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Chicago is getting a new nonstop option to New Zealand. Air New Zealand announced on Tuesday that it’s set to begin nonstop service between Chicago (ORD) and Auckland (AKL), beginning November 30, 2018.

Air New Zealand will operate the 8,184-mile journey between ORD and AKL with one of its Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners. The route will operate with 3x weekly — Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays — year-round service on the following schedule, which changes in early March:

  • NZ26 Auckland (AKL) 8:10pm Departure ⇒ Chicago (ORD) 4:15pm Arrival — November 30, 2018, to March 8, 2019
  • NZ26 Auckland (AKL) 8:10pm Departure ⇒ Chicago (ORD) 5:15pm Arrival — March 10 to March 29, 2019
  • NZ27 Chicago (ORD) 7:10 Departure ⇒ Auckland (AKL) 6:30am (+2) Arrival — November 30, 2018, to March 8, 2019
  • NZ27 Chicago (ORD) 8:10pm Departure ⇒ Auckland (AKL) 6:30am (+2) Arrival — March 10 to March 29, 2019

The northbound journey will take approximately 15 hours whereas the southbound leg will take just more than 16 hours. The carrier’s 789 features a 1-1-1 seat configuration in the business-class cabin with 79-80 inches of pitch; 2-3-2 in the premium economy cabin with each seat offering 41-42 inches of pitch and 3-3-3 in the economy cabin with each seat featuring 31-33 inches of pitch. Check out this TPG review of the 789 business-class experience here.

A business-class seat on board Air New Zealand
A business-class seat on board Air New Zealand’s Dreamliner.

In addition, the Air New Zealand announcement comes with news from the carrier’s Star Alliance and joint venture partner United Airlines that it will be extending its seasonal service between San Francisco (SFO) and AKL to 3x weekly year-round, beginning in April 2019. Between November 2018 and March 2019, United will operate the route with a Boeing 777-300ER before switching to a Boeing 777-200ER between April and October 2019. Tickets for the extended United flights between SFO and AKL go on sale later this year.

The new Air New Zealand route and expansion of frequencies between SFO and AKL with United is a big advantage for the joint venture and Star Alliance partners. Now, the two can offer passengers a more seamless travel experience by offering each other’s route network when traveling between the island nation of New Zealand and the US.

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