Flying

Cheap flights in New Zealand can be found on both Air New Zealand & Jetstar using standby and grabaseat flights and booking in advance. Flying is a practical way to get somewhere, especially when there is a job starting soon or a job interview to get to. Let’s say you are in Auckland and need to get to Queenstown. A standby fare and a 90 odd minute flight is so much easier than up to 20 plus hours on a bus and a 3 hour ferry crossing. You will find you can get cheap flights here or pay through the nose. Read on for some tips and advice.

Air New Zealand is the main carrier and has daily flights to most major cities and towns in the country. The two key things to know about Air New Zealand are standby fares and Grabaseat. If you turn up at their counter an hour before a flight you can purchase a standby fare at a low cost, subject of course to a seat being available. By using their booking engine you can soon estimate how many seats on a flight are free (you can try booking up to 9 people, so if you “tried” booking 9 seats and there was availability you know that your chances for a standy fare are looking good). At the time of writing this standby fares were available to purchase on any Air New Zealand flight at any time of the day. This could change so check first. You will need to be an Air New Zealand airpoints member which can be organised by completing an online form. Google for a code to get the $50 fee waived. Lately it has been the code JOINAP.

Grabaseat fares are offered each day to different parts of the country (and overseas). These are handy if you want to book far in advance. You can set up email alerts for certain destinations if you were wanting to wait for say a low cost flight to the Pacific Islands.
Jetstar is the other major carrier. It operates from Auckland, Wellington, Dunedin, Christchurch and Queenstown. It is a budget, no frills airline and often they are in the headlines  for poor customer service, late departures and cancelled services. There is even a website set up called Don’t Fly Jetstar. So lower your expectations and be relaxed about getting to your destination on time and anything better than this will be welcome.

There are a number of other small operators such as Great Barrier Airlines (Auckland to Great Barrier Island) and Sounds Air (between Wellington and Picton). There are also a number of scenic flight operators.

If you are wanting to fly to Australia or the Pacific Islands for a holiday then Mix & Match is a handy website to check out. It searches through all of the airlines flying to destinations and will tell you who has the cheapest flights. If you choose to book a flight through their website you will pay a small booking fee.

In Summary:

Surprisingly cost effective, stick to Air New Zealand for reliability.