Delta Air Lines unveils 1st-ever route to New Zealand, adds more service to Paris
Delta Air Lines will land down under later this year with its first-ever service to New Zealand.
The Atlanta-based carrier announced on Friday that it's adding a nonstop flight from its hub at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to Auckland Airport (AKL) starting Oct. 28.
This new 6,504-mile nonstop flight will operate daily using an Airbus A350. The new route will be available to book starting on Saturday, Jan. 21, and there's no telling how many SkyMiles a business-class ticket will cost. (Odds are that it'll be quite high.)
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Despite the high-profile new route, Delta won't fly its flagship Airbus A350 to New Zealand. Instead, it'll deploy one of the used A350s that it recently acquired second-hand from LATAM.
These jets sport a unique 339-seat configuration — internally referred to as the "35L" — that's split between a business- and economy-class cabin. These planes do not feature a premium economy cabin.
In business class, travelers will find 30 lie-flat beds in a forward-facing 2-2-2 configuration. The economy cabin has a whopping 63 Comfort+ seats and 246 standard seats.
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These planes are outfitted with Wi-Fi connectivity, as well as seat-back screens, power outlets and USB ports at each row, which should help pass the time on these roughly 13-hour jaunts.
In addition to adding a route-map pin in New Zealand, Delta will also boost existing service to Paris this summer.
The airline will add a third daily flight from John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) to Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) on May 25. This additional frequency will operate daily through the summer, though the final service date of the extra flight hasn't been announced yet.
Delta will fly a 238-seat Boeing 767-400 on the additional Paris flight, which features 34 Delta One business-class pods, 20 Premium Select recliners, 28 extra-legroom Comfort+ seats and 156 standard main cabin seats.
The new flight will also be available for sale on Saturday, Jan. 21.
For Delta, adding more summertime service to Paris makes sense. The airline has a transatlantic joint venture partnership with the Air France-KLM Group (and Virgin Atlantic) and can funnel passengers through Air France's massive hub in Paris.
Though many Americans look to visit Paris in the summer, Delta can also tap into the demand from travelers looking to connect beyond Paris to hundreds of destinations throughout Europe and beyond.
It wasn't immediately clear if Delta's third daily flight will come at the expense of any Air France frequencies, or whether this will truly be a capacity upgrade for the joint venture partners.
That said, the big news is the addition of service to New Zealand, which will mark the first time that the airline has flown to the Kiwi country in its entire 97-year history.
The move comes as there's been a strong recovery in demand for flights to the Asia-Pacific region following the reopening of many countries to American tourists.
Delta will go head-to-head against New Zealand's flag carrier on the new L.A. route. Air New Zealand flies between L.A. and Auckland on a daily to twice-daily basis, Cirium schedules show.
Previously, American Airlines also served this market, but it moved its winter-seasonal New Zealand service to its mega-hub at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) back in October 2022.
In L.A., Air New Zealand can tap into its Star Alliance partner United Airlines' network for additional connectivity beyond Southern California, and the airline can also offer travelers headed down under many short connections to destinations beyond Auckland.
Meanwhile, Delta operates a hub in Los Angeles, so it can sell one-stop flights to and from many U.S. cities, though it can't really offer connecting tickets beyond Auckland. All this growth comes as Delta invests billions of dollars into its L.A. hub with the recent opening of a brand-new Sky Way and modernized terminal facilities there.
Between this latest announcement and some other recent updates, Delta's network planners have been quite busy. Last week, the airline announced a new long-haul route from Atlanta to Nice, France, on the French Riviera.
The airline also upgraded its soon-to-launch longest route to Tel Aviv to daily service. The new route from Atlanta to Tel Aviv — technically a resumption from August 2011 — will commence on March 26, 2023, with three-times-weekly service.
Delta will upgrade the route to daily service as of April 10, during the Jewish holiday of Passover, and six days earlier than initially announced last week.
For more about Delta's network, check out:
- Delta is making 2 exciting changes to its newest long-haul routes
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- Best Delta credit cards of January 2023
- Delta adds new long-haul route to French Riviera, upgrades longest Tel Aviv flight
Delta's New Zealand flight schedule
Delta Flight 65: Los Angeles to Auckland, departs 10:30 p.m., arrives 7:35 a.m. (+2 days), all times local.
Delta Flight 64: Auckland to Los Angeles, departs 2 p.m., arrives 6:05 a.m., all times local.