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Hello LA! Delta makes history with new Australasian flight

Delta Air Lines marked a significant milestone today with the launch of its first-ever flights to New Zealand between Los Angeles and Auckland.

Delta Air Lines marked a significant milestone today with the launch of its first-ever flights to New Zealand between Los Angeles and Auckland.

Departing from Los Angeles International Airport at 11pm on 28 October (local time), Flight DL65 carried 339 passengers, representing over 90 per cent occupancy.

The departure was celebrated with a festive New Zealand-themed gate event, featuring a traditional Māori pōwhiri ceremony, New Zealand souvenirs, and iconic Kiwi snacks.

The flight landed at Auckland International Airport at 7:55 am, where a similar pōwhiri ceremony and speeches from representatives of Delta Air Lines, Auckland Airport, Tourism New Zealand and the US Consulate welcomed its arrival.

Before it left for the return leg to LAX at 2pm, flight DL64 departure’s was marked with informal speeches and a ribbon-cutting ceremony, featuring representatives from Delta Air Lines and Auckland Airport, as well as two of the flight’s captains.

The 12-hour flight service will operate year-round, with daily flights from November to March and three times weekly from April to October. 

Passengers travelling between Auckland and LAX during the November to March period will have the choice of three distinct experiences: Delta One, Delta Comfort+ and Main Cabin.

Starting in April 2024, the carrier will operate its flagship Airbus A350-900 aircraft on the route, which includes Delta One suites, Delta Premium Select, Delta Comfort+ and Main Cabin services.

Delta Air Lines
Photograph by Greg Bowker

Notably, the inaugural flight was made special by the impending retirement of Captain Sean Onitsuka, who concludes his distinguished 36-year career with the carrier upon his return to Los Angeles on October 31.

What flyers can expect

Delta One and Delta Premium Select passengers on the Los Angeles to Auckland route can enjoy lie-flat seats and premium offerings such as artisan-made Someone Somewhere amenity kits, eco-friendly bedding, expanded beverage choices pre-flight, and chef-curated three-course meals, among other features.

Meanwhile, Delta Premium Select passengers will have wider seats, deeper reclines, adjustable footrests, leg rests on most flights and an enhanced dining experience. This class also includes premium hand-crafted amenities and dedicated service touchpoints.

The Delta Air Lines team in NZ.
The Delta Air Lines team in NZ.

All passengers will have personal seat-back entertainment screens featuring an array of premium content on Delta Studio, in-seat power outlets, fast-streaming Wi-Fi (available for purchase) and complimentary mobile messaging.

Delta is the largest airline to operate out of LAX, with passengers arriving from NZ able to connect to nearly 60 cities across the U.S. and Latin America.

Last month, the carrier and Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) revealed the final phase of the US$2.3 billion (AU$3.6 billion) Delta Sky Way at LAX.

In June, the carrier announced it would double flights between Sydney and Los Angeles from 17 December 2023.

Read our review of the airline’s Main Cabin experience between Sydney and LA.

Also, check out our review of the Delta Sky Club Lounge at LAX.