The Trans-Tasman Seven

  • November 1, 2016

Trans-Tasman travellers are fortunate enough to have a choice of 7 airlines when crossing the ditch between New Zealand and Sydney, from the primary departure points of Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington. As well as the usual Qantas, Jetstar, Virgin Australia and Air New Zealand, other options include Emirates, LATAM and China Airlines, operating “5th Freedom” flights on these routes, a continuation of a longer service to their home countries.

These last three are perhaps the most interesting, as you have the ability to try out some of the more “exotic” airlines that you may otherwise never have the chance to fly. Emirates, for example, offers private suites, showers and an onboard lounge, all of which can be ‘sampled’ on these shorter routes for, of course, lower prices.

Airline Alliance Frequent Flyer Program Aircraft Used
Qantas OneWorld Qantas Frequent Flyer B737
Virgin Australia Various Partnerships Velocity Frequent Flyer B737
Jetstar Qantas Qantas Frequent Flyer A320/A321
Air New Zealand Star Alliance AirPoints B767/B777/B787/A320
Emirates Various Partnerships Emirates Skywards A380
LATAM OneWorld LATAM Pass B787
China Airlines Skyteam Dynasty Frequent Flyer A330

Taking advantage of credit card reward points and frequent flyer schemes will put you in a position to redeem First Class travel for as little as 54,000 miles (Emirates Skywards). If you don’t fancy spending that much, Air New Zealand, LATAM and China Airlines all offer fully flat Business Class beds on the route, with prices starting at around 25,000 miles (LATAM).

Whilst 7 physical airlines operate these sectors, there are, in essence, 3 competing groups of carriers. Qantas, Jetstar, Emirates and LATAM are linked through ownership, strategic partnerships and alliances; Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia share a strong codeshare partnership, and China Airlines is a solitary operator representing the SkyTeam alliance. This is relevant when considering an approach to frequent flyer systems and overall airline loyalty. Sticking to one of the 3 groups will provide added benefits in the way of upgrades, status, accruing miles and simple redemption tickets.

When it comes to price, return Economy, Business and First Class fares start at around NZ$350, NZ$1300 and NZ$2400 respectively, across all airlines (although First Class is only operated by Emirates on their A380). On many days, prices vary greatly between the 7 carriers, so taking a good look at all available options and evaluating the frequent flyer benefits of each group is key to achieving maximum value.

The Trans-Tasman market is fiercely competitive, and dominated by several large carriers from all over the globe. Even if you are an avid frequent flyer with a particular alliance, using these routes to sample international airlines will pave way to some interesting and memorable experiences.

I fly flat can show you how to put your airline points to best use.



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