Auckland (AKL) is New Zealand’s major international air hub and well connected to Sydney Kingsford Smith international airport (SYD) in Australia.
There are about 100 non-stop services flying each week on this particular trans-Tasman route, with the 1,340 mile flight taking around 3 hours. In terms of time zones, Auckland is 2 hours ahead of Sydney.
The following airlines currently serve the route:
Qantas - Australia’s main airline and Oneworld carrier flies 5-x-daily between SYD and AKL using Boeing 737-800s. Watch for “Red E-Deal” offers which normally start at AUD 500 return – this will earn Qantas Frequent Flyers 40 status credits. Business class is priced from around AUD 2,600.
Jetstar - Qantas “low-cost” subsidiary flies daily using an Airbus A320. Base return fares can be found for under AUD 300. Jetstar charges AUD 28 each leg for checked bags on this route. Flights are also listed on the Qantas website.
Virgin Australia – Flies daily between the 2 cities using a Boeing 737-800. Prices are reasonably similar to Qantas with 23kg checked luggage included on “Saver” fares. Also codeshares flights with Air New Zealand.
Air New Zealand – The Star Alliance airline flies 5-x-daily using Boeing 767-300s (2 flights) and Airbus A320s (3 flights). Air NZ’s cheapest economy fare includes only carry-on bags (7kg) plus a hot drink – priced from about NZD 360 (AUD 290) return ex-Auckland. You can choose to pay extra for checked luggage, meals, movies and lounge access. Business class is normally priced from around NZD 2,200 return.
Sydney-Auckland Fifth Freedom Flights: In addition to Australia and NZ based carriers there are other international airlines which have rights to serve the route. These can offer good opportunities for cheaper premium class airfares on wide-body aircraft.
LAN - Oneworld member LAN runs a daily flight between the cities (part of its service to Santiago) using a long-haul Airbus A340. The flight is code-shared with Qantas. LAN’s business fares can be competitive from around AUD 750 return. However, buy the fare ex-New Zealand and you will pay from only AUD 600 – excellent value and QFF members will pick up a handy 160 Status credits.
Emirates - The Gulf heavyweight flies daily using an Airbus A380 which originates from Dubai. Business class fares (upper-deck seating) are priced from AUD 1,600 return or about 40% cheaper if buying ex-NZ. A first class return ex-NZ costs NZD 2,500 return.
China Airlines – The Taiwan based airline flies 4-x-weekly between Sydney and Auckland using an Airbus A330-300. Business class returns cost NZD 1,400 ex-NZ and AUD 1,100 ex-Australia. First class fares are also available.
Exchange rates at time of writing:
1 USD = AUD 0.95 = NZD 1.20; 1 GBP = AUD 1.50 = NZD 1.90
Article last updated January 2013.