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American Launching Service from Los Angeles to Auckland, New Zealand

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Monday night, American Airlines hinted at an announcement of new flights to New Zealand with the tweet: “Kiwis make for #GreatMates too. Learn more tomorrow.” Sure enough, this week American Airlines announced a new route between Los Angeles (LAX) and Auckland, New Zealand (AKL)!

This new route will start in June 2016, utilizing American Airlines ever-growing fleet of Boeing 787-8 Dreamliners.

American Airlines' 787 Dreamliner Business Class cabin.
American Airlines’ 787 Dreamliner Business Class cabin. Photo courtesy of American Airlines.

The AA Dreamliners do not have a first-class cabin, but there are still plenty of seats with space and amenities: 28 lie-flat business class seats and 57 Main Cabin Extra seats, in addition to 141 standard Main Cabin seats arranged in a 3-3-3 layout.

American Airlines already includes New Zealand in their definition of South Pacific.
American Airlines already includes New Zealand in its definition of South Pacific! So, we can expect these to be the mileage rates to Auckland.

Already thinking about booking with miles? Currently, one-way flights from LAX to AKL (via Sydney on Oneworld partner Qantas) start at 37,500 miles in coach, 62,500 miles in business and 72,500 in first. We expect that these rates would apply to the new flights on AA metal as well.

AA header
American Airlines will be just the second carrier on the LAX-AKL route.

Star Alliance’s Air New Zealand is currently the only airline serving the LAX-AKL route, currently running three 777s per day between the two cities. Fellow Star Alliance member United announced last month that it would begin flying a 787-9 Dreamliner between San Francisco and Auckland.

However, American Airlines will be the first Oneworld carrier flying nonstop between the US and New Zealand since Qantas exited the LAX-AKL route three years ago.

Similar to the Air New Zealand flight schedules, the American Airlines LAX to AKL leg is scheduled to be an overnight flight — technically two overnights — departing LAX at 10:45pm and arriving just 13 hours later at 6:35am. The return flight from AKL to LAX are scheduled to depart at 1:20pm and arrive at 6:30am the same day.

American Airlines will begin nonstop service to Sydney on December 17, 2015.
American Airlines will begin nonstop service to Sydney on December 17, 2015.

This announcement comes just five months following American’s announcement of new service to Sydney from LAX and San Francisco (SFO), starting in mid-December. With the addition of these two routes, American Airlines has now added six new Transpacific routes over the past three years.

This announcement could not come at a much better time! The US dollar has recently soared against the New Zealand dollar, making the trip down to New Zealand much more affordable.

For most travelers, one of the largest costs to visiting New Zealand and Australia will likely continue to be the airfare. If you do not have enough AAdvantage miles to book a roundtrip, top off your account by signing up for the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select MasterCard, which is currently offering an increased 50,000-mile sign-up bonus after spending $3,000 in the first three months.

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