Air Canada Adds Vancouver To Auckland Route (Awards Now Available)

Filed Under: Air Canada

This is a quick update from my post a couple of days ago to note that this flight is now bookable, and award seats are also available. There’s not a ton of space, though I do see a good number of award seats, especially in the second half of January (as of now the schedule is open for mid-December through late January). Some flights even have four or more business class award seats.

Your best options for booking these seats are either to redeem 80,000 Avianca LifeMiles, or 90,000 United MileagePlus miles, both of which are good deals.

Hopefully some of you can snag up these seats, since peak season flights to New Zealand are usually very hard to come by!

Below is the original post from a couple of days ago.

Air Canada will be launching seasonal service between Vancouver and Auckland as of December 12, 2019.

Auckland, New Zealand

The airline will operate the flight 4x weekly with the following schedule:

AC51 Vancouver to Auckland departing 11:45PM arriving 11:05AM (+2 days) [Thu, Sat, Mon, Tue]
AC52 Auckland to Vancouver departing 2:40PM arriving 6:40AM [Mon, Wed, Thu, Sat]

Air Canada intends to use a Boeing 787-8 for the route, featuring 251 seats, including 20 business class seats, 21 premium economy seats, and 210 economy seats. Air Canada has an excellent reverse herringbone product in business class on their 787s, and is working on installing wifi throughout their longhaul fleet.

Air Canada’s business class seat

As mentioned above, this will be a seasonal route, and is part of Air Canada’s strategy to better allocate capacity seasonally. Demand for Europe is obviously weak in winter, so it’s a great time to send planes to other parts of the world.

Air Canada’s current South Pacific destinations include Brisbane, Melbourne, and Sydney, so adding Auckland to the mix is a nice addition.

Air Canada is going head-to-head against Air New Zealand in this market, which in high season operates daily flights between Vancouver and Auckland using Boeing 777-200s.

While the two airlines have a partnership and both belong to Star Alliance, they don’t have a joint venture or anything, so for all practical purposes they’ll be competing with one another.

However, passengers taking Air Canada’s flight will easily be able to book connecting flights on Air New Zealand on the same ticket to other destinations in the South Pacific, including within New Zealand and to Australia.

Air Canada’s new flight isn’t yet bookable (as of now it just shows on their flight schedules page), though I imagine it will be bookable soon. Hopefully they have some award availability on the route, which would be a great use of Star Alliance miles.

On top of this, Air Canada will also be launching 3x weekly flights between Montreal and Sao Paulo as of December 11, 2019, using Boeing 787-9 aircraft. It’s impressive to see the amount of international expansion we’re seeing out of various international hubs from Air Canada.

Over the past couple of years we’ve seen Air Canada add flights from Vancouver to Delhi, Paris, and Zurich, and out of Montreal we’ve seen them add service to Tokyo and Tel Aviv, among other routes (some of these routes have been seasonal).

Bottom line

New Zealand is one of the most beautiful countries in the world, and it’s always great to see additional options for getting there. If there’s any significant amount of award availability on the route when it becomes bookable I’ll be sure to update this post.

What do you make of Air Canada’s new Vancouver to Auckland route?

(Tip of the hat to Thenoflyzone)

  1. @ James C

    I flew LAX-AKL on Qantas in 2010, departed LAX on a Thursday evening, landed Auckland on Saturday morning. So I joke that my 2010 was 364 days long – I flew back via Asia so didn’t regain the day.

  2. Interesting that AC is joining the YVR-AKL route. I used to see the big and very pretty Air New Zealand 777 parked at YVR all the time, so its good to see some competition on this route.

  3. @James, how about leaving Auckland and arriving in Vancouver “before you left”, lol?
    On another note, I always thought Air Canada had this route already for a long time? Good news although Air New Zealand probably still has the edge (especially if you’re remaining in BC).

  4. @ henry LAX — I’m not the one who claimed there would be an announcement within 24-48 hours. I never thought that. According to my sources, we’re talking weeks, not hours/days.

  5. Would be an interesting destination for the family, but the schedule isn’t very kid friendly on the way there.

  6. Air Canada has also been operating these 787-800s on Toronto west coast routes (YVR, SFO, LAX) all winter. Great way to fly from Toronto especially if you can snag a UA Business Saver award as I just did.
    My only complaint about the seat was a lack of storage:-(

  7. Any new flights out of Montreal are very welcome, indeed. That Sao Paulo flight is particularly nice, as Brazil has outlawed surcharges, so this would be a great redemption option for Aeroplan (or whatever program we end up with in 2020). It’s also just generally nice to have more options to South America, and Brazil, in particular, which has been a bit of a dead zone for Star Alliance.

  8. @Phil M… ummmm… Brazil has outlawed surcharges if originating from Brazil.

    If you originate in Canada, Air Canada will still hit you up for YQ.

  9. Canadian/CP air served New Zealand for many years till it collapsed.
    Flew on Canadian Dc10 in 90s from Auckland to Nadi on a Qantas issued ticket with Air New Zealand code share flight number!
    New Zealand is a very popular destination with Canadians

  10. Timing of those new flights are very connection-friendly to and from Australia. Although direct is better, it does add another do-able redemption option.

  11. The only people excited about an AC option are those who do not frequently fly with AC. TPAC route J class customers face the prospect of; 1. The ongoing broken seat saga, dubbed “Deflategate”, where one never knows if one will have one of many broken seats. It is rather telling that many customers are now taking mini camping mattresses into the cabin; 2. The exceptionally poor design of the seats and tray tables that make it most uncomfortable for side sleepers; 3. The ongoing dismal
    poor OTP. Have a look at some of the asian routes, especially YVR-TPE, to get an idea of how bad it is. The delays make the use of the term “connection friendly” laughable.; 4. The F&B quality is mediocre at best. 5. The cramped lavs. I just had an EVA flight and what a difference, plus the FAs kept the lav clean. AC is just not worth the inflated airfare. Air NZ, CX, JL, NH, TG all have options to AUK and all offer a better experience than AC.

  12. Finally some non NZ J availability on this sector. NZ J was competitive in 2014 but isn’t anymore.

  13. @Bob Yeah, you’re right. I wasn’t aware of that distinction. $530 CAD in carrier surcharges for business class on the YUL – GRU flight, and $632.90 total taxes & fees. Not so great after all…

  14. @jim I doubt YVR will get a Sig Suite anytime soon–the recently (year or so ago) renovated int’l lounge is admittedly pretty nice to lounge in but the same old meager slop to eat and a full on bartender serving drinks but no champagne and, wait for it, no sparkling, not even Prosecco (he offered to make me a spritzer of all things, I could of been on a CP DC 10 in the 1980s).
    @aniljak, oh wait, I was, and those CP flights were great, London to Sydney you could take extensive stops in Canada, Hawaii, Fiji, and incredible RTW fares

  15. Booked a couple of one way business class award tickets AKL-YOW (via YVR and YUL) when they became available for early March, Price: Taxes and fees only $44 per ticket (seems surcharges and other costs aren’t an issue on the outbound AKL flights.) It has turned out to be the best award ticket value I’ve managed in many years working the Aeroplan system. For this price, service and amenities don’t need to be stellar to justify gloating about great award value.

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