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Being a Chicago transplant, the realization that summer is coming to an end can feel especially rough. Fall is great and all, but I am an Islander and Floridian at heart. Alas, I recently came across some great news: Air New Zealand is launching direct flights from Chicago to Auckland starting November 30, 2018!

Launching a New Route In Style

To celebrate this new route, the airline hosted a fun outdoor pop up event right in the middle of downtown, a few weeks ago. Besides the pretty sweet insights about the location and the flight, there was some great food and a giveaway for round trip tickets for two! Here were my top takeaways:

Cuddle Bed Seats are Officially a Thing

Ok, they aren’t actually called cuddle beds but more are more aptly named the Economy Skycouch. The seats actually expand to fill the area into a large couch type bed. The idea is that if you are buying two seats you can purchase the entire row and make it a cozy bed. If you have kids or are a couple or want to spread out, no longer do you need to wish for good luck in getting your own row, now you actually can.

It’s not too pricey either. I asked my new Kiwi friends at the launch event how much it would cost, and prices start at less than $1000 per person for the skycouch. (By the way Kiki is the nickname for anyone from New Zealand, it’s also a yummy fruit they have plentiful of.) Which brings me to my next point…

Famous for Beaches, Mountains, Wine, Flat Whites, Cheese & Honey

In addition to a fun virtual reality experience, showing off the country’s beautiful terrain and picturesque landscapes, I was also able to try all the best New Zealand has to offer. Egmont and organic cheddar cheese with manuka honey to pair with your world famous wine is more than an added bonus to the trip!

The flights include these wines free of charge on the way so you can get into the spirit while in the air. Forget the crowds and tourist vibes, there seems to be a small town charm to New Zealand, definitely the place to go to relax in a natural space while still maintaining that genuineness.

It’s Not Just Direct to NZ, They Service Australia Too!

I’m super excited for New Zealand because I’ve never been but clearly have positive expectations (See #2). I have however, been to Australia and can promise you it is a must see experience as well. You can also fly into Sydney, Melbourne, or Brisbane direct with Air New Zealand.

I’m sure you are wondering who else offers direct flights to New Zealand, after some research, I can tell you this is the only direct option from Chicago. The take of times are all in the evening, allowing you to relax on the way there and wake up in paradise without layovers. When the route launches it will also be the longest flight to depart from ORD, clocking in between 15-16 hours and traveling 8,184 miles.

Fear not though, for you’ll be flying on the Boeing 787, the premier choice for these ultra long haul flights that have started to pop up all over the place. The aircraft was designed not only to be quieter than other planes but also provides special lighting, air circulation and pressurization to lessen the impact of jet lag.

Plenty of Flight Options for Every Budget!

You might be wincing at the thought of flying Economy for over 15 hours. Even with the fabulous Skycouch option and the fact that Air New Zealand is continually rated one of the best airlines in the world, sometimes you want more space. The plane configuration for this route also offers Premium Economy seating in addition to Business Class. The Premium Economy seats on display were super comfy for a price that won’t break the bank!

More than just providing award winning services or the “best lie flat bed”, if you’re curious to see what all is included while flying their Business Premier product, check out Mike’s review from his LAX-AKL flight this past May!

The post Air New Zealand Celebrates New Direct Flights from Chicago to Auckland was first published on Coworkaholic.