Airline review: Qantas launches new flight path from Auckland to New York
Flights from Sydney to New York are back, with a brand new stopover.
After a Covid-induced three-year hiatus, Qantas has relaunched its flights from Sydney to The Big Apple – but this time around they feature a brand new stopover to make the whole trip a little easier for travellers.
Qantas Flight QF3 Auckland to New York background
Flights from Sydney to New York are back, baby, and now they’re helping travellers avoid the chaos of the dreaded LAX airport.
Aussies can now stopover in New Zealand; the country welcoming their first Qantas flight to a major international destination in over two decades.
The launch of QF3 marks a new route for Qantas, with a stopover in New Zealand’s Auckland airport before it’s straight on to New York. Beginning with three flights a week (increasing to four from October), more than 1800 seats will be available on the route each week.
Why the change? According to Qantas CEO Alan Joyce, who was at the airport for a media conference before the inaugural flight, it makes it easier for Australian travellers to get there.
“Flying via Auckland makes it easier for travellers from all parts of Australia to access New York,” he said, “with the choice of 11 daily flights across the Tasman from Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne”.
Qantas chose the Boeing 787 planes for this new route because they had comfort in mind.
“Offering more room and fewer seats than most of our competitors, the cabins onboard these aircraft have been designed with long-haul travel in mind,” said Joyce. Besides that, the plane also has engines that can fly a little further, and the flight path has been perfected to get the fastest route.
Class and seat
Business, seat 11K.
Dare I admit this is my first Business Class venture? I am instantly hooked. You can be upright, lying flat or anything in between thanks to the thorough adjustment settings. You can also sort out your lumbar support and, my personal favourite, get a little back massage when your back is going numb from sitting down too long.
We had an actual flight time of 15 hours and 8 minutes (plus around three hours to get from Sydney to Auckland).
Check-in is open online 24 hours before departure time, although don’t be surprised if you’re required to check in at the counter, open three hours before departure.
Lounge and pre-departure
The Qantas Lounge at Auckland airport leaves room for improvement (especially if you started in the gorgeous Sydney port), but it has everything you need. Find food, beverages, powerpoints and comfortable chairs.
However, to match the new Auckland to New York flight, an upgrade is in the works to turn it into more of a luxury pit stop to rival other airports. No exact open date has been given, but it’s expected to be ready later in 2023.
Food and wine
Neil Perry continues his relationship with Qantas, so the menu is still uncharacteristically delicious for plane food. To celebrate this new route, however, New York-inspired menu items had been added.
The menu was made to be tailored according to your personal tastes, with four courses and up to four options on each.
As a vegetarian, I had to skip the caviar apperitivo, but I started with the potato and leek soup, moving on to sesame-baked eggplant. Both of these courses were absolutely not ‘plane food’. I’d be perfectly satisfied if I’d been served that in a restaurant in New York itself. I finished with a cheese plate, because how could you not?
In business, there was also a range of snacks (from peckish to substantial) that could be ordered at any time, and breakfast was able to be ordered ahead of time by filling out a form. Add to that a decent wine, beer and liquor list as well as soft drinks and juices.
Entertainment and amenities
The world is oddly hooked on the pyjamas provided by Qantas to Business Class passengers, and they just got a makeover. In celebration of this new flight path, limited edition pyjamas (and an amenity kit) have been designed by Rebecca Vallance.
The kits provide the essentials – socks, lip balm, creams and a toothbrush kit (always a lifesaver).
There’s no wi-fi on board as of yet, although Joyce promised there would be free high-speed wi-fi coming as more satellites were launched in key countries around the world.
There was a wide range of movies available, though the new ones weren’t particularly inspiring. The TV selection was better, and you have to love when they have full seasons available to binge. There was a feature to watch your movie at the same time as another seat on the plane.
A whole section for kids’ entertainment would have kept the young ones entertained, and a small selection of games for all ages were available.
The standard luggage allowance for business class is 40kg. It does increase for Qantas Club and Silver and above Frequent Flyer members.
You can also have two carry-on bags at a max of 10 kilograms each.
4/5. Service was amazing, as was the food. Wi-fi would kick up this rating, as would a better movie selection.