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ORD to SYD or ORD to AKL


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I'm hoping to be able to take our 1/2022 cruise from Sydney to Auckland. Right now, I'm guessing, because of so few flights, prices are crazy expensive. About $6000pp for economy for ORD -SYD & AKL-ORD.

What is the best option normally? Round trip to/from Sydney and short flight from Auckland to Sydney after our cruise? Round trip to/from Auckland with short flight from Auckland to Sydney before our cruise? Two one ways? Is there a day of the week that might be best?

What would you consider a reasonable fare? I had been thinking under $3000pp, but is that unrealistic? We are not tied to any airline, our Chase points work for most airlines.

Thanks for any guidance. I'm just looking for a base line, as I know that things are very different now.

Edited by Sea42
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"Best" defined as what?

 

First, nobody has fares out for Jan 2022...too soon. Australia and NZ are essentially closed to outsiders right now, (requires 14 day quarantine)so hard to get any info.

 

In the past there were flights down under from Houston, LAX and SFO. You could go through either LAX or SFO pretty easily.

 

One way trips internationally are almost always prohibitively expensive, unless you are using award seats. You can do an open jaw round trip ORD-SFO-SYD, then AKL-SFO-ORD on United as one ticket. 

 

I absolutely would be looking at cruise line airfares for this trip.

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10 minutes ago, CruiserBruce said:

"Best" defined as what?

 

First, nobody has fares out for Jan 2022...too soon. Australia and NZ are essentially closed to outsiders right now, (requires 14 day quarantine)so hard to get any info.

 

In the past there were flights down under from Houston, LAX and SFO. You could go through either LAX or SFO pretty easily.

 

One way trips internationally are almost always prohibitively expensive, unless you are using award seats. You can do an open jaw round trip ORD-SFO-SYD, then AKL-SFO-ORD on United as one ticket. 

 

I absolutely would be looking at cruise line airfares for this trip.

Yes, I realize there are not flights for 2022 yet. I'm also aware of the current travel restrictions.

As I stated, "I'm just looking for a base line, as I know that things are very different now."

Best would be what routing is usually the most economical. I'm attempting to put together a rough budget for the trip.

I think everyone realizes that everything is a guesstimate at this time, I'm just looking for  a starting place.

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23 minutes ago, CruiserBruce said:

One way trips internationally are almost always prohibitively expensive,

 

23 minutes ago, CruiserBruce said:

I absolutely would be looking at cruise line airfares for this trip.

 

Absolutely, you ought to seriously consider your cruise line's air program.  Regardless of when I have booked such an itinerary in Economy or in Business, the cruise line was able to save me considerable sums of money.

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5 minutes ago, rkacruiser said:

 

 

Absolutely, you ought to seriously consider your cruise line's air program.  Regardless of when I have booked such an itinerary in Economy or in Business, the cruise line was able to save me considerable sums of money.

Thank you!

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13 minutes ago, Sea42 said:

Yes, I realize there are not flights for 2022 yet. I'm also aware of the current travel restrictions.

As I stated, "I'm just looking for a base line, as I know that things are very different now."

Best would be what routing is usually the most economical. I'm attempting to put together a rough budget for the trip.

I think everyone realizes that everything is a guesstimate at this time, I'm just looking for  a starting place.

Well, I had a look at what you can do with Air Canada in late October/early November and have attached the itinerary (note that the cost is in Canadian dollars!).  I expect you can do just about as well with United, which will likely route you through IAH.  Good luck with your planning.

 

 

Safari - Nov 30, 2020 at 20:03.pdf

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3 minutes ago, d9704011 said:

Well, I had a look at what you can do with Air Canada in late October/early November and have attached the itinerary (note that the cost is in Canadian dollars!).  I expect you can do just about as well with United, which will likely route you through IAH.  Good luck with your planning.

 

 

Safari - Nov 30, 2020 at 20:03.pdf 303.33 kB · 1 download

That's fantastic, thank you

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 I just did a Celebrity B2B from SYD to AKL last October - November.   We are in the NYC suburbs, so flights from JFK or EWR rather than ORD.   But here's my experience.   Not sure how things will be post-COVID, but once there is a vaccine, hopefully the available routes will be there.

 

First,  I wanted to see the Great Ocean Road (highly recommend this), so wanted to start in Melbourne, then fly to Sydney.   I wanted to use miles/points for the flights, and wanted to do the transPacific legs in Business class (so my DH would go....).  I wanted awards at the "saver", not premium, level.  And I did not want to route through Asia if at all possible.  I had lots of Chase points, United and American miles.

 

Second, if you plan to use miles, business class awards are highly desirable and hard to get.   I am not sure what premium economy or economy awards might be like since I didn't look for these.   I didn't look for paid fares, either.   You should be aware that United has gone to revenue based awards, so the "standard" award chart is no more.   I have not looked for any awards since our trip, so I cannot comment on what my award search results would look like now.    

 

I focused on United/Star Alliance and looked up all the non-stop transPacific routes from various hubs (EWR, ORD, LAX, SFO, IAH, YVR).   I searched on United almost daily.   Yes, that's tedious.  I finally found 2 biz class seats on Air Canada from YVR (Vancouver) to Melbourne, and grabbed them right away.  We paid for a cheap Air Canada flight to Vancouver (AC runs lots of sales, so my cheap price got even cheaper after I booked).  We stayed overnight, met some friends the next day and flew out that night on a great Air Canada flight.     We flew Qantas from Melbourne using Avios (Chase transfer)  - I think that was 5K miles per person.

 

Return flights from AKL were a challenge.  Again, booking with United miles.   I finally got a routing that wasn't fun.   Economy from AKL-SYD, 15 hour overnight layover (so I booked the Rydges Sydney airport), business class SYD-SFO,  3+ hour layover, economy SFO-EWR.   But, there was a happy ending here.   I knew to check for alternatives closer to our departure - so I started looking about 2 weeks prior.   And, as luck would have it, Air New Zealand, a Star Alliance partner of United, opened up 2 biz seats from AKL- IAH.   United helped me change award and add the economy leg IAH-EWR.

 

Please note: I found my award seats about 8-9 months prior to our cruise.    All award seats are not necessarily made available when the schedules open.   And paid fares are usually high when schedules open, and can change as airlines assess demand.   I waited until 4 months prior to book our tickets to Vancouver, and the price dropped at 3 months out (and there were plenty seats on the flight even then).

 

So, I think the key is to know all the available routings.   Run test searches for paid fares and track prices (you can do this with Google flights).   If you hope to find awards, run test searches so you are used to doing this. Consider all your options.  Then you will be prepared when the schedules open and you can start checking.

 

Sorry for the long post, but maybe some of this will be helpful.   Enjoy the planning and your cruise!

 

 

Edited by the mice
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I'd wait and look at the cruise line airfares.  We did round trip ORD/AKL direct last March in premium economy on Air New Zeeland for less than $6000 for both of us.  

 

My other comment is that I'd always opt for the shorter flight on the way home than on the way there.  The excitement of going makes the long flight more tolerable. 

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17 hours ago, ericosmith said:

My other comment is that I'd always opt for the shorter flight on the way home than on the way there.  The excitement of going makes the long flight more tolerable. 

 

An interesting observation and one with which I agree based on my experience.  Singapore Airlines flight from Singapore to SFO; decided to have a two day stopover at San Francisco for sightseeing and seafood dinners and to help prevent any jet lag issues before flying to DAY.  Big mistake for me!  When I got home, I had the longest period of jet lag that I have ever experienced.  I would have been better off, I decided, to have just "kept on flying" until I was home.  

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56 minutes ago, rkacruiser said:

 

An interesting observation and one with which I agree based on my experience.  Singapore Airlines flight from Singapore to SFO; decided to have a two day stopover at San Francisco for sightseeing and seafood dinners and to help prevent any jet lag issues before flying to DAY.  Big mistake for me!  When I got home, I had the longest period of jet lag that I have ever experienced.  I would have been better off, I decided, to have just "kept on flying" until I was home.  

 

I fly for a living, and based on my experience of doing these kinda trips monthly, I always find that flying from Asia (or Australia/NZ) back to the US is way worse on jet lag than flying TO Asia/Australia/NZ. The stop over may or may not have had an impact on that, but trust me...flying west to east is so much worse. 

 

The worst I have ever felt (not counting actually being sick) was an around-the-world I did where I went US - London - Dubai - Hong Kong - Tokyo - US within about 8 days (including work). Felt extremely sick and exhausted for 10 days. I did essentially the same trip the other direction two months later (US - Beijing - Mumbai - London - US) and felt just fine. 

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23 hours ago, Zach1213 said:

I fly for a living, and based on my experience of doing these kinda trips monthly, I always find that flying from Asia (or Australia/NZ) back to the US is way worse on jet lag than flying TO Asia/Australia/NZ. The stop over may or may not have had an impact on that, but trust me...flying west to east is so much worse. 

 

 

I appreciate your response.  It is "comforting" to know that "I am not alone" in my experience.  Just another lesson that I have learned over the years as I travel.  

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On 11/30/2020 at 5:19 PM, Sea42 said:

I'm hoping to be able to take our 1/2022 cruise from Sydney to Auckland. Right now, I'm guessing, because of so few flights, prices are crazy expensive. About $6000pp for economy for ORD -SYD & AKL-ORD.

What is the best option normally? Round trip to/from Sydney and short flight from Auckland to Sydney after our cruise? Round trip to/from Auckland with short flight from Auckland to Sydney before our cruise? Two one ways? Is there a day of the week that might be best?

What would you consider a reasonable fare? I had been thinking under $3000pp, but is that unrealistic? We are not tied to any airline, our Chase points work for most airlines.

Thanks for any guidance. I'm just looking for a base line, as I know that things are very different now.

 

I was scheduled for an October 2020 cruise RT Sydney (obviously cancelled); I did price and book flights for that trip pre-covid.  I found the economy seats out of LAX and SFO for about $1800 p/p.  Premium Economy on American was $3500 p/p.  These were direct from the airlines; I didn't find any better rates on the airline flight program (and actually booked directly with American).

 

I think searching flights right now will not give you a realistic picture since most airlines have cut 75 - 90% of their international flights.  Pretty much the flights to AUS and NZ now are only for returning citizens; some airlines have stopped even scheduling flights there (which is why I got a cash refund from American.)

 

I have a cruise scheduled for late in 2021.  I haven't even looked at flights and won't for a few months yet.  I do think I will book using the airline flight program if that cruise actually sails.  I hope this helps.

 

 

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On 12/3/2020 at 9:36 PM, mchell810 said:

I was scheduled for an October 2020 cruise RT Sydney (obviously cancelled); I did price and book flights for that trip pre-covid.  I found the economy seats out of LAX and SFO for about $1800 p/p.  Premium Economy on American was $3500 p/p.  These were direct from the airlines; I didn't find any better rates on the airline flight program (and actually booked directly with American).

Thanks, it's helpful to have an idea what a "normal" price was.

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Even in the best times you can't really assess a baseline for what your fare will be 14 months out from travel.

 

Half of airline pricing is based on competition. What Joe Schmoe paid to fly a vaguely similar route in 2018 has literally no bearing on what you'll be paying 4yrs later. If multiple airlines were operating a given route with competing schedules but one or more has since withdrawn then fares could skyrocket and it could work in the other direction as well. This is before you factor in the COVID-19 side of things. Pricing seems to be all over the map with some airlines selling seats rock bottom prices to get bums on seats whereas some are charging above typical because those who want to fly at this time are less price discriminatory and are often on a must travel basis.

 

As a point of reference being an expat in the US with all my family in the UK I've travelled certain routes from the UK to the US on a pretty regular basis over the last 15yrs. When I lived near Washington DC I flew back to the UK about 50 times so you'd think I'd have a pretty decent handle on pricing, yet sometimes I'd get burned paying way more when prices went down after purchase. It's all guesswork beyond the blindingly obvious. If you're seeing $10k return in coach that's probably over the odds. If you're seeing $500 round trips in business class then take every weekend in NZ for the rest of the year!

 

Because a lot of the details of airline pricing is mysterious people try to find some kind of magic bullet where one isn't to be found. 

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  • 4 weeks later...

FlightFrom reports that the North American Sydney gateways are Vancouver, San Francisco, Los Angeles Dallas, and Houston and the Auckland gateways are Vancouver, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Houston.

If you enter a gateway and destination it will let you know who servers that route and when for each week that schedules are available, usually about 9 months.

In the past I have gone to Hipmunk, now defunk, so try screening flight as far out as you can using ITA Matrix.  You can enter a multi-city route using the cruise's embark/disembark airports.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

We have flown home once from SYD-YVR with an overnight in SFO.  It was brutal.

 

We have done the route twice in the last few years.   One way coming home.  Both times we picked up a very inexpensive one way  fare SYD-HNL on Jetstar, an Australian sub. of Qantas.  One of those flights turned out to be a code share with Qantas.    We spent two nights in HNL, then got an inexpensive (relatively) home to Canada. 

 

 We are oldiess so it was a nice way to break up the journey.   But...we do not have any time constraints either.     We have flown Jetstar on domestic routes in Australia.  Always been happy with them.

Edited by iancal
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6 hours ago, iancal said:

We have flown home once from SYD-YVR with an overnight in SFO.  It was brutal.

 

Another confirmation of my experience from Singapore to DAY with a SFO layover.  That was a travel boo-boo I made, I believe.  

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I am planning this trip, and DW (who doesn't sleep in airplanes) has a 12-hour limit per flight.  That had seemed to rule out any trips to Australia (from NYC) and Auckland just barely squeezed in with an overnight  hotel at LAX.  But I recently discovered that we can fly non-stop from NYC to Honolulu, and then HNL to SYD – both within her limit [actually 11 hours or less].  That should be even easier for you from ORD.

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18 hours ago, Host Jazzbeau said:

That should be even easier for you from ORD.

 

Thanks for the information.  If and when the opportunity arises for me to visit the Land Down Under once again, I will research that option.  

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We also use ITMATRIX for fare/routing information.

 

What I like about it is that it stores your last four searches.  We are considering several different international trips for late fall.   Every so often I go in itmatrix, click on the past lookup and get current flight and pricing data.  

 

So we used this method to watch to pricing trend for several trips.  In some instances it has caused us to change our booking habits from six months out to six weeks or less out.

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