When planning a trip to the beautiful New Zealand, choosing the right airline can be a bit daunting. One name, however, stands out among the rest: Air New Zealand. This award-winning airline, known for its great service, competitive pricing, unique safety videos and comfortable planes, is a top choice for travellers from around the globe. Now obviously we are a New Zealand family owned tour company so it would be fair to think we would be biased in our thoughts on Air New Zealand, however we have flown ourselves with many airlines across New Zealand and the world - we always gravitate back to Air New Zealand. At this point we should make it clear that we have not discussed this article with Air New Zealand at all and this is not an ad, just a helpful guide to help you get into Milford Sound in comfort! Read to the end to find out how to get to Milford Sound the easiest way possible with Air New Zealand.
About Air New Zealand.
Air New Zealand, the national flag carrier of New Zealand, operates in major cities and tourist destinations across the country. It covers the far north of Whangarei to the deep south of Invercargill domestically and boasts an impressive international network across the Pacific rim.
The airline's primary operating centres are in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown, a popular tourist destination. From these main bases, it has multiple regional connections to the smaller cities around New Zealand. If you're looking to venture even further after visiting New Zealand, Air New Zealand provides flights to the Pacific Islands, Asia, and the United States, with Auckland serving as the primary hub for these long-haul flights.
Air New Zealand Booking experience.
Booking your flight with Air New Zealand is a simple and straightforward process. The user-friendly website lays out all the information you need in an easy-to-read format. Domestic flights have four options of booking. Note that all domestic flights are economy class.
For Australia flights from New Zealand, there are multiple levels of service with 'The Works' the most popular due to its inclusion of full entertainment and meals. Business class is available on some limited flights out of Auckland airport. See below the options.
For long haul international flights such as New York > Auckland, Singapore > Auckland or Vancouver > Auckland, class options go up to 'Business Premier' with lie flat beds, but also importantly include competitive economy pricing and seat spacing is surprisingly good.
Air New Zealand's fleet.
Air New Zealand operates a modern fleet of aircraft including the Boeing 777-300, Boeing 787, Airbus A320 & A321, along with smaller aircrafts ATR-72 and Bombardier Q-300 for domestic regional flights. The fleet has a current life age of 7.6 years (as of Feb 2023). The airline is known for its commitment to maintaining a modern and comfortable fleet to ensure the best possible passenger experience.
Air New Zealand safety videos.
Air New Zealand started leading the world in safety demonstrations over a decade ago with its fun, innovative approach. To this day they are very popular on board.
Air New Zealand offers a seamless check-in process. You can check in online up to 24 hours before your flight or at the airport as usual. The airline's mobile app also provides a hassle-free way to get your boarding pass without needing to visit the check-in desk. If you have check-in luggage, self-service kiosks are available at the terminal for your convenience. In some rare cases, face to face check in with an assistant may be needed.
Air NZ Lounge experience.
Air New Zealand takes pride in the unique boutique experience offered at its lounges. These spaces, found throughout New Zealand, feature a range of international, domestic, and regional lounges. International lounges specifically include: Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Nadi and Rarotonga. Partner lounges on the Star Alliance Network are also available in more than two dozen international locations. Check here for your closest. In Air New Zealand specific loungers, you'll find an array of Kiwi-inspired food offerings, from cheese rolls in the southern regions to locally brewed beer in the capital. The lounges also include a walk-up bar with a selection of spirits and barista-made coffee options.
Once you're onboard, you'll continue to experience the warm Kiwi hospitality that Air New Zealand is known for. All international routes feature dedicated seatback televisions for your entertainment. Depending on your fare type, you can access a range of games and television shows, or even the latest blockbuster movies.
For short-haul travellers (Australia & Pacific), you can purchase a variety of food and drinks. However, if you're travelling with a Works or Works Deluxe ticket, meals and alcoholic beverages are included. On domestic flights, entertainment is limited to the airline's renowned 'Kia ora' magazine, the Great Kiwi Quiz (a fun on screen trivia time killer) or simply enjoying the view of the clouds below.
Air NZ Skynest.
Air New Zealand's innovative approach to comfort is evident in their Skynest offering. First announced during the Covid pandemic, the Skynest is to be launched in 2024 on Chicago > Auckland & New York > Auckland routes.
This unique feature will be a standalone structure on long-haul flights, featuring six separate pods with fully flat bunk beds. This will allow passengers to lay flat and stretch out during their flights. The Skynest will be available for booking for periods of four hours on many of the airline's Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners. These aircraft are predominantly used on long-haul flights.
The cost of travelling with Air New Zealand varies depending on the season and other factors such as school holidays or peak travel times like Christmas. However, the airline is renowned for its competitive international pricing making it a popular choice for travellers across the globe.
A recent search on expedia.com of New York > Queenstown (closest domestic airpot to Milford Sound) in November 2023, had Air New Zealand ranked 3rd out of nine options and was the clear winner for options where a change of airline partway was not necessary. Similar results were found for all main Australian ports > Auckland, Tokyo > Auckland, Vancouver > Auckland and Los Angeles > Auckland.
Travelling domestically, Air New Zealand offers competitive pricing into Queenstown direct from Auckland, Wellington & Christchurch, with flights ranging from $49 to $149 on average.
Australians can fly direct to Queenstown from Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne and Gold Coast. It is important to note that there are also options with Qantas, Virgin Australia and the very economical JetStar for this route, however if pricing is competitive, we would choose Air New Zealand due to its quality service and New Zealand hospitality that prepares you for your time in the country.
Air New Zealand's commitment to service and passenger comfort is reflected in the numerous awards it has won over the years. Whether it's being named 'Airline of the Year' or receiving accolades for its innovative seating options, Air New Zealand is a leader in the airline industry.
Just recently in 2023 it has won 'Airline of the year' award from airlineratings.com. In 2022, from the same awards, it won 'World's safest airline'. It has also maintained a number one position for the most reputable organisation in New Zealand for the last five years running.
The all important: Getting to Milford Sound with Air New Zealand.
Sorry to break it to you, but this isn't directly possible with Air New Zealand! You cannot fly into Milford Sound on a jumbo jet, but you won't regret choosing to fly into Queenstown first.
The best way to get to Milford Sound using Air New Zealand as part of your journey is to fly into Queenstown, either directly from Australia, or through Christchurch/Wellington/Auckland if coming from further afield. Auckland for example has six - twelve flights to Queenstown every day, depending on the time of year.
Once in Queenstown, we recommend hiring a rental car, or taking a bus (Intercity is about $70NZD) directly to Te Anau, the gateway to Fiordland and Milford Sound. Once in Te Anau, spend a night there, do a Milford Sound tour the next day, and then at least one more night before returning to Queenstown (or extend your time in Te Anau and visit other areas of Fiordland such as Doubtful Sound, or walk some of the world famous tracks in the area).
Typically about 40% of tourists will travel directly from Queenstown to Milford Sound and return within the same day, however a growing number of visitors are choosing to stay in Te Anau at least the night before. This is down to enjoyment, relaxation and safety. The Milford Road is a very demanding stretch of road for drivers, with long winding sections and narrow most of the way. It is also a big day of travelling whether you are driving yourself or taking a tour. Milford Sound should relax you, take you into nature and indulge you - we highly recommend using Te Anau either side of your Milford day as a base.
A few suggestions if flying into Queenstown:
Book your flights early, Queenstown does fill up quick and prices can increase to match demand quickly.
Try to arrive by 1pm. By the time you get a rental car or on the bus, you still have a couple of hours drive to Te Anau where it is best to arrive before 4pm in winter, but summer as well so you can enjoy all that the town has to offer at night - good food and beautiful sunsets over the Kepler mountains.
Get a window seat, you won't regret it.
Is Air New Zealand a good option?
If you're planning on travelling to New Zealand and Milford Sound, choosing Air New Zealand is a decision you're unlikely to regret. With competitive pricing, great service, and comfortable flights, it's no wonder this airline is a favourite among travellers worldwide. So if the pricing & timing is right, then sit back, relax, and enjoy your flight with Air New Zealand. We look forward to seeing you soon in Te Anau!