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Sometimes it’s hard to stay on top of all the new route announcements that come our way, so we’ve complied a little bit of a rundown below. As long as you can afford the fares, this should definitely help add to your passport stamp collection.
· Air New Zealand:
For those who enjoy flying below the equator there’s a new exciting route heading towards the southern hemisphere thanks to the folks over at Air New Zealand. The new nonstop is planning to fly between Auckland and Buenos Aires beginning in December of 2015, so you have sometime to get those funds—or frequent flyer miles—saved up. Things could obviously change in a year, but it appears that the flights will operate back and forth three times each and every week aboard some Boeing 777s.
· Air Canada:
Time to head out of Canada, as Air Canada is getting ready to send some planes and people to and from Calgary International Airport. All in all there’s three new options—first is a daily nonstop between Calgary and Nanaimo—that’s in British Columbia—beginning on May 1. Around the same time the carrier will also be starting up some flights between Calgary and Halifax utilizing some Airbus 319s. Finally beginning on June 1 of next year it’ll be some new service between Calgary and Terrace-Kitimat—that’s in British Columbia too, and yes we had to look it up!
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"The Most Epic Safety Video Every Made." That's actually the title of Air New Zealand's newest mini-film, just posted yesterday and coming soon to its aircraft. It's definitely worth a watch, and we say this although we aren't the biggest Hobbit fans. It's just that good.
Starring Sir Peter Jackson, Elijah Wood, other actors from the Hobbit films, and three actual Air New Zealand flight attendants, the 4.5-minute video has already amassed over 500,000 views in its first 24 hours, and you can imagine how many more will actually get to watch it onboard an AirNZ plane before flying off to the land of Lord of the Rings locations.
This fresh video does feature a few details you won't hear from airlines who haven't updated their safety spiels lately, like the note including e-cigarettes as part of the "No Smoking" rule, and the ability to use "lightweight, handheld electronic devices at any time."
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The folks over at Air New Zealand are pretty darn excited to offer up some cool seats on their newest non-stop 777-300 service between Auckland and San Francisco, and they're about to brag all over the Bay City.
Service between the cities isn't actually new, but the airline used to fly Boeing 747s on it. Now that those big birds have been retired from their fleet, the 777 is doing the heavy lifting. With this aircraft switch comes a new and improved cabin for the 12-hour flight, finally including those futuristic SpaceSeats in premium economy and the comfy SkyCouch in economy.
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Just when it seemed that front page focus on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner would peter out now that Boeing has delivered over 160 of them, the aircraft is again making headlines with the launch of a new version: the 787-9.
What that little "-9" brings is a bigger plane, as we've explained, and this week marks the introduction of the airliner to its first regularly scheduled commercial routes.
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New airplane alert!
163 Boeing 787 Dreamliners are flying the skies right now, a number current as of this week. That includes 162 787-8s and 1 lonely 787-9 for Air New Zealand, which only headed from Boeing's headquarters in Everett, WA to its new home of Auckland, New Zealand at dawn this morning.
That 787-9 won't be lonely for long, however; over 25 airlines have placed orders for more than 400 of the sleek and efficient jets. So why are we getting excited for yet another Dreamliner? The answer is shockingly simple: it's awesomer. Sure, the original flavor 787-8 is great and Boeing will continue to roll them out, but the 787-9 is, as Daft Punk would sing, "harder, better, faster, stronger."
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Good news for fans of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner—like us—as the latest and greatest version of the airplane has been cleared to take to the skies.
Just the other day regulators and rule makers in both the United States and Europe gave the green light for the plane to continue on its way to the commercial skies. The approval has been granted to the bigger and badder version of the plane, as this one is the 787-9. It will be roughly 20 more feet in length when compared to its 787-8 sibling, and of course that means there’s room for a few more passengers as well.
So far there are 26 different airlines and aviation enthusiasts that have placed an order for this plane, and all in all Boeing is getting ready to deliver 413 of the new jets. Air New Zealand is scheduled to be the very first to fly the 787-9, and their plane should be reaching cruising altitude—complete with commercial passengers—before the year comes to an end.
[Photo: Midland Intl. Airport
[Photo: Midland Intl. Airport
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We come across some downright awesome airline amenity kits in our travels, and the surprises of each zippered pouch can often make or break comfort on a premium flight. With this in mind, here's to our new series: Inside the Amenity Kit, wherein we unzip, unwrap, and expose the loot inside:
Hopping across the Pacific is not a short, quick flight by any means. Thus, any little added comfort is a welcome bonus for passengers on flights that approach 12 or 13 hours, depending on the route. With this in mind, Air New Zealand provides an amenity kit both quirky and functional.
Passengers gearing up for extended period of time on the airline's 777-300s are greeted with a small, light grey felt pouch filled with goodies to ensure a comfy flight. We flew in Premium Economy one way and Business Class the other on a recent trip, and were offered the same exact amenity kit for both.
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It’s almost time for Air New Zealand to take to the skies with their very first Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, but the closest we can get right now is admiring the new livery from afar.
You may recall that Air New Zealand announced that they’d be mixing up their paintjob with a couple different versions, and here's a preview of one, which retains the koru and New Zealand fern looks and logos.
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Last week we got pretty excited about United's news to bring some 787 Dreamliners across the Equator for the long trip from Los Angeles to Melbourne, beginning in fall 2014. While this won't mark the first flight from SoCal to Australia's cultural capital, it is the first for the US airline; United used to first stop in Sydney, then hit the sky again to Melbourne.
If MileagePlus isn't your preferred loyalty program, there are plenty of other options to hop on the nearly 16-hour flight down under. In fact, there are two other airlines running here nonstop from the US, making that long way over the Pacific.
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When it comes to in-flight safety, the last thing that probably comes to mind is a bevy of bronzed swimsuit babes frolicking on the beach. If you're Air New Zealand, however, that combination makes perfect sense. And, seeing as how the airline has a strong history of creative safety videos, it makes even more sense.
Using swimsuit models can be considered gratuitous, but this time there's pretty good reason for the exposed skin. The Kiwi airline has partnered with both Sports Illustrated and the Cook Islands to bring us this season's newest pre-take-off demonstration, Safety in Paradise.
Air New Zealand actually celebrates 40 years of flying to the Cook Islands, while SI celebrates its 50th year of showcasing the newest bikini fashion in tropical locations.
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An idea from Air New Zealand that practically revolutionized economy class travel is now being licensed out to different airlines to tempt flyers to book long-haul flights. China Airlines liked the kiwi airline's SkyCouch so much, they arranged to have it on its newest planes.
China Airlines, the first airline to agree to (what we can only imagine) a hefty licensing price-tag, will now include the roomy row of economy seats to its newest delivery of 777-300ERs. The keys to these new birds should be handed over by September of this year, so if you've got plans to spend some time in the air over the Pacific on one of these planes, you might get lucky.
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Yet another new Hobbit movie has the folks down at Air New Zealand all excited to launch their latest homage to Bilbo Baggins and Gandalf. The Kiwi airline has given fans of the movie a sneak peak of the latest release's namesake character by emblazoning a plane with Smaug, a mythical dragon of The Hobbit: The Desolation of the Smaug.
There's no doubt that Air NZ loves anything and everything Hobbit, as this is actually the second Boeing 777-300 to be wrapped with a Hobbit scene. Both colorful Boeings regularly fly between New Zealand and the US, which makes Los Angeles the best place to spot the new dragon.