Update! Hawaiian Airlines have now jumped into this sale with return business class fares between Auckland and Los Angeles via Honolulu for $3,520. Sale fares are available on selected days from now until late June 2017 including holiday periods, and as shown later can also be booked to include a stop in Honolulu for no extra.
This week has seen some great return airfare deals across multiple carriers advertised for flights to North America.
We’ve written about the multiple carriers advertising sub $1,000 return fares to US currently on the market, however here I’m focusing purely on the ground-breakingly low business class fares the airlines have been a little more discreet about, and are available for booking all the way out to the end of June 2017.
Back in July we wrote about the commencement of both United’s and American Airlines US services finally bringing an end to Air NZ’s long monopoly on direct flights to North America. Along with those flights, a hope that finally some competition on the route would eventuate in some decent sale fares.
A couple of days ago these trans-pacific business fares were being offered at $4,000, the lowest I ever recall seeing out of New Zealand, then AA dropped theirs again to $3,499 followed by Air NZ reducing theirs to $3,534.
At this point United hasn’t jumped into this duel, however Qantas appear to be offering business fares to LAX via their Brisbane 747 service for $3,666.
I say appear, because the only booking link from Google Flights resulting in this price is through the AA site via their ‘QandAA’ partnership agreement.
United’s current absence has made this a solely LAX deal on the US destination front, however for departures both Air NZ and AA are offering NZ domestic connections to either service for little or no extra cost.
Adding to this AA is also providing the option to connect to their SYD-LAX service for the same price. Added free Trans-Tasman connections are available with Qantas from Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, as well as LATAM from Auckland (Given the choice I’d opt for LATAM’s Trans-Tasman Dreamliner service).
Searching for Flights
The easiest way to check for availability is through Google Flights, just remember to set the currency to display in NZ$.
After setting LAX as the destination and your preferred departure point, for these examples I’ve used Auckland, select the required cabin class and number of passengers.
Utilise Google Flights’ calendar to display best price departure dates, just be aware that if you search multiple passengers Google Flights will display the total booking cost which can get a little confusing, I find it much easier to search for a single ticket first.
A big bonus with these fares is that not only is availability showing all the way through to the end of June next year, but either one or both airlines have the deal bookable through all school holiday periods up until then too.
Term 3 Holidays: 24th Sep – 9th Oct 2016
Plenty of availability most days with AA but nothing showing from Air NZ.
Xmas Holidays: Late Dec 2016 – End Jan 2017
Only a few selected days throughout this peak travel period, more available with Air NZ than AA.
Term 1 Holidays: 14th – 30th April 2017
Fully open availability across the whole calendar with both AA & Air NZ.
Term 2 Holidays: 8th – 23rd July 2017
Neither deal is bookable in July, however if the outgoing flight is booked with AA before the end of June, it’s possible to return any date in July with the sale price still standing. The Air NZ availability finishes on 10th June.
Surprisingly I also found that this deal can also be booked as a one-way journey for half the cost, great for those just looking to get to North America and head off on an adventure from there.
After selecting the dates and specific flights that best suit your travel arrangements, Google Flights will display links which when selected should direct you to the specific site to book.
American Airlines – AKL-LAX
Air New Zealand – AKL-LAX
Ignore the links to United and the US-based OTA sites, just select to check price with either Air NZ or Expedia.
If booking through Air NZ the site will still offer you the option to select either of their direct LAX flights, whereas Expedia will take you straight to the exact chosen flights ready for booking.
Hawaiian Airlines – AKL-LAX
It’s best to link through to Hawaiian’s own site to book this sale fare as at this point it doesn’t appear to be showing up on Expedia. Just be aware that you may have to search the flights again with Hawaiian as the data doesn’t seem to make it through the link.
These are the best business class fares to North America I can remember flying out of New Zealand, and better still they are available through most school holiday periods and from numerous NZ domestic locations.
Now Hawaiian Airlines have jumped into the mix the option is also there to combine with a few days in Hawaii into the trip.
If you have been considering travelling to the US sometime in the next year, and have the budget to book business class, I suggest you jump into this offer quickly.
We are unaware of how long this sale will last for, except to say that the coinciding economy fare sale currently appears to finish on 5th September. Either way there’s no guarantee that availability will hang around for crucial holiday periods so if you have confirmed dates book now to save disappointment.
Kiwi travellers have long had to suffer with way over-priced airfares to the US particularly in business, hopefully these current excellent sale fares are just a sign of what we can expect from the new competition in the future.
Airfare deals are typically only available on limited dates. Fares may disappear quickly, so we suggest booking as soon as you are confident in your travel dates.