In just under a year from now, Qantas will start competing directly with Air New Zealand’s forthcoming non-stop Auckland-New York service with a little Big Apple route of their own. Kicking off June 2023 – with two ‘Points Planes’ nonetheless – Qantas will launch flights from Sydney to New York via Auckland on board a Boeing 787, designed to make connections to New York City a little bit smoother for both Qantas’ Australian and New Zealand passengers.
The announcement of the three-times-weekly service comes after months of staffing issues and rising customer complaints, to which Qantas has already responded with a planned ‘apology package’ of benefits aimed at Qantas Frequent Flyer members.
Given we’re still years off Qantas’ highly-touted Project Sunrise flights, which will take passengers from Sydney to New York directly, the new service should be welcomed by Aussies wanting to completely avoid having to deal with the uncontrolled chaos that is LAX. Flying through Auckland airport should be a much calmer experience for anyone wanting to land in the Big Apple.
After priming yourself with a three-hour flight from Sydney to Auckland, you’ll need to prepare for a 16-hour leg from Auckland to New York’s JFK airport. Timings seem to be considered to maximise convenience and help take the edge off the added stress of connections.
QF3 is scheduled to depart Sydney on Sunday, Wednesday and Friday at 9:45 am and land in Auckland at 2:50 pm. You’ll have a few hours before the service takes off the New York City at 5 pm, landing 5:15 pm the same day in the Big Apple.
QF4 will depart New York’s JFK airport on Sunday, Wednesday and Friday at 7:30 pm, scheduled to land in Auckland at 5 am two days later. You’ll have a similar amount of time to make the connection, seeing as the service won’t depart Auckland until 8 am to the final leg, which arrives in Sydney at 9:40 am.
The Qantas New York flights have now been put on sale with an indication that the service will kick off in mid-June. And as a way to celebrate, Qantas will fly two different ‘Points Planes’ on the route during the first week, where every single seat on board (in every cabin) can be booked at Classic Reward rates. Currently, that means a one-way Business Class seat would be valued at 144,600 Qantas Points.
Points Plane connections will also be available for Frequent Flyers based in Brisbane and Melbourne to use Classic Rewards for the service.
“We can’t wait to return to New York and it’s made possible by the delivery of new aircraft, which have been caught up in the delays that have impacted lots of airlines,” said Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce.
“We see significant advantages over LAX because Auckland is a lot better and [an] easier airport to connect through.”
While the service is all well and good, will it remain viable after Project Sunrise launches in late 2025? Joyce seems to think there will still be a sizable market for Qantas Sydney-Auckland-New York and has so far expressed optimism that the service will be maintained “post-Sunrise.”
To prep for the new flights, Qantas has also committed to upgrading its Auckland lounges, amalgamating the fairly dated business and first lounges into a singular “premium lounge” experience which should be revealed ahead of June 2023.