THE launch of Air New Zealand’s daily flight from Heathrow to Auckland via Hong Kong later this month means agents will be able to sell round-the-world trips on a single airline for the first time in years.

It might not sound that exciting, but passengers now have a choice of stopovers en route to New Zealand. From October 29 ANZ passengers will be able to stop off in Hong Kong instead of Los Angeles, or fly via one destination on their outward journey and return via the other.

“We are giving customers more options when they are considering where to break their journey,” said a London-based ANZ spokeswoman. “Now they can choose Kowloon instead of Hollywood, or stop off in both and have a completely different experience in each destination.”

Travel 2 said the service had attracted a lot of interest. “Sales have been strong and agents said there is a high level of consumer awareness of the product which has been prompted by the great fares on offer,” said Travel 2 marketing director Alasdair Farrimond.

Although Hong Kong is a popular stopover for those travelling to Australia, until now most clients going to New Zealand would have flown via the west rather than the east. “The new service will firmly establish Hong Kong as a premier stopover for clients travelling to New Zealand as well,” added Farrimond.

“Los Angeles is already well established as the traditional stopover on the Auckland route but the new flights via Hong Kong will open up more opportunities for round-the-world business through LA.”

Of course, agents have always been able to sell round-the-world fares using a combination of carriers. For example, passengers can combine Hong Kong and Auckland by flying Cathay Pacific from Heathrow.

They could then return from Auckland via Los Angeles by flying a combination of Qantas and British Airways. As all three carriers are in the Oneworld alliance; one fare would cover the whole trip.

“We are offering clients a consistent experience when they fly around the world,” said the ANZ spokeswoman.


Sample fare

Air New Zealand has a special fare of £525 (£649 including taxes) from Heathrow to Auckland, which allows passengers to stop off in both Hong Kong and Los Angeles. Tickets must be booked before the end of October for travel during November and from mid February to mid June.


Sample product

Travel 2 has return flights from London to Auckland with a three- night stopover at the Metropark Hotel in Kowloon, seven nights in Auckland at the Mercure Windsor and four nights at the Holiday Inn Hollywood from £1,374 per person twin-share for departures before March 31.


Head to head


 Hong KongLos Angeles
Hong KongSanta Monica, Los Angeles
Best forOriental buzz, skyscrapers, discount shopping in designer outlets, culture, eating out, sightseeing, rambling in the New TerritoriesEntertainment (Universal Studios, Disneyland, SeaWorld), star spotting in Hollywood, beaches, shopping in designer stores on Rodeo Drive, taking a drive along the coastal highway
Best timeOctober to AprilJune to November
November weatherWarmMild, but possibly wet
Time difference+ 8 hours– 8 hours
CurrencyHong Kong dollarUS dollar
Three-course mealfrom £7from £18
Flying time12 hours25 minutes
Transfer time10 hours45 minutes