London/Auckland routingBack to Forum
Anonymous9 Dec 2009
Does anyone have any advice on the best routing from London to Auckland? The most common option I see is via Hong Kong or LA – though I’ve heard LA can be a nightmare (US immigration aside) to transfer through.
Any suggestions would be appreciated: I’d like a balance between ease of transfer and ‘short’ all round trip and ideally one change of flight. If the best is either LA or Hong Kong, then an indication as to which of those is preferable would help
thanks9 Dec 2009
My first choice would be Singapore for ease of transfer and flights, second choice would be HK, or try something different and possibly get bargain with Thai via Bangkok (sale currently on).9 Dec 2009
Having done this many many times, I recommend Hong Kong or Singapore. Hong Kong is very easy and comfortable. If on NZ, two reasonable lounges near the gate, if on CX good lounges too. If no lounge access then it is still quite a good airport to relax in. Singapore is similarly good.
Avoid LA unless the fare is seriously good value, because unless you know what you are doing and in Business Premier on Air NZ, you spend two hours in transit in a holding pen.
There are alternatives via Bangkok, KL, Seoul, Tokyo, Shanghai, Vancouver and a couple of others.
Air NZ has a single flight number through HKG and LAX so no need to transfer, you keep the same boarding pass and wait for the plane to be loaded/unloaded/refreshed – except at LAX you need to fill out US immigration forms etc and have an unpleasant wait.
The other good one stop options are Singapore Airlines, Cathay and Thai, although transfer times for all of these are typically longer than the NZ options.9 Dec 2009
The fastest end-to-end schedule at the moment is KE via ICN, timed at 23h 25m from London.
Next is SQ317/281 via SIN at 23h 45m and then BA25/CX117 via HKG at 23h 50m.
NZ’s through NZ38 service via HKG is actually timed at 25h 5m, as it utilises the slower 777 throughout.
Personally, I like a c3hr stopover en-route to AKL in J/F, so that I can grab a shower and some quiet time. I appreciate that in Y you may wish to get there asap however.
I’ve transited LAX once on NZ and would avoid it at almost all cost when there are sensible SIN/HKG etc options, and others as posted above.
When pricing AKL, always check SYD too as trans-Tasman connections can be very cheap.
For a really off-the-wall routing, try LAN from MAD via SCL and enjoy some Latin American layover fun!9 Dec 2009
I flew a few years ago on Thai via BKK in First, with a stopover for a few days. However they have withdrawn First now, but the then relatively new airport & lounges of Thai/BKK were great. Easy connection down to Auckland, But travelling through SIN often now down to Australia, it is always one of the most tranquil & efficient ways to transit anywhere.
Will you stopover for a few days or take a daytime in Singapore maybe…i often fly LHR – SIN arriving 7am-ish then have a day in Singapore with the transit hotel in Changai T3, then down Oz on the midnight flights…breaks the journey up very well.
Depends on which Cabin you prefer & business seat. Check the aircraft carefully as many run older 777’s down to AKL these days…
I have to say the SQ Business cabin on the A380 was superb, but it depends on the deal you can get also…?
Thought of Emirates via Dubai?
I wouldn’t travel via the US either…9 Dec 2009
CX one stop via HK would be my choice every time. One stop in HK which has good facilities,shoping and lounges (better than S’pore. Just over 24 hours,one stop with many flight options every day. Four flights ex LHR and 2 ex HK to Auckland . NZ only has the one flight per day and timing perhaps not good.10 Dec 2009
Did this earlier the year in Y-class all the way from LHR to AKL. Flew BA/CX via HKG and must admit it was fantastic. Hit it lucky on BA, and got 3 seats in Y (on a 747) all to myself, then had 2 seats to myself on the the A343 down to AKL.
Routing is good because there’s a sufficient break in HKG, and depending on which connection you choose (and your passport type) an opportunity to take some time out to go downtown and breathe in some “real” air (not necessarily ‘fresh’ air). Connections are 3/5/8 hrs depending on flights chosen.
Excellent service throughout and would recommend it happilly for a Y-class experience.10 Dec 2009
Long haul in economy is hell on such a long route, so the choices with seat pitch vary quite a bit, from 34 to 31 inches, those 3 inches can be quite precious.
34 inches is available as follows:
Air NZ on 747 only (via LAX)
Thai via Bangkok
Malaysian via KL
Singapore offers it only on the 777-200ER which does one of the two daily flights SIN-AKL, but none from LHR-SIN (but SQ’s new economy seats on the A380 are wider).
NZ via HKG on 777 offers 32″ pitch, as does SQ via SIN on all other aircraft, and Cathay via HKG.
Korean offers 33″ apparently.
On business class by far the best are both Singapore and NZ via SIN and HKG respectively, Cathay’s new product is inferior to both with far narrower seats, although soft product is fine.
Emirates, Qantas, BA options all involve at least two stops.
And of course you can go premium economy only on NZ via HKG (or LAX, which has a better product on 747s), and first on Singapore, Cathay (when 747s fly to AKL), Malaysian, Korean and Emirates.10 Dec 2009
EK has some very competitive fares in J. Choose carefully to ensure you get on A380 which goes direct from DXB to SYD, then same plane onwards to AKL. I found the very long flight time (14 hr 30) was perfect for ensuring adequate sleep. As far as I could see, there is little or no fare premium between the A380 service and the A340 stopping-service.10 Dec 2009
Have to agree with OldChinaHand – only disappointment is that with fixed shell, the armrests don’t move as easily (from memory), so if you do end up with two seats to yourself on the A343, then it’s not nearly as comfortable as on an older seat.
ScottWilson – small correction: BA is a one stop service to AKL – the flight HKG-AKL is operated by CX but carries the BA codes and is BA’s preferred routing for AKL pax.10 Dec 2009
‘ScottWilson is very correct and I would only add that on CX they have the new economy shell seating on flights to Auckland. The advantage is that the seat in front cannot recline into your space as to recline these seats push back within their own shell. A 34’ pitch economy seat is not is not great if the passenger in front reclines into your space. With the new Cathay seat this cannot happen and your space is your own…..perhaps the better option is the 32 inch pitch of the new Cathay as you keep the space that you paid for10 Dec 2009