With the introduction of more fuel efficient aircraft such as the 787 and the A350, new flights became possible. The slump in oil prices has helped that expansion. Flights to Australia and New Zealand have expanded. From ANZ in Houston, to American from LAX, we show you how to get to Australia or NZ in style.

There are six airlines currently offering direct flights from the West Coast to the Land Down Under. American and Qantas have a Joint Venture. United and Air New Zealand have one as well. Delta and Virgin Australia codeshare on their routes to Australia. So, as you can see, the flights are divided up very clearly among alliances. Oneworld vs Star Alliance vs Skyteam.

The real question is, who offers the best product? We take a look at the options you can take from LAX to the Island Continent.

 

Air New Zealand:

Air New Zealand flies from LAX to London, Rarotonga (an Island in the Pacific) and to Auckland. They fly using a mix of 777s and 787s. Both aircraft offer three cabins of service: Business Premier, Premium Economy and Economy. On the 777s, Premium Economy consists of ANZ’s revolutionary staggered seats. Also, in Economy, the airline offers its awesome SkyCouch seats. On the 787s, the airline offers a more traditional Premium Economy and Economy Class product. In Business Premier, the airline has herringbone seats, all with aisle access. The airline is known for its catering and its soft product. There are no pyjamas in Business Premier, and there is also no wifi on board.

American:

American flies to Sydney and Auckland from Los Angeles. They fly a 777-300ER and a 787-8 to each destination respectively. They offer three classes of service on their 777 aircraft: First, Business and Economy. On the 787, there’s only Business and Economy. Both aircraft offer wifi, and it is reasonably priced. American offers an “extra legroom option” called Main Cabin Extra, which is free for certain elites, or can be purchased at booking. All Business class seats offer direct aisle access and are lie flat. The airline offers an enhanced service on all cabins of service, as well as pyjamas in Business and First.

Delta:

Delta flies their 777 to Sydney from LAX. The airline offers two classes of service on both aircraft. Delta One is their business class, as well as Economy is also offered. The airline has an “Extra Legroom Option” that is meant to be styled more as a Premium Economy. At the moment it is still primarily just an extra legroom option. This class is called Comfort Plus. It consists of economy seats, with more legroom, recline and some extra amenities. The airline began offering pyjamas to those seated in Delta One and has an enhanced meal service on that cabin as well. The airline does not offers wifi on its aircraft.

Delta One 777

Delta One 777

Delta Economy Class

Delta Economy Class

Qantas:

Qantas flies their 747s and A380s from LAX to Sydney, Brisbane or Melbourne. The airline has a very different products on its aircraft compared to its competitors. Qantas has three classes of service on their 747s: Business, Premium Economy and Economy. Also, on the A380, the airline adds First class. Qantas offers fully flat seats on all its aircraft. In Business, the seats are forward facing shell seats. Its First Class cabin consists of open suites. The airline does not offer wifi. It does, however, offer an enhanced product on all its cabins. Also, pyjamas are offered to business class passengers.

United:

United flies to Melbourne and Sydney from LAX using their 787-9s. The airline offers two classes of service: BusinessFirst and Economy. The airline has an “Extra Legroom Seats” section called Economy Plus. These are available for free for some elites, or for purchase at booking. Their BusinessFirst cabin offers forward facing, diagonal seats. The airline offers an enhanced business class product on these flights. The airline offers wifi on all its aircraft.

United BusinessFirst 787

United BusinessFirst 787

United 787 Economy (per TravelSkills)

United 787 Economy (per TravelSkills)

Virgin Australia:

The airline flies from Melbourne (soon to start), Brisbane and Sydney to LAX using its 777-300ER aircraft. The airline offers three cabins of service on each aircraft: Business, Premium Economy and Economy. The seats all have aisle access and are forward facing. The airline has very good catering and is known for its service.

Virgin Australia Business Class (per OMAAT)

Virgin Australia Business Class (per OMAAT)

Virgin Australia Premium Economy (per ausbt.com)

Virgin Australia Premium Economy (per ausbt.com)

Summary: (per SeatGuru)

 

ANZ American Delta Qantas United Virgin Australia
Seat Pitch Y-32”

W-41”

J-80”

F-xx

Y- 36-31”

W- xx

J- 75”

F- 78”

Y- 35-31”

W- xx

J- 78”

F- xx

Y- 31”

W- 42-38”

J- 78-60”

F- 79”

Y- 35-32”

W- xx

J- 78”

F- xx

Y-  32”

W- 41”

J- 80”

F- xx

Seat Width Y-17.2”

W-19”

J-22”

F-xx

Y- 18-17”

W- xx

J- 26-21”

F- 30”

Y- 18.5”

W- xx

J- 21”

F- xx

Y- 17.5”

W-19.5-19”

J- 21.5-19”

F- 22”

Y- 17.3”

W- xx

J- 22”

F- xx

Y- 18.5”

W- 19.5”

J- 23”

F- xx

Arrangement Y: 3-¾-3

W:2-3-2

J:1-½-1

F: xx

Y: 3-¾-3

W: xx

J: 1-2-1

F: 1-2-1

Y: 3-3-3

W: xx

J: 1-2-1

F: xx

Y: 3-4-3

W: 2-¾-2

J: 2-2-2

F 1-1-1

Y: 3-3-3

W: xx

J- 2-2-2

F: xx

Y: 3-3-3

W: 2-4-2

J: 1-2-1

F: xx

Aircraft used 787

777

777

787

777 747

A380

787 777
Wifi No Yes No No Yes No

 

 

Landing Thoughts:

After seeing the hard product of each airline, I have a verdict. Bear in mind, each airline may charge a different price. So, assuming the prices are all equal, these are the airlines I would choose for each cabin:

 

Economy: ANZ 777 SkyCouch or (if it’s not that aircraft) Qantas A380.

Premium Economy: ANZ (777 or 787).

Business: Toss-up between American or Delta, since they both offer similar soft product and similar hard product.

First: Qantas

 

What do you think? Is there an airline you prefer on your travels between the US and Australia?