When planning your flight from New Zealand to Europe you are spoiled for choice. You have the option of loads of different airlines, you can fly from one of a number of New Zealand airports, you can go via several routes, and you have loads of stop and stopover options. Which are the best, however?
Of course you can simply select your flight based on price. If you don't mind taking a slightly longer flight, or you don't mind what airline you fly, this is an option. But the cheapest flight is not always the best. If you plan properly and are prepared to pay a little bit more you can get onto a flight that you can enjoy. You will also see things along the way, and you will arrive in Europe as fresh as possible.
Your adventure doesn't have to start whenever you land in Europe. Instead it can start as soon as you board the plan. Or even better: when you start the preparation with your travel adviser.
Turn Left Or Right?
The shortest route to Europe is to fly to the USA and then across the Atlantic. Airlines like Air New Zealand and Lufthansa offer these routes with stops in places like Los Angeles or San Francisco.
The other option is to head west over Asia, often with refueling / transit stops in places like Dubai, Hong Kong, or Singapore.
The exact flight times vary, but they are roughly 24 hours long. Which is the best though?
For us the route across Asia is the best for three main reasons. Firstly, the airports where you stop for fuel are more interesting. Secondly we prefer stopovers in these locations, and you can get fantastic deals on hotels. Finally, this direction is better for beating jet lag.
Your body handles jet lag better when you are travelling west. When you go in this direction you have to deal with the day getting shorter, which is easier to do. And as we like to hit the ground running when we arrive in Europe, beating jet lag is important.
Stopover Or Fly Direct?
Another main consideration is whether you fly direct or opt for a stopover. A stopover usually involves spending anything from eight to 24 hours in a city where you can stay in a hotel for a good night's sleep. If you are there for longer than a few hours you can also get out and about to sample what the city has to offer.
We recommend having a stopover on your flight whenever possible. It enables you to see another city on your journey which is always fantastic, but stopovers also help your energy levels.
Firstly your body will deal with jet lag better if you break the journey up into two main chunks, with a nice, comfortable period of rest between. Also your rest in the hotel room will not suffer the same potential for distraction or disruption than if you try to sleep on the plane.
Your trips will be longer, of course, but only by a few hours - one day at the most. The reward is that you will arrive in Europe fresher and more relaxed.
Some excellent stopover locations are Hong Kong, Bangkok, Singapore, and Dubai.
I personally recommend a 2 -3 nights stop over in Dubai, as it has an excellent mixture of food, cultural and holidaying options like golf or beach activity, not to mention the shopping….
Finally you will have to decide on the airline. Again you have a lot of choice, depending on which airport you are flying from. The vast majority are excellent, including Lufthansa, Emirates, and Qantas. Most of these airlines include stops at their home destinations however. For example, a Qantas flight will often stop in Sydney before going onto to a refueling stop (often Dubai) and then on to Europe.
Air New Zealand offers the widest choice, however. In addition its flights are tailored to the New Zealand traveler, as opposed to New Zealand being one of the stops on a longer journey.
Our best advice, however, is to make the flight part of the holiday.