HomeAirlinesAir New ZealandAir New Zealand 'pauses' its Chicago flights from the end of March

Air New Zealand ‘pauses’ its Chicago flights from the end of March

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Update 19 April 2024: Air New Zealand has now said that its Auckland – Chicago route will now not return before “the second half of 2025”.

Throughout the winter 2023/24 season, Air New Zealand has been flying between Auckland and Chicago three times per week, and the same thrice weekly service was expected to be offered though the Northern Hemisphere summer. That plan has just gone out of the window.

Air New Zealand has confirmed that it will be ‘pausing’ its service to Chicago for the Northern Hemisphere summer until the second half of 2025 as it faces aircraft shortages thanks to issues with its Dreamliner Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines.

In the second week of March, the airline’s Chief Customer and Sales Officer Leanne Geraghty had this to say:

It was a difficult decision to make, but one that results in the least number of customers impacted.

We know this will be disappointing for customers travelling to and from Chicago during this period, especially to those travelling over the upcoming April holiday break. It’s not a decision we’ve made lightly and we’re sorry to make this change so close to the time some customers plan to fly.

Unfortunately, Air New Zealand continues to be impacted by challenges with availability of Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines, meaning we will now have up to three aircraft unavailable for an extended period, so we’ve had to review our schedule.

We made the tough decision to temporarily pause the Chicago route while maintaining our schedule of up to 35 flights each week to six ports across the US and Canada, so there are still plenty of options to get to Chicago, the US, and beyond.

On 19 April, the following statement was released by Air New Zealand General Manager Long Haul Scott Carr as part of the airline’s schedule updates:

“Unfortunately, ongoing challenges with the availability of Rolls Royce Trent 1000 engines on our 787-9 aircraft means we haven’t been able to return to our Chicago route in October as expected. We anticipate returning to Chicago when we receive our new 787 aircraft from Boeing, currently expected in the second half of 2025.”

Air New Zealand has said that all customers with affected bookings made directly with the airline will be contacted proactively and will be given their options. Affected passengers who have booked through a travel agency should contact that agency to confirm their options.

Needless to say, there’s no guarantee that the issue Air New Zealand is having with its Dreamliner engines right now will be resolved by the time the second half of 2025 comes around so right now, the future of this route is up in the air.

Unfortunately, a quick Google Flights search will show you that no other airline operates a non-stop service between Auckland and Chicago, so anyone booked to fly this route will have to accept an itinerary with a stopover if they decide that they wish to go ahead with their trip.

Clearly, no one should be taking up Air New Zealand’s offer of a credit if they no longer wish to travel (why would you take a flight credit that can expire over a refund?!), and anyone affected by this ‘pause’ should contact the airline as soon as possible (if the airline hasn’t already been in touch) to make sure that they’re accommodated on flights that work best for them (which will, presumably, mean routing through Los Angeles or San Francisco).

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