Source: Air New Zealand

Air New Zealand is celebrating four decades of connecting New Zealanders directly with the bright lights of Hollywood.

On this day in 1984, the Kiwi carrier took off on its first non-stop service from Auckland to Los Angeles, cementing Air New Zealand as the longest serving non-stop carrier on the route.

While Air New Zealand first touched down in Los Angeles in December 1965, its service included refueling stops in Nadi, Tahiti, or Honolulu, so 1984 marked the first non-stop service on a Boeing 747.

Air New Zealand General Manager Long Haul Scott Carr says 40 years of flying AKL-LAX is testament to the popularity of the Air New Zealand service between the cities.

“LA has long been a popular destination for Kiwis wanting to explore the city where movie magic is made. It also serves as an important gateway for the US and beyond, connecting millions of our customers to their destinations over the past 40 years.

“Likewise, for our US customers, our LAX to AKL service has been one of our most popular routes for connecting visitors to Aotearoa. The Kiwi experience really does start onboard with Air New Zealand and there’s no better way to begin a New Zealand adventure.”

Air New Zealand is celebrating its feat with a competition encouraging Kiwis to share their favourite flying experience on the LA route to be in to win Premium Economy flights for four to the city.

It is also kicking off festivities at LAX with an event at the gate lounge and departure gate, celebrating the 40 year anniversary with prizes, a Kiwi inspired photo booth, and giveaways for customers heading to New Zealand.

The Auckland to LA service has had its share of weird and wonderful experiences over the years. In 2009 Air New Zealand hosted a Matchmaking Flight (complete with a singles cabin, hosted by ‘The Bachelor’), LAX saw the launch of Air New Zealand’s Lord of the Rings Boeing 747 livery with Viggo Mortensen in 2003, and the airline even welcomed Queen Elizabeth II onboard in 1993 on her way to Aotearoa, making it the first routine commercial flight used by a British monarch.

Since 1984, Air New Zealand has flown daily services to Los Angeles (with a brief pause during Covid-19). Today, Air New Zealand offers up to ten return services a week from Auckland – Los Angeles.

Fun facts on 40 years of flying between Auckland and LA:

  • Since 1984 Air New Zealand has operated more than 40,000 flights between Auckland and LA
  • The airline has carried interesting passengers on the route, including Queen Elizabeth II in 1995 and even a Sumatran Tiger on its way to Auckland Zoo in 2022
  • Air New Zealand has carried more than 12 million passengers on the route since 1984