03.Best airlines to US and New Zealand
V Australia, Virgin Blue’s full service trans-Pacific carrier, had the highest cost satisfaction score among members and was only second to Singapore for overall satisfaction – but unlike Singapore (or Air NZ, Hawaiian Airlines or Air Canada), offers direct flights between Australian and US cities. The majority of CHOICE members flew Qantas to the USA, and several noted differences between taking the Airbus A380 and Boeing’s 747-400. “I travelled to New York from Melbourne on the 747-400 and returned on the A380,” said CHOICE member John, “and found the A380 quieter and more comfortable.” However, despite using Boeing’s 777-300 instead of the A380, V Australia also impresses our members, and is “amazingly good value for money” according to CHOICE member Samantha. “I flew V Australia from Sydney to Los Angeles. Its aircraft was modern and roomy, and the staff were lovely.” CHOICE member Eddie believes United Airlines “should not be allowed to survive. It’s really a budget carrier under a full service cloak. Save the heartache and pay for a full service airline.”
Trans-Tasman competition was fierce in 2009, with a price war between Emirates, Qantas/Jetstar (codesharing),
Pacific Blue (one of Virgin Blue’s sister overseas carriers) and Air New Zealand. Although more CHOICE members
flew with NZ’s flag carrier, their preferred carrier overall was Emirates. Said CHOICE member Tania: “We have
flown with Qantas and Air New Zealand, which are both great, but Emirates is the best.” A CHOICE member said he had a “terrible experience” flying Jetstar to NZ. “The trip ended up costing more than a comparable Air NZ ticket because of the extra cost of drinks and meals on an international flight.” Members were generally also unhappy using Qantas Frequent Flyer points to redeem Jetstar flights as they still had to pay for meals, which they don’t need to on Qantas.