business class to New Zealand

Apr 11th, 2004, 12:54 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2003
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business class to New Zealand

My mother and I are hoping to go to New Zealand sometime during their spring/summer/fall season. The trip, from the U.S. east coast, will be difficult for her (and no picnic for me, or anyone else for that matter) in economy. I'm trying to figure out a way to upgrade with points, but am stymied by the fact that my business travel has my pts spread all over the place, and the airline on which I have the most points doesn't go there and seems to require a full purchase, not just an upgrade, through points on its partners that do go there (and I don't have enough points for that). I have about 100K points on Delta, 40K on United and 30K on USAir. The rest are under 20K. Does anyone know of a way to do this? We'd be willing to go on separate airlines/flight.
crys is offline  
Apr 11th, 2004, 02:59 PM
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Forget about USAir and the rest.

With UA, which flies to Australia, and code-share with Air NZ to Auckland, you can claim upgrade awards for 15,000 miles each way, so you have enough. HOWEVER, this only applies to full fare economy (Y or B class), which is super expensive to start with. So, you really don't save much over a regular business class ticket.

While Delta doesn't fly to New Zealand, their Skyteam partner Korean Air does. Again, you should be able to get some upgrade awards on them, but again only from full Y fare. Or you can claim the whole ticket - but it's 150,000 miles for business class seats, and you have to fly through Seoul which adds travel time.

Another way is to fly EVA Air of Taiwan. They have something called Evergreen Deluxe class on their flights between the US and Taipei, which has seats almost equivalent to business class seats on other airlines, but for only about US$150-200 more on a roundtrip (instead of thousands more). However, flying through Taipei adds to the journey time, and the flights between Taipei and Auckland doesn't have the Deluxe Class.
rkkwan is offline  
Apr 11th, 2004, 03:02 PM
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I have yet another idea. Singapore Airlines is starting a non-stop Newark-Singapore flight later this summer with the super-longhaul Airbus 340-500. These planes are outfitted with wider seats and more legroom, even in coach. The price will be higher than their one-stop flights, but you get more room.

Then connect Singapore-Auckland.
rkkwan is offline  
Apr 11th, 2004, 03:43 PM
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both suggestions about flying through Asia are very bad. The flight to the connecting cities will be almost as long as a direct flight to New Zealand from US, and THEN you are looking at another 12 hour flights.

rkkwan usually has great suggestions, but this time he blew it

Sorry rkkwan.

Forget about connecting through Asia.

Do I have any suggestions?

Your miles will not help you very much. Go to and look at their FF program and see if anything is possible.

The only other option is getting a consolidator business fares. You could possibly get a business fare out of New York for around $3000 per. Not bad if you consider that your average economy fare is around $1500.

On (a great resource for frequent flyers), you maybe able to trade your Delta miles for miles that could be used on airlines flying to New Zealand. One of the forums there is dedicated just for such trades. What would happen is you would offer your miles. You actually would ticket or upgrade somebody with your Delta miles on Delta or whatever? in exchange for somebody upgrading you and mom with their miles on the appropriate airline(s). So, for example, let's say it's 25K miles to upgrade on New Zealand airlines from economy to business - one way, you would trade your 100K Delta miles for 100K New Zealand Air miles. You don't actually give eachother the miles, just ticket eachother on the respective airlines because that's the only way possible to pull of something like this.
I used the above as examples only, as I really don't know how many miles it would take. You need to do some research on the airlines web sites.

Good luck!
AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
Apr 11th, 2004, 04:33 PM
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Hehe... I don't disagree that those are pretty poor suggestions, because of flight time. But I'm just thinking about the cheapest way to get from NY to Auckland without paying $3000 worth of business fare.

BTW, just give you some actual flight times:

JFK to LAX is about 6:00, LAX-AKL is about 13:00 for a total flight time of 19:00.

EWR to SIN on Singapore's A345 non-stop is 18:30, and SIN-AKL is 9:30, for a total flight time of 28:00.

JFK to TPE on EVA's one-stop is 19:00 (return is a 17:00 non-stop). TPE-AKL is 11:00, for total flight time of 28:00-30:00.

Anyways, I agree with AAFF that those are bad ideas. But some possibilities, for at least something slightly better than regular coach, even for just part of the way.

And I wasn't even thinking about connections, as you'll have very very long layover in SIN. Same thing in TPE. So, forget about it...


BTW, just give you some ideas with the fares. Depending on date of travel, you can get a discount coach fare on UA for about $1,000. An "upgradeable" B-fare is about $2,600. So, you may consider getting that and burn 30,000 miles on a roundtrip upgrade. Consider that the 30,000 miles is worth about $300-400, the final cost is about the same as getting a business fare from a consolidator that AAFF suggests.

Finally, I didn't realize that two of you are going. The miles I listed is only for ONE PERSON upgrading.
rkkwan is offline  
Apr 11th, 2004, 04:54 PM
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Another thing unrelated to your NZ trip. You shouldn't collect points on both UA and USAir's FF programs, just stick with one from now on, as you can earn United's Mileage Plus miles on basically every USAir flight.

It's a similar situation with DL/NW/CO. Just collect all miles in a single account.
rkkwan is offline  
Apr 13th, 2004, 04:56 AM
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I flew LAX to Sydney last year on Air New Zealand. The flight was not very full in Coach and there was plenty of room to stretch out. Somebody said this was because the flight was so long that they could not fly with a full plane because it would require too much fuel.Is somebody pulling my leg? Has anyone else got any thoughts?
Graeme is offline  
Apr 13th, 2004, 05:40 AM
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The plane that Air New Zealand uses on that route is a 747-400. It has a max range at max payload of 13,000Km. The flights from LAX-SYD is around 12,000Km. So the short answer to your question is no, the plane would not have any problems making the distance with a full cabin and cargo.
But, it' possible that there may be some strong head winds that for obvious reasons shorten the max range. The long range routes always have a emergency airport planned for just such situation. For example, Cathay Pacific 747 has this problem on occasion and what is suppose to be a non-stop LAX-HKG, will stop in TPE for extra fuel.
So, yes there is a possibility of the plane running out of fuel on this route, but that will not stop the airline from filling it up with paxs and cargo.
AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
Apr 13th, 2004, 05:48 AM
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A follow up to the above. For some reason I thought this was a direct flight to SYD, and it's not. I believe it stops in Auckland, which is even a shorter distance, about 10,500Km. So, again the plane would have no problem making the ditance with full payload.
AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
Apr 13th, 2004, 08:59 AM
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Well, while I agree with AAFF that Air NZ probably isn't restricting payload to make LAX-AKL, the range of the 747-400 depends on quite a few factors, including aircraft configurations and headwind, in addition to cargo/passenger load.

A few years ago, my DTW-SEL flight on a NW 744 has to make a fuelstop in ANC, even though the great circle distance is only 10,659km, about a 1,000km (or an hour) shorter than LAX-HKG. Strong headwinds during winter in N. Pacific in both circumstances.
rkkwan is offline  
Apr 13th, 2004, 09:16 AM
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Another factor could have been that the NW 744 was not the newer ER version - Extended Range. These came ou just few years ago and addd cargo capacity as well as extended the possible distance by about 1000Km.

And as I said above, even today, an occasional CX 744 will land in TPE due to the headwinds, but full loaded planes do make that route without stops more times than not.
AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
Apr 13th, 2004, 11:06 AM
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Yeah, those 744s that NW have are probably the first ones produced.

But from what I've read, the only airline that has the 744ER (or at least the only airline that has taken significant number of deliveries) is Qantas.
rkkwan is offline  
Apr 13th, 2004, 11:20 AM
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There are different versions of the ERs. Boeing started to improve them with cooperation of the engine makers few years ago. Every couple of years they add another 500Km or heavier payload or both, depending on the clients needs. The Air New Zealand 747 has a max range of 13000Km at full load. The older NW 747s have a top range of about 11000Km at full load. I beleive NW has some newer ones but they only have a range of about 12,500Km.
Boeing will mix and match engines and specifications to fill the needs of the client, and depending on the mix the planes could look alike to a naked eye, but have different capabilities.
AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
Apr 13th, 2004, 02:22 PM
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They're pulling your leg when it comes to the "full load" idea. I've flown on Air New Zealand 747 long hauls and had them be partly empty. I've also flown the same plane with Qantas and have had them be 100% full all the way to Melbourne (and back) - a longer flight from LAX than either Auckland or Sydney. We made it just fine.
Clifton is offline  

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