Air New Zealand officially brought the East Coast of America a little closer to Oceania late last week when its first non-stop service from Auckland to Chicago touched down.

Air New Zealand’s Flight NZ26 departed Auckland International Airport at 5.00pm on Friday (30 November 2018) and touched down at Chicago O’Hare International Airport at 1.00pm (local time) where the cool snow welcomed first flyers.

Passengers on board the Dreamliner 787-9 spent 15 hours exploring the special aircraft, which was specifically designed for the long route with extra Business Class and Premium Economy seats.

View this post on Instagram

One of our bosses Tania Stranks excited to be flying on the Air New Zealand flight direct to Chicago! A new gateway to many USA destinations and the world.✈️ Air New Zealand is pleased to announce from November 2018 it will start operating services non-stop between Auckland and Chicago for a whole new chapter of USA travel adventures. Not only is Chicago one of the most exciting cities in the USA, it's the launch point for other top destinations – New York, Boston, Washington, Toronto & Montreal, just to name a few. Air New Zealand will fly up to three times a week from Auckland on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays to Chicago O'Hare International Airport, the non-stop service will be operated by the 787-9 V2 Dreamliner. #airnewzealand #dreamliner #chicago #Auckland #worldtravellers #travel

A post shared by WorldTravellersHamilton (@worldtravellershamilton) on

Meanwhile, back home in New Zealand and across the ditch in Australia, the airline celebrated the first flight by providing Travel Agents with a free Chicago-inspired pizza for lunch.

Nom Nom!

As the longest flight in the Air New Zealand network, Chief Executive, Christopher Luxon, said he’s excited about the opportunities the route presents for travellers and the airline.

“We’re excited to offer our customers a direct link between New Zealand and Chicago.”

Christopher Luxon, Air New Zealand Chief Executive

“With our alliance partner United operating more flights out of its hub of O’Hare International Airport than any other airline, the new service to Chicago will provide customers with convenient one-stop codeshare connections to around 100 destinations across the US.”

He continued, saying that he expects the route to also increase number of US visitors travelling to New Zealand every year from the current 340,000.

Air New Zealand’s direct service on the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft will operate Auckland on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.


Is the US city on your must-travel list for 2019?