New Air New Zealand route & pop-up event in Chicago

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Air New Zealand is doing a 3-day pop-up event in downtown Chicago to promote its new nonstop service beginning November 30, 2018 from Chicago to Auckland. The event features some sort of cubes / shipping containers with the sights and sounds of New Zealand and Australia and visitors will have a chance to win a pair of tickets to New Zealand or Australia. More importantly, this flight could be a good option to get Down Under if they release award space with more regularity than on most of their long-haul routes.

If you’re in Chicago and looking to stop by and check this out, you’ll find this free pop up event open today and tomorrow (9/21 and 9/22) 10:00am – 6:00pm CST at Pioneer Court, the plaza at Tribune Tower, located at 401 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611. According to the press release, they have three shipping containers set up with:

  • One-of-a-Kind Infinity Room: Uses panoramic sound, tactile elements and dynamic video content of iconic New Zealand landscapes and scenes of Australia.
  • Kiwi-Inspired Cuisine: Sample complimentary New Zealand-inspired refreshments including award-winning New Zealand wine, a selection of New Zealand cheeses paired with Mānuka Honey, a signature Flat White coffee and a specially crafted kiwi fruit flavored gelato.
  • Inflight Simulation: Air New Zealand’s seats are on site for guests to try out, in addition to VR and AR technology showcasing the airline’s Business Premiere cabin and the Future of Flight.

More importantly for most readers, this could mean a new path to get to New Zealand and Australia. Air New Zealand is notoriously pretty stingy with award availability, but it’s worth keeping an eye out. Here is the press release info about the flights themselves:

Air New Zealand’s new Chicago – Auckland service will begin November 30, 2018 and operate three times weekly, year-round with its new configuration Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft. The airline also currently offers nonstop flights to Auckland from five North American gateways including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Vancouver, Houston and Honolulu. It also offers easy connections via Auckland to eight destinations in Australia.

Business class awards will likely be hard to come by. If you’re able to book Premium Economy, that doesn’t look too bad. I’m not sure what the skycouch is all about, but maybe you don’t need business class to get a flat bed seat after all :-).

Hopefully this helps some folks find flights as Australia and New Zealand are notoriously challenging and popular awards.

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