One of the World's Longest Direct Flights Is Launching from NYC Tomorrow

The route covers more than 8,000 miles.

One of the world's longest non-stop flight routes is coming to NYC. Starting tomorrow, September 17, New Yorkers will be able to fly directly from the city to Auckland, New Zealand.

At a duration of 17-and-a-half hours from John F. Kennedy International Airport to Auckland International Airport and covering 8,228 miles, the New Zealand Airlines flight is amongst the longest direct routes in the world. As The Points Guy notes, only routes that operate from New York City to Singapore and London to Perth, Australia are of a similar length. The flight back will be shorter, at a still-daunting 16 hours long.

Operating year-round, the route will take off three times a week from NYC starting tomorrow, just a few months after New Zealand reopens its borders to US citizens on May 2.

After two years of travel restrictions due to the pandemic, it might be difficult to wrap your mind around a 17-hour flight. To make the prospect of spending so much time on an airplane less intimidating, New Zealand Airlines came up with special arrangements tailored to the new long-haul flight. Premium customers will be able to enjoy an onboard experience built around the sleep ritual, featuring relaxing balms, sleepy teas, and snacks. The aircraft will be equipped with Zentertainment, an entertainment system aimed at helping passengers unwind and rest blissfully.

The planes will also be modified to cater to the long route. More Premium seats will be available, and 13 seats will be reserved for Economy Skycouches, an innovative Economy seat that can be converted into an actual couch after takeoff. The Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner flying this route will also feature 27 lie-flat business class seats, as well as 33 premium economy recliners, and 215 regular economy seats, The Points Guy reports.

"The US has always been a key market for us, and this new route cements our commitment to growing opportunities for tourism between the two countries," said Air New Zealand Chief Executive Officer Greg Foran in a statement. "In the six years leading up to COVID, the US visitor numbers to New Zealand doubled, so we expect our much-awaited, non-stop service to be incredibly strong year-round."

For more information and to purchase tickets, you can visit the Air New Zealand website.

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Serena Tara is a Staff Writer on the News team at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.