News

ANZ and Star offer RTW routing avoiding the US

1 Mar 2007 by business traveller

This winter sees Air New Zealand (ANZ) launch a non-stop Vancouver to Auckland service, and it's one which will enable round-the-world (RTW) passengers to avoid the US. Flight time is around 14 hours which is some six hours faster than existing routings via US gateways such as Los Angeles or San Francisco.

In recent years a number of readers planning RTW trips which do not include the US have contacted Business Traveller asking for advice on alternative routings. Stiffer US checks have discouraged transit passengers (those having no intention to stay in the US) as they find they are photographed and fingerprinted and may have to reclaim and recheck their bags. Moreover some nationals may need to obtain a visa. Passengers taking ANZ's London-Los Angeles-Auckland service have made their feelings known to ANZ (see Online News, February 9, 2006).

For RTW travellers wishing to cover Australasia but not the US, it has been nigh impossible unless you were prepared to pay a lot more and add thousands of miles to your trip by returning to Europe from the Antipodes via an Asian hub (like Tokyo or Hong Kong) or via South America.

But the new three times a week ANZ service solves the problem. It will be code-shared with Air Canada and will offer a non-stop link between New Zealand and Canada from where there are flights back to Europe with fellow Star member Air Canada or, if covering the circuit westbound, onward links to Australia with ANZ.

ANZ offers fully flat beds in business class

ANZ is operating the non-stop flight with a B777-200ER between November 2 and March 28. The plane is fitted with fully lie-flat beds in Business Premier. These have been licenced from Virgin Atlantic and are similar to the ones found in Upper Class. Air Canada is acquiring the same seating for its long-haul business class which is set to arrive on UK-Canada routes from April.

Flight NZ83 departs Vancouver every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday at 1830 arriving in Auckland two days later at 0600. Flight NZ84 departs Auckland on the same days of the week at 1915 arriving in Vancouver at 1200 (the same day) after crossing the date line. It will operate between November 2 and March 28.

Says Roger Poulton, ANZ's VP for the Americas, "We are committed to creating at least one new long-haul destination each year and Vancouver proved an ideal strategic fit. At any one time we have more than 20 routes under consideration as part of our strategy to grow the airline."

Ironically it now means that RTW business class passengers booking Air Canada and ANZ over the circuit will effectively experience Virgin Atlantic's Upper Class seating without actually flying Virgin Atlantic.

In other news, ANZ's popular London-Los Angeles-Auckland will revert to a B747-400 operation this summer. The upgrade takes effect from June 4 and the service will continue to be operated by a B777 until then. Knowledgeable travellers claim that the B747's business class cabin provides more ambience.

For more information go to airnewzealand.co.uk.

Report by Alex McWhirter

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