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Air New Zealand Sends A Boeing 787 Love Letter To New York


  • Air New Zealand celebrates the first anniversary of its Auckland-New York route with a creative love letter, highlighting a strong and committed relationship.
  • The airline overcame early challenges, including baggage mishaps and weather disruptions, to serve over 112,000 meals and provide a memorable in-flight experience to passengers.
  • Air New Zealand announces plans for a facelift in the form of new Dreamliner aircraft, offering unparalleled choices and sleeping options, including world-first Skynest sleep pods.

Air New Zealand has always had a touch of quirkiness in its communications, going back decades to its first onboard safety video announcements. Yesterday, the airline found a new way to celebrate by sending a love letter to New York to mark the first anniversary of their affair.

Air New Zealand Flight Crew in New York City

Photo: Air New Zealand

On Saturday, September 17, 2022, Air New Zealand launched its new flagship service between Auckland and New York, and to mark the anniversary, Air New Zealand again showed its creative side. Rather than issuing a bland piece of PR filled with a bunch of stats, the airline penned a love letter to New York, which, while admitting to some setbacks, painted a strong relationship that is set to continue for many years to come.

The first flight departed Auckland Airport (AKL) at 16:23 on September 17, 2022, and was operated with a 2018 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, registration ZK-NZN and MSN 38182. The Dreamliner took 15:46 hours to cover the 14,207 kilometers (8,830 miles) flight and landed at New York John F. Kennedy Airport (JFK) at 16:09.

Air New Zealand AKL - JFK Launch September 2022 Flight Map

The flight departed for Auckland a few hours later carrying the prized NZ1 designator, which was once the flight number for the flagship route between New Zealand and London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR), a route no longer flown by Air New Zealand. Anyway, previous relationships were not mentioned in the love letter, although a passing reference is made to “someone else has turned up on the scene but we’re not the jealous type,” an aside directed to newcomer Qantas who joined the route this year.

It’s a long written letter and not a text, so much of it will remain private, so perhaps a few snippets will give you an idea of what has happened in this first year together:

“After 365 wonderful days, 311 glorious flights and thousands of thrilled customers later, we’re celebrating our best ultra-long-distance relationship to date. We’re the first to admit that long distance isn’t always easy, but with commitment, being direct and doing our best to always be on time, we’ve made it work.”

 Air New Zealand Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner Auckland International Airport

Photo: Jordan Tan / Shutterstock

“Every relationship comes with some baggage and this one was no different. We’ve carried thousands of bags and while 65 were (temporarily) left behind, we made sure everyone was reunited with its partner. We flirted with some troublesome weather, but we’ll never forget the three romantic dates we spent together in the tropics.”

It’s certainly true there were some challenges in the early days when flight conditions and headwinds on the route saw some bags left behind and unscheduled refueling stops, but those are long forgotten as the route churns away on its trans-Pacific flights. Leaving the romantic language aside, Air New Zealand has served more than 112,000 meals, 24,000 glasses of champagne and played 344,000 hours of movies on its Auckland – New York flights.

It’s a good time for a facelift

Even the best relationship can be improved, and Air New Zealand said that around this time next year, it will be getting a facelift that will make it look 19 years younger. That facelift will come in the form of eight new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners that start arriving next year and the retrofit of the current 787-9 fleet.

A photo of Air New Zealand's Economy Class Skynest with people sleeping.

Photo: Air New Zealand

Air New Zealand’s 787-9s will bring unparalleled choice for customers in all sections of the aircraft and provide sleeping options to all onboard. The world-first Skynest sleep pods will be introduced along with a new Business Premier Luxe, and in all, there will be seven options to choose from: Business Premier Luxe, Business Premier, Premium Economy, Economy Skynest, Economy Skycouch, Economy Stretch and Economy.

There will also be a Sky Pantry added to the Premium Economy and Economy cabins so passengers can grab a snack or a drink at their leisure and stretch their legs throughout the flight. The emphasis is on giving everyone a good night’s sleep so they can arrive refreshed and ready to go in New York City or Auckland.

Have you flown on the Air New Zealand Auckland – New York route? Let us know in the comments.


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