Air New Zealand Sets New Flight Record
Air New Zealand flight NZ26 successfully completed the longest flight in the airline's history when it touched down at O'Hare International Airport (ORD) in Chicago on November 30, 2018. The flight — which departed from Auckland (AKL) — covered around 8,200 miles. In what was surely a welcome relief to passengers and crew after being airborne for more than 14 hours, the aircraft actually arrived about 30 minutes ahead of schedule.
The route is being flown by a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. The plane's current configuration allows for 302 passengers. The cabin features three classes of service. The Business Premier Cabin has 18 fully lie-flat beds arranged in a 1-1-1 layout. Premium Economy — 21 seats — is configured in a 2-3-2 seating arrangement, while Economy is a typical 3-3-3 with room for another 263 passengers. For passengers wanting to travel in a bit more comfort in the back of the plane, Air New Zealand's Skycouch is available, letting passengers sleep the miles away in Economy.
It was a historic day for O'Hare as well. This flight now marks the longest route by any carrier flying into ORD. The previous record holder is the ORD to Hong Kong (HKG) flights operated by Cathay Pacific and United Airlines. Flights headed to Asia from ORD have the benefit of flying a great circle route to get there. However, with the rise of ultra-long-haul flights coupled with ORD making a concerted effort to attract more international flights, this new record might not last that long.
The flight is currently scheduled for service three times a week from ORD: Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.