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How to book a flight to New Zealand

A quick guide to landing the best ticket prices for flights

Despite our geographical isolation, many New Zealanders are well-travelled. We're naturally curious about the rest of the world and what is on offer in the big wide world.

New Zealand's Place in the World

Our nearest (absolutely gorgeous) neighbour is New Caledonia 🇳🇨which takes 2 hour 40 minutes flying time to get to. Australia 🇦🇺, and Fiji 🇫🇯are just a smidgen further away taking 3 hours flying time to get to. I say to many of our visitors from the USA that's we are a little closer than perhaps you think - get to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston or Chicago, and jump aboard a late evening flight, enjoy a delicious Kiwi meal soon after take-off, watch a film or two or three and then enjoy a sleep. When you wake you'll be landing in New Zealand, ready for an adventure.

New Zealand's isolation is often a drawcard for many of you reading this blog from your part of the world. We are a little further away, so it makes sense to spend a little extra time here if you can, and we're definitely worth the extra effort and time it takes to get here. But what's the best way to get here? What airlines should you consider?

One of the more common questions we get is "can you book my flights from <INSERT 3-LETTER AIRPORT CODE HERE> to New Zealand?

Well, we could. And in previous jobs I have spent many years scrolling through flight combinations and airline options for clients providing them quotes and prices for countless options.

Today though, we choose to spend our time focusing on knowing New Zealand better than any one else, and sharing our insights, advice and local tips with people like you. We don't want to spread ourselves too thin. We'd rather keep up to date on a new exciting place to see, or a dining experience, than worry too much about a seat in a bus in the sky that gets you here. Airfares can get complex very quickly, and we're more concerned about getting your time here in New Zealand perfect, rather than being sidetracked by the transportation getting you to and from our beautiful country.

So what's the best way to book flights to New Zealand?

You could contact your local travel agent, or I'm happy to recommend Vanessa Carmichael who is a great travel agent based in New Zealand that worked alongside me at Air New Zealand for many years. Travel agents like Vanessa do have access to specials that many online websites can never gain access to, and it's great to be able to discuss your options with another person - especially if you're wanting to stop off somewhere en-route or get a little more complex with your trip, like perhaps a journey that takes in New Zealand as part of an around the world adventure.

If you're keen to book a flight yourself online, my advice is to keep things simple. I would typically begin with Rome2Rio to get an idea which airlines fly from your home to New Zealand and what routes you can take to get here. Enter Auckland (AKL) as your destination as this is the most common airport people fly in and out of. Rome2Rio will often come up with a few surprises you may not have considered or even thought of, and will give you a good indication on costs you can expect to pay. It's a good website to just get a guide if you're not ready to commit yet. I've never booked a flight through this website though, deciding to go directly to the airline website each time I'm ready to book instead.

Secondly, Momondo is the best fare comparison website out there that I've found. Again, enter Auckland (AKL) as the destination that you're flying into and out of, and see what airline options and combinations come up as the best prices for your chosen travel dates. It will easily show you flight prices for days either side of the travel dates you select too, should you be flexible. Again, I've never booked my flights through this website, choosing to go directly to the website of the airline of my choosing to finalise a booking.

Put yourself in our place - Lake Hawea on the South Island

If you're not booking through a travel agent that you can get in touch with should anything go wrong, then I always suggest booking directly with the airline - that way should you need to change or cancel anything, you can deal directly with the company involved in providing you the transportation. In my experience, many of the online booking engines out there are not the easiest to deal with when you need to change or cancel something, and if you're having a stressful time changing flights for some reason, the last thing you need is poor communication to stress you out more.

Finally, another hint is to check Wikipedia and type in both Auckland Airport and your nearest airport. Why? Well if you scroll to the "Airlines + Destinations" part of this page, you'll see a list of airlines that operate, and you might get a surprise. For example, did you know if you're travelling from UK, Europe or North America that you have the option of travelling via Buenos Aires in Argentina? I wouldn't mind a quick 2 or 3 night stopover to perfect the 'tango' before continuing on to New Zealand, would you?

Things to consider

Most international flights arrive into Auckland Airport, which is located in the northern part of the North island. Christchurch, Wellington, Queenstown and Dunedin airports also receive international flights too, and can be great alternatives to consider, especially if you want to focus on the South Island.

Also, often the 'cheapest' flight may not be the best choice. I've seen flights from the Eastern Seaboard in the USA to New Zealand via China, or Dubai that are a great price, but before you dive in and book, consider that you might be spending double the time on a place than you need to when you look at more direct options.

Put yourself in our place - Taranaki on the North Island

Domestic flights within New Zealand

We do sell flights travelling within New Zealand to help get you from one part of our Kiwi paradise to another quickly, but as soon as you mention an international flight, we'll request that you arrange this yourself. We recommend you look at flights going into and out of the same airport. So if you choose Wellington, make sure you fly in and out of the same airport. That way, we can provide a connecting flight, to connect with your international on the last day, or we can create a nice loop trip for you which is often cheaper when it comes to rental cars etc.

Planning your trip to New Zealand

Before you travel, be sure to check if you need a visa to visit New Zealand.