines won't be able to recognize you and raise the tickets price. But there is an easier solution…
Use Kiwipal's search tool that works with Google Flight to find the best price. Then visit the airline's website to book directly, but beware: do not book at any time of the day!
The rates charged by airlines are stable during the week, but revised upwards during the weekend. Studies by consumer associations have shown that one must avoid booking the Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and try instead to book on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
I recommend you also book between 4 and 6 am when everyone is asleep, because the booking fees are sometimes offered in these time slots. Sure, it implies to stay awake by night, but if you want to save every penny, the game is worth the candle. In any case, do not book between 20h and midnight (i.e. like everyone else) because prices rise during this interval.
Can I Take Domestic Flights in New Zealand?
You are hardly likely to take domestic flights during a first visit to New Zealand. The essential steps of a road trip being adjacent to each other, the plane is rarely considered as a solution. However, domestic flights become attractive for the second stay in the country.
Let's consider the scenario of a first itinerary where you would have partially explored the two main islands of the country. During a second trip, it could be wise to take domestic flights to avoid repeating the same journey or accessing new areas faster.
By plane, you could spare yourself several days of driving, traveling from north to south without paying a car rental and a ferry crossing. The 2-hour flight connecting Auckland to Queenstown diminish the fatigue of a long driving, not including savings!
If you hesitate between the two main companies to fly over New Zealand, I recommend choosing JetStar which is a low-cost division of Qantas, the best Australian company whose rates are very affordable.
Air New Zealand certainly offers a better service on board, but for a flight between 45 minutes and 2 hours at maximum, the comfort is far less important than the price.
For the rest, the practical advice to book a domestic flight is similar to those already mentioned for long-haul flights. Here are some prices to give you an idea of the average budget if you book at least four months in advance.
|ONE WAY FLIGHT||ESTIMATED RATE|
|Auckland - Christchurch||$ 95|
|Auckland - Wellington||$ 70|
|Auckland - Queenstown||$ 100|
|Auckland - Dunedin||$ 150|
|Auckland - Rotorua||$ 95|
If there are car rental companies in international airports, this is not always the case at secondary airports (even more if you want to hire a camper van).
New Zealand's Airports
New Zealand has six international airports that can be classified in order of importance: Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington, Rotorua, Queenstown and Dunedin. To this list we should add small airports served by local flights like Nelson, Blenheim, Kaitaia ...
Nevertheless, and although they are international airports, Wellington, Rotorua, Queenstown and Dunedin essentially receive flights from Australia and the neighboring islands of the South Pacific. If you come from Europe, and without a transit through Australia, you cannot arrive or leave from these airports.
Do not make the mistake of not taking seriously the biosecurity controls under penalty of heavy fines!
In any case, the arrival in New Zealand implies to crossbiosecurity controls.
Customs officers do not take the matter lightly, and you would be well advised to consult our other guide about the way to prepare your luggage.
Like 99% of the visitors, you will probably begin your stay at Auckland on the North Island, and will certainly end your road trip at Christchurch on the South Island. The two main airports of New Zealand are excellent and well served by roads and public transport, even if one may regret the lack of subways or trains.
The airports of the country are always located nearby cities, and they are very well served.
Auckland's Airport is about twenty kilometers from the Sky Tower, and a shuttle only take half an hour to drop you at your hotel downtown (even less if you stay close to the airport for the first night). Christchurch has an airport which is even easier to access,because it is located only 10 km from the historic center, and the distance can be covered in a record time (20 minutes on average).
I must warn you against the temptation to rent a car as soon as you arrive in New Zealand.
After a 24-hour-long flight, with bad sleep, you are not in the good conditions to drive ! Give yourself a good night's sleep in a real bed, followed by a day of rest before starting your road trip.
Anyway, if you arrive late in the evening, car rental agencies (and the camper van agencies too) will be closed at the airport.
This reminds me that I promised that we would talk about the choice of your arrival time in New Zealand.
Auckland Airport Christchurch Airport Dunedin Airport Queenstown Airport Rotorua Airport Wellington Airport
Given the increase in traffic accidents caused by foreign travelers in the 24 hours after an international flight, New Zealand plans to ban the possibility to rent a vehicle during this time interval.
Should I Arrive in the Morning or the Evening?
If there's one issue that bothers future travelers when they choose their airline tickets, it is to know whether they should arrive in New Zealand in the evening or at sunrise.
You should know that most airlines have fixed schedules. Singapore Airlines for example, you typically board in the morning to arrive in New Zealand the next day at 11 pm (local time). With Korean Air on the other hand, it is the opposite and you will arrive early in the morning.
If the ticket price is your main criteria, the discussion is closed ...
But if you have the luxury of choosing, you should consider the benefits and disadvantages of each timing in particular.
The choice of the arrival time is too often overviewed by passengers while it deserves to be taken seriously.
Advice if you land in the evening
Arriving by night means you can immediately enjoy a cozy bed to have a good night's sleep and reduce the effects of the jet lag.
A considerable advantage to recover and start your holidays in better conditions.
But before the shower and fresh linens, you still need to reach your hotel from the airport ...
Because if you arrive late in the evening, public transport will be closed and you will fight for a taxi with the three hundred passengers who shared your flight ... You can forget the car rental option because the rental companies of the airport will be closed (anyway, and sorry to repeat myself, it would be irresponsible to drive immediately after such a long flight).
Under these conditions, there is a good solution that I always use when a friend can't pick me up by car. I book a Super Shuttle on internet and give them my flight number. The shuttle will be waiting for me at the airport exit to take care of myself with my luggage. You cannot miss this shuttle which is informed of any flight delays and all you have to do is to reach the airport exit.
The Super Shuttle company will send you a map by email, which indicates the position of the shuttle and a phone number to reach an operator in case of problems.
The service provided by Super Shuttle is charged depending on the neighborhood of your hotel. To give you an idea, the distance between the airport and the city center is only charged $43 for two passengers.
A significantly cheaper price than the one charged by taxis because you will share the bus with a maximum of ten other passengers.
The driver will make stops at each hotel to drop off passengers, which imply a slightly longer journey, but this can also be in your favor. The shuttle being prepaid; you don't have to pay or tip the driver.
You can book the shuttle by the Internet, not only to leave the airport at the beginning of your trip, and at the end to return to the airport. The Super Shuttle is available in Auckland and in any city of the country with an international airport (Christchurch, Wellington, Queenstown ...).
Advice if you land in the morning
Everyone has an opinion, but this is probably the worst possible scenario, except if you can sleep like a baby on the plane. This involves planning your sleep for a wake up that coincide with your arrival in New Zealand ... Easier said than done, because a plane's cabin makes you lose your sense of orientation.
And if you were unable to find sleep during the flight, you will be forced to fight against an irresistible urge to nap during the first day. Certainly, the excitement of the trip will keep you awake, but the fatigue that has accumulated is real and will finally win, as sure as two and two make four.
It goes without saying that in these conditions, driving a vehicle in a country where people drive on the left side must be avoided (I'm repeating myself, but it is for your safety). Your reflexes will be at their lowest immediately after a long flight, and even if you're feeling great, I suggest you rather spend your first day visiting a city peacefully.
Regardless of the time of arrival in New Zealand, there are two rules you should follow to the letter. Drinking water to rehydrate your body, because a long flight in an air-conditioned environment weakens your organism. Eat healthy food and avoid fast-foods that affect digestion, increasing the time to recover (resist the temptation during few days after your arrival in New Zealand!).
Remember that you can also book a car or a motorhome on Kiwipal.
After reading all these tips, you're ready to book your flight to New Zealand. If you have questions, I invite you to contact our friend Ben the Kiwi whose section awaits you below. And if you want to book a vehicle, our guides dedicated to car rental or motorhome rental should be helpful to you. Have a nice flight to New Zealand!
Questions & Answers.
What can I do for you? Once you have booked your plane tickets, you already have one foot in New Zealand! I'd be happy to answer any question about the flight.
- All topics ... 12 answers in total
- Airport 5 answers
- Organization of the Travel 5 answers
- Luggage 2 answers
- Do people speak my language in Asian airports?
No, the language used by airport staff is the English, but rarely your own mother language unless you are traveling with an airline from your own country.
- What if I miss my flight?
If the reason that led you to miss the departure is not covered by your cancellation insurance, you have just lost the committed sum. The airline does not reimburse its customers in case of absence at the time of registration. All you have to do is to find seats (probably overpriced) for a next flight, or to go home to cancel as soon as possible what can still be canceled (hotel, vehicles, ferry, activities ...) .
- Should we arrive very early in the airport?
I understand very well the fear of missing the plane, but arriving 4 hours in advance is not in your interest because you will sit in uncomfortable airport chairs, wait a long time... Be reasonable, and if you should keep a reasonable safety margin to get to the airport, do not exaggerate!
- Should we change our money at the airport?
It is not in an airport that you will enjoy the best opportunities ... If the sandwiches and drinks are more expensive than in a shop in town, it is because sellers take advantage of the emergency or the impossibility for you to do otherwise. The same applies for airport money exchange.
- Can we sleep in the airport?
By the way, the airport does not close and remains open 24 hours a day, which makes it possible to sleep as well as possible on seats. But I do not advise you to try the experiment or you'll arrive broken in New Zealand.
Organization of the Travel
- Should you take public transports when you return in your country?
I recommend booking a taxi, because taking the public transports after a 24-hour flight while having to carry heavy luggage is a very bad idea.
- Can we land in Rotorua or Queenstown?
Yes, but only if you have a stopover in Sydney, Australia.
- Should you rent a hotel near the airport if you arrive at night?
If it is nice to be able to lie down as soon as possible after a long journey, it is not ideal to wake up at 20 km from the city center. If you only spend one night in Auckland or Christchurch, you can book a basic room at an unbeatable rate just a stone's throw from the airport. Otherwise, book a room downtown.
- Can we benefit from last-minute discounts?
Off-season, it's possible to find last-minute discounts, but flights that depart in high season are often fully booked.
- What is the cheapest airline company?
No doubt China Southern or China Eastern ... to the extent that the quality of the service is mediocre if not bad. One can save money on the hotel, restaurants or activities, but not on the plane ticket! Arriving exhausted in New Zealand is not the best way to start holiday.
- Is it necessary to collect your luggage during the stopover?
No, they automatically follow from one plane to another, you do not have to retrieve them and you will not be able to retrieve them until you arrive in New Zealand.
- Should we prefer suitcases or soft bags?
This is an old debate that depends largely on the type of vehicle you intend to rent in New Zealand. If you are traveling with a motorhome, you must avoid the suitcases because you will not be able to store them in the vehicle compartments. For the car, it all depends on the size of the trunk, but the soft bag is often more convenient to maneuver.
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